Amazon Releases Update on Company Drug Testing Policies

Amazon released a new statement elaborating on its decision to remove drug testing as a condition of pre-employment, as well as its support of certain cannabis-related legislation.

In a blog post on September 21, Amazon Senior Vice President of Human Resources Beth Galetti wrote about the company’s ongoing plan to support  legaliation. In the update, Galetti revealed Amazon’s dedication to cannabis, including reinstating “employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.” 

Furthermore, Galetti elaborates on this decision with three realizations. First, in the wake of rapid legalization sweeping the country, it has become “difficult to implement an equitable, consistent and national pre-employment marijuana testing program.” Second, she stated that the cannabis testing during pre-employment severely affects people of color. And finally, she admitted that due to Amazon’s constant growth in seeking out new employees, “eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.”

Galletti’s statement includes significant clarification on the topic of cannabis at Amazon compared to its previous announcements. On June 1, the company released a blog post based on its goal to become both “Earth’s Best Employer” and “Earth’s Safest Place to Work.” In that announcement ,it confirmed that it would be adjusting its drug testing policy. “We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use,” the company wrote.

In June, the company also announced it would be “actively supporting” the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021, also referred to as the MORE Act. Now, Galetti also mentioned the company’s more recent endorsement of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. 

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Cory Booker on September 1, Amazon Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman wrote about how the company is eager to work with them and other legislators to ensure that the Act passes. 

“The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act makes a number of important changes that we support. First, we support removing cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act. Doing so will open significant new economic opportunities for millions of capable individuals while beginning to restore some of the damage done to highly affected communities.” 

Huseman also called for Congress to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and to expunge more individuals whose lives have been negatively affected by the War on Drugs. “For far too long, criminal marijuana provisions have been unequally enforced upon people of color, perpetuating over-incarceration, poverty, health conditions and other barriers to economic opportunity,” he wrote. 

“We believe it’s necessary to expunge these crimes that our society has borne on the shoulders of communities of color. And as the nation’s second largest employer, we support expungement to ensure that all capable individuals have a fair opportunity to seek and secure employment wherever they choose. Finally, we support community reinvestment grants, which can have a positive impact in pursuit of social justice.” 

Huseman’s letter openly notes that the company does not have an opinion on certain views about the industry, including “regulation, permitting, taxation and interstate commerce.”

Galetti ended her September 21 letter with a hopeful outlook on the future of cannabis for employees, and for citizens of the U.S. as a whole. “We are enthused by the notable momentum in the country toward recognizing that today’s status quo is unfair and untenable. We look forward to working with Congress and other supporters to secure necessary reform of the nation’s cannabis laws,” she concluded.

Amazon’s recent ambitions to support those affected by the War on Drugs, and supporting them through political means, continues to be an opportunity for the ongoing fight for cannabis legalization. Although, recent reports are left wondering what kind of involvement Amazon could be planning for the future.

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