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Amazon Support Marijuana Legalization

Amazon Support Marijuana Legalization

As of as Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the cannabis industry gained a major ally when Amazon announced that it supports a proposed U.S. legislation to legalize cannabis at the federal level, and would drop weed-testing requirements for some recruitments. Amazon’s consumer boss Dave Clark announced that “Amazon’s public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), which seeks to legalize marijuana at the federal level” (reuters.com). Additionally, “Amazon will also no longer screen its job applicants for marijuana use for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation”, Clark added.

In a blog post that was written by Clark, he explained the following: “In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” he said. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. 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” (fortune.com). 

The The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in May. It proposes making recreational marijuana use legal in the United States on a federal, rather than state level, and releasing people who were jailed on nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized weed while others states have decriminalized it. 

Throughout the past few years, the marijuana industry has grown exponentially. “Americans purchased $18.3 billion in cannabis products over the past calendar year, $7.6 billion more than the $10.7 billion in sales the previous year,” Leafly wrote in an April report (leafly.com) 

 After Amazon’s major announcement, cannabis stock traded immediately higher. The Cannabis exchange-traded fund THCX, +2.62% ran up 4.2% to close at $18.08, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ, 3.75% climbed 3.4% to $21.62. 

As expected, marijuana users and advocates are celebrating the news. And, it makes sense considering that Amazon’s home state of Washington was among the first in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational use, all the way back in 2012. Additionally, Amazon is currently building an East Coast headquarters in Virginia, where marijuana will officially become legal on July 1. The tech giant is also expanding in New York, which legalized marijuana earlier this year. 

Matt Hawkins, founder of Entourage Effect Capital, a cannabis investment firm based in Dallas, explains that this move by Amazon,  “signals more positive tail winds for the sector at large”. Laws penalizing marijuana usage “are responsible for more than half a million arrests in the United States every year,” according to the Drug Policy Alliance, which also supports decriminalization. In a statement to NPR, the group applauded Amazon’s announcement as “a huge step forward.”

Now that Amazon has put its weight behind the MORE Act and will no longer be testing employees for marijuana usage, there’s a high probability that we’ll see similar moves by other large corporations. As we move through 2021, we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a large shift towards even more acceptance of marijuana as mainstream. 

One thought on “Amazon Support Marijuana Legalization

  1. Sara Kraaz says:

    I hope that includes Georgia. 5 star for Amazon.

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