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Amazon drops cannabis drug tests for job applicants

June 2, 2021

The online retail giant has pledged to stop testing most potential employees for marijuana use in the United States. Amazon has also given its support to the federal legalization of marijuana.

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Amazon has changed its stance on drug use among potential employeesImage: picture-alliance/Geisler/C. Hardt

The  online retail giant Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday that it will stop requiring jobseekers to take a cannabis test in the US, in line with laws in a growing number of states.

Amazon will continue to check for other drugs and will keep on screening people for job positions that are regulated by the Department of Transportation, according to the company's consumer boss Dave Clark.

"In the past, like many employers, we've disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use," Clark said.

"However, given where state laws are moving across the US, we've changed course."

Why is Amazon dropping cannabis testing?

Medical and recreational cannabis use has been legalized in a growing number of states, but it remains a classified substance at the federal level.

Amazon, like many big companies, has so far refused to work with the growing marijuana industry and does not allow its sale on the Amazon platform.

The second largest private employer in the US changed its stance on testing for the drug as cities and states introduced laws banning the practice.

The move also comes after a man in New York city sued the Seattle-based company in March, claiming that he was rejected from a job after testing positive for marijuana despite a ban on such tests in the city.

The race to legalize marijuana

Amazon supports legalization

The e-commerce behemoth also said on Tuesday that the company's public policy team was throwing its weight behind The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expunged Act of 2021 (MORE Act).

The MORE Act seeks to legalize marijuana at the federal level as well as clearing criminal records for people convicted on cannabis drug charges, and investing in impacted communities.

"We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law," Dave Clark said in a blog post.

Weed has been legalized for recreational use in several states in the US, including the most populous state, California, and Amazon's home state of Washington.

A number of other states also permit the sale and consumption of marijuana for medical use only.

The battle to unionize Amazon

ab/rs (AP, Reuters)