2nd June 2021
By Emily Ledger
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As the cannabis legalisation debate continues to hot up around the world, retail giant Amazon’s public policy arm has announced its support for cannabis reforms through the form of a legalisation bill that was reintroduced into the federal House of Representatives last month.

In the US, 17 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have now legalised the adult use of recreational cannabis and 33 states now have a regulated medical sector.

However, legal cannabis businesses in these states still face barriers, such as restricted access to banking services, due to the ongoing federal criminalisation of the drug. While potential cannabis reforms played a significant role in the presidential election last year, the question of whether cannabis will be legalised, or at least decriminalised, at the federal level remains up in the air.

The argument for the legalisation of cannabis has this week won a powerful ally in the form of the largest e-commerce company in the world – Amazon. In a policy update blog post by the head of the company’s global consumer division, Dave Clark, it was revealed how the company was planning to approach cannabis in the future.

In addition to announcing support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (the MORE Act) which would effectively legalise cannabis at the federal level and expunge criminal records for cannabis offences, the blog post also revealed planned changes to the companies drug-testing policies.

In the blog post, which was published on aboutamazon.com, Dave Clark wrote: “In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use.

“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.

“We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.”

Support for meaningful cannabis reforms in the US is only on the rise as more states plan to add recreational cannabis legalisation to their political agenda. Hopefully, this latest development will help to further push the federal government into action sooner rather than later.

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