Amazon is supporting the effort to reform the nation’s cannabis policy

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 Actread 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.

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Virginia Woman Jailed for Pot Use Before Abuse Hearing

Demonstrators gathered at a courthouse in Loudoun County, Virginia, on Thursday to support a woman who was sent to jail as she testified about domestic abuse because she admitted to smoking marijuana before the hearing.

Katie Orndoff was testifying on Sept. 7 against her former partner, who was charged with striking her, when the judge interrupted her testimony and sent the jury out of the room.

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Who Will Be the Last U.S. Citizen Incarcerated for Cannabis?

While multi-state cannabis corporations funded by investors around the world rake in billions of dollars, Jonathan Wall, age 25 years old faces a 15-year prison sentence for marijuana distribution.

“Jonathan Wall is sitting in a federal supermax in Maryland for selling cannabis, something that corporations are doing right now across the country,” criminal defense attorney Jason Flores-Williams, Wall’s legal counsel, argues. “You can buy weed and donuts in Washington D.C., but 45 minutes away in Baltimore, my client is locked in a cage.”

Flores-Williams continues, “People can’t believe it. 

Yes, it would be unbelievable if the United States criminal legal system weren’t such a stunning example of inhumanity and hypocrisy.

Now that the venture capitalist class can turn a profit being legal drug dealers, the so-called War on Drugs can no longer be disguised as a moral battle for the soul of society—as draconian policies would have us believe. Working-class and cash poor people are still being disproportionately targeted and arrested on marijuana-related charges, and many formerly incarcerated people are prohibited from participating in the nation’s fastest growing industry .

There can be no denying that the drug war is nothing more than a systemic tool of oppression weaponized by a police state pretending to believe in fairness, equity, and justice. As Human Rights Watch found in its 2009 report, Decades of Disparity: Drug Arrests and Race in the United States , “The human as well as social, economic and political toll is as incalculable as it is unjust.”

As of May 18, 2021, 36 states and 4 territories allow for the medical use of cannabis products , while 17 states, two territories and D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis use for adults. The U.S. cannabis industry is now worth an estimated $61 billion; and in 2020, the nation’s cannabis sales “hit a record $17.5 billion, a 46% increase from 2019,” Forbes reports. In alignment with those numbers, support for legal marijuana is at an all- time high of 68%. Still, even with the passage of legislation such as California’s Prop 64, the War on Drugs continues.

“Cannabis legalization is working in numerous states across the country, generating jobs and billions in revenue,” says Flores-Williams, who is also an author and political activist, says. “So, why are we still using resources to prosecute it?” Flores-Williams, who is also an author and political activist, says. “So, why are we still using resources to prosecute it?

In a joint statement regarding comprehensive cannabis reform legislation in the 117th Congress, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in part:

“As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs.”

One of those people is Jonathan Wall.

“Jonathan Wall is being prosecuted for the same activity that thousands, if not millions of people, are engaged in across the country, so this is an equal protection violation under the 14th amendment,” Flores-Williams says. “It would almost be a joke, if it weren’t so heartbreaking.”

Jonathan Wall will go to trial in the U.S District Court of Maryland in May 2022




As legalization spreads across the United States, Denver remains squarely in focus. More than ever, the city is looked at to provide guidance on how it effectively implemented and continues to manage the first-of-its-kind sales and commercialization of voter-approved retail marijuana.

Through a far-reaching, collaborative approach, Denver’s Office of Marijuana Policy, housed in Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, supports and coordinates the work of dozens of city employees. The city’s dedicated team of experts manage a complex and ever-changing regulatory and licensing process. This work includes legislation to create, improve and clarify ordinances, management of education and health initiatives, social equity, coordination of enforcement efforts, and allocation of enough resources – all in concert with the industry and the community.

In 2020, Denver marked the seventh year of retail sales of marijuana and the seventh year of the Office of Marijuana Policy’s operation. Industry growth continues with more than 1,100 business licenses operating out of nearly 500 locations.

More recently, Denver has developed a multi-pronged approach to remove barriers and implement changes so there is more equitable access to Denver’s marijuana industry and Denver can achieve the full promise of legalization.

Denver continues its collaborative approach to marijuana management, remaining nimble and flexible to keep pace with the sustained growth of sales and innovation in the marijuana industry, while remaining in constant communication with the industry and residents to ensure balance among many competing interests.

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