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Amazon is ramping up lobbying efforts to federally legalize marijuana

Amazon has 'reinstated the employment eligibility' of those fired for failed marijuana screenings and will cease further pre-employment screenings of that kind.


As we continue on through the COVID-19 pandemic, there have definitely been far-reaching effects due not only to the severity of the illness but the means by which companies have been forced to try to contain it. One major effect is an impact on employment and the severe sudden drop in applications. Many companies have experienced this (especially those that can be argued to pay poorly), and Amazon is not exempt from it. As an interesting twist, Amazon has chosen to combat this issue by reinstating employment eligibility for employees fired for failed marijuana testing and will increase its efforts to lobby for federal marijuana legalization.

This latest move towards marijuana legalization and removal of punishment and pre-employment screenings was announced in an Amazon company blog post on September 21, 2021.

“Pre-employment marijuana testing has disproportionately affected communities of color by stalling job placement and, by extension, economic growth, and we believe this inequitable treatment is unacceptable,” said Amazon HR boss Beth Galetti.

This statement goes along with Amazon reinstating employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were fired or otherwise passed over due to random and pre-employment marijuana screenings.

Amazon's latest move will not only reinstate employment eligibility for those terminated for failed marijuana screenings, but the company will also increase efforts to lobby for federal marijuana legalization.
Amazon's latest move will not only reinstate employment eligibility for those terminated for failed marijuana screenings, but the company will also increase efforts to lobby for federal marijuana legalization.

In addition to this effort to remove punishment against employees who are also cannabis users, Amazon also signaled its intention to lobby for the federal legalization of marijuana as a whole.

Despite promises to the contrary, the Biden Administration has been slow and stingy about efforts towards the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana at the federal level. With Amazon throwing a new wave of support behind it, it will be interesting to see if the needle of support for said legislation moves.

Amazon has come up frequently in anti-employment rights conversations for its staunch anti-union activity, but this effort (while likely mostly about keeping business moving via a large workforce) at least seems like one that could benefit many. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 21, 2021 10:45 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Amazon is ramping up lobbying efforts to federally legalize marijuana

    • reply
      September 21, 2021 11:02 AM

      ROFL, does anyone seriously think this is in order to hire more employees? All Amazon wants to do is $ell it (and grow it/control the supply).

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        September 21, 2021 11:14 AM

        Haha yeah, that's a stupid angle that they're trying to spin. But maybe it's a little true, too, even if it isn't the primary motivation. Getting their minimum wage, stoner workforce up and running for maximum labor exploitation is just icing on the cake.

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        September 21, 2021 11:17 AM

        if all Amazon was interested in was getting into that business (a strange theory frankly) they'd have no reason to change their employment rules. In fact if they wanted to use maximal leverage towards legalization so they could sell weed they'd not change their employment rules and instead say how much they wish they could remove drug testing requirements if only it was legalized.

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          September 21, 2021 12:56 PM

          The strange theory comment could have been applied to groceries before Whole Foods.

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            September 21, 2021 1:06 PM

            They already had Amazon Fresh and groceries was an obvious category of common shopping goods Amazon hadn't dominated yet.

            I mean, if they want to get into selling regulated substances why aren't they making a bigger push on alcohol so you can order it delivered by Are they planning to lobby for legal weed regulations that are looser than alcohol? There's a huge market of already legal substances just sitting right there for them to push on.

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              September 21, 2021 1:15 PM

              The point is not that I got the order of acquisitions wrong, but that they got into delivery of new market X. I find that dwelling on small inaccuracies largely derails conversation into a combative tone.

              I think that changing an entrenched regulatory framework for alcohol is harder to change than influencing the rules as a market is created.

              I assume there is only a small benefit from taking a cut of alcohol sales via rather than via Prime / Fresh. Especially for say Prime of local stores where Amazon has zero capital expenditure or stocking concerns.

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                September 21, 2021 3:23 PM

                Does anyone really think weed is going to end up with a more permissive regulatory framework than alcohol? It's already much stricter. I don't think this is a realistic expectation on anyone's part.

                As far as profit motives go, alcohol is surely a more lucrative market. It's more widely used and accepted already. You're going to sell more volume per user (plenty of people spend $40 in alcohol for a night but no one does that with weed). And you have higher priced/margin options available (no one is selling $100-1000+ grams/eigths but you can easily sell wine and spirits at that price).

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                  September 21, 2021 3:28 PM

                  I didn’t say it would be more lax. I’m not sure where that came from. Lobbyists practically write the legislation and so I posit that a company that is a middleman in many markets will benefit from writing the rules that govern an entirely new one at a national level.

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                    September 21, 2021 3:49 PM

                    I'm saying if you were a company with the ability to lobby these lawmakers what would your strategic decision making look like? Would you think you have a realistic chance of making weed delivery more easily available than alcohol in the next 5 years? Is that a smart investment in time or money? I think that'd be a pretty bad bet.

                    Given that, if you don't have an expectation that weed will be any more accessible than alcohol, why would you spend company and lobbying effort to make weed merely as accessible as alcohol, when there's already a bigger market opportunity in selling alcohol?

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                      September 21, 2021 9:40 PM

                      In our state, alcohol can already be delivered: weed cannot.

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                        September 21, 2021 9:42 PM

                        Shit, hit enter. However in other states you can get weed delivered. Seems a profitable endeavor to make it more prevalent as there is precedent.

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              September 21, 2021 6:50 PM

              Selling weed is MUCH cheaper and cost effective than shipping liquids in the mail.

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                September 21, 2021 6:52 PM

                Also I would buy weed through the mail, my corner store has wine.

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                  September 21, 2021 7:02 PM

                  I finished Malignant…. I will make a special thread later. 😂😂😂

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          September 21, 2021 1:35 PM

          If all Amazon was interested in was employment, they could change their testing policies and not lobby the federal government to legalize it.

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            September 21, 2021 3:18 PM

            Their employees (or potential employees) are still subject to missing work or worse due to the police enforcing marijuana laws.

            It just seems like you're constructing a no-win scenario for companies here. Apply the same logic to another cause. If Amazon really cared about equal pay they'd simply pay women equal wages and not spend time lobbying the government to enact laws that enforce it? The fact that they're lobbying for it must mean they don't really care about it for its own sake and that they're trying to cripple cheaper competitors through regulation?

            The anti-corporatism running rampant on the left has seemingly lost track of the fact that companies are still run by human beings. It is actually possible for leadership at a company to care about an issue and want to change it broadly which means leading by example but also pushing others to do more. Obviously if this conflicts massively with the corporations goals or profits you're going to run into issues but when an issue is good for your company and good for society we don't have to pretend it's done out of pure greed and cynicism.

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              September 21, 2021 6:43 PM

              Equal pay is one thing…if your competitors ignore equal pay, it’s worth lobbying for an even playing field that they have to comply with.

              Meanwhile, there are a lot of corporate work environments that overlook substance use (maybe I’m a little biased on this since I worked in the fashion industry, fine art and the game industry, where it’s very lax).

              The main thing that seems weird to me is aren’t there safety issues in many parts of Amazon’s operations where you’d need to be sure the workers weren’t inebriated on the job?

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                September 21, 2021 6:53 PM

                Lol lax doesn't begin to describe those industries

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                  September 21, 2021 7:04 PM

                  Yeah more like “rootin’ tootin’ hog wrestling rodeo”.

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                September 21, 2021 9:50 PM

                yeah I mean it’s still thorny cuz of the nature of weed testing. They said they’d still perform drug tests after accidents on the job which has the obvious problem of popping you for smoking last week even if you were sober today when you got in an accident.

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                  September 21, 2021 9:58 PM

                  Testing after someone already is hurt sort of defeats the purpose. :(

      • rms legacy 10 years legacy 20 years mercury super mega
        September 21, 2021 3:45 PM

        Growing this stuff as its done now is very environmentally destructive, the sooner its brought into the open and regulated the better.

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        September 21, 2021 3:48 PM

        Bring on the Amazon Basics weed with hassle free packaging

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        September 22, 2021 4:12 AM


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      September 21, 2021 3:26 PM

      dognose and Bezos sitting in a tree... s m o k i n g

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      September 21, 2021 4:08 PM

      Coming soon: Amazon Basics Joints, Tinctures, Buds and Edibles

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      September 21, 2021 6:53 PM

      Prime Day $100 30% ounces, lets gooooooooo

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      September 21, 2021 9:48 PM

      I'm actually shocked they were testing for marijuana. I thought in this day and age that would make it really hard to find drivers

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