Amazon said on June 1 that it will stop drug testing many of its workers for marijuana and will instead “treat it the same as alcohol use.” It is also formally joining the movement in support of cannabis legalization, and will actively lobby Congress in support of legislation to end federal prohibition.
“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” Amazon said in an update posted to its company news site. “However, given where state laws are moving across the US, we’ve changed course.”
Amazon will now “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.” It will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs, including cannabis and alcohol, after any incident.
The move by one of the United States’ largest employers will lead to a significant reduction in the number of workers in the country who face the prospect of being fired simply for using cannabis at home while not on the clock.
In addition to instituting the workplace policy shift, Amazon says it will also lobby Congress to pass a bill to federally legalize marijuana that was introduced last week by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
“Because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)—federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities,” the company’s post says. “We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”
In recent years, Amazon has faced lawsuits from workers who were fired for using medical cannabis in accordance with state law.