Here’s why Amazon is lobbying the government to legalize marijuana

Amazon announced Tuesday that it is actively lobbying Congress in favor of legalizing cannabis at the federal level in part to promote equitable hiring practices. 

The company’s effort began in June, when it said it would no longer screen prospective employees for marijuana use for positions not regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Amazon made the changes given data that shows certain cannabis policies disproportionately affect people of color, and due to a swath of states updating their own marijuana laws.

“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,” Amazon said Tuesday.

The company additionally reiterated its support for a pair of bills — the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 and Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

Lobbying for federal legalization and easing its own cannabis policies, according to the company, will also enlarge the applicant pool and lessen burdens on the hiring process. 

“We’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool,” Amazon senior VP of human resources Beth Galetti said, according to Business Insider. 

Records reviewed by Insider in July reportedly show that Amazon had spent $5 million in lobbying efforts in the second quarter. 

Amazon recently joined a separate hiring push earlier in September, announcing that it would begin covering college tuition for most of its 750,00 employees beginning in January with funding kicking in at approved institutions 90 days after hiring. The Career Choice program also plans to cover costs for GED and ESL proficiency certifications. 

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