The following is a statement written by Beth Galetti, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Amazon.
In June 2021, we announced that Amazon would exclude marijuana from our comprehensive pre-employment drug screening program for unregulated positions (e.g., positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation). We also reinstated the employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.
We made these changes for a few reasons. First, we recognized that an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalization—making it difficult to implement an equitable, consistent, and national pre-employment marijuana testing program. Second, publicly available national data indicates that pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment. And third, Amazon’s pace of growth means that we are always looking to hire great new team members, and we’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.
Given our previous support for legalizing cannabis at the federal level, as well as expunging certain criminal records and investing in impacted businesses and communities, Amazon recently announced our support for, and began actively lobbying on, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act). We are also pleased to endorse the recently introduced Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act; read our comments on that legislation.
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. As we shared earlier this year, we aim to become Earth’s Best Employer, and as part of that journey, we know that our local communities and future generations need us to be better every day—thus the creation of our new Leadership Principle, Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility. Together, these principles speak to our responsibility to effect change and are our impetus for both driving for societal change and maintaining the right internal policies to ensure a great workplace with equitable and consistent hiring practices for all candidates. That’s why we strongly believe the time has come to reform the nation’s cannabis policy, and we are committed to helping lead the effort.
We are enthused by the notable momentum in the country toward recognizing that today’s status quo is unfair and untenable. We look forward to working with Congress and other supporters to secure necessary reform of the nation’s cannabis laws.