Marijuana’s New Ally: Amazon

There was some talk that 2021 would be the year that the federal government could pass the legalization of marijuana. That remains a longshot as we pass the first half of the year, but the past several months have seen some important changes that keep us upbeat. Legalization also gained an important ally, too; Amazon and Jeff Bezos. 

That’s a big pal to have. Bezos, the soon-to-be-former CEO of one of the most lucrative companies in history, likely has a number of motivating factors in changing his company’s position on marijuana. The announcement came in the form of a blog post written by Dave Clark, the CEO of Worldwide operations published on June 1. 

Perhaps most important, the company is changing its position on drug testing in the majority of positions Amazon hires for, including most warehousing jobs and more roles that don’t require either driving or the operation of licensed equipment. While testing remains in place, marijuana will no longer be a disqualifying substance. Clark announced that the move comes as 17 states have passed recreational use bills, plus 30 states that allow some form of medical marijuana. 

Additionally, Amazon will support the MORE Act. Introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler this year, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The bill, which has been pushed in various forms, focuses on decriminalizing recreational marijuana use by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and investing in comminutes hard-hit or left behind by marijuana prohibition. 

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Amazon brings a revenue stream worth $386 billion in 2020 plus yields an outsized influence on state and federal legislators. It may be positioning itself for the long haul, too, as it looks to play a role in an industry that should hit over $100 billion in 2030. A full 40% of Americans live in states with some kind of legal marijuana, and that number should increase in the months and years ahead. 

Cannabis needs support and investment from companies like Amazon, to expand influence and acceptance. From small communities to nationwide education, we need to change the outdated views of marijuana that remain and impede the progress we’ve all been working so hard far.

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