Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has urged the U.S. government to legalize marijuana, as the e-commerce giant is prompting Congress to pass a federal law to decriminalize its use. With this, the company intends to ease the employee screening process amid the labor shortage.
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According to CBC News, Amazon is pursuing the legalization of marijuana, as “screening job applicants for cannabis makes it hard for the company, the nation's second-biggest private employer, to expand its workforce.”
Beth Galetti, Amazon's senior vice president of human resources, wrote on the company’s blog on Tuesday: “We strongly believe the time has come to reform the nation's cannabis policy, and we are committed to helping lead the effort.”
“Today's status quo is unfair and untenable,” she added, as retailers are facing difficulties to come up with cannabis rules for workers due to inconsistencies between local statutes and the federal law.
The e-commerce giant reported that conducting interviews and tests with future employees could be reduced by up to 30% due to the application of marijuana detection tests.
As a result, Amazon announced in June that it would stop conducting marijuana toxicology screenings on those who apply to work for the company.
Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the U.S. after Walmart (NYSE:WMT). The e-commerce firm is changing its hiring policy, as states continue to legalize the use of marijuana and change the laws that prohibit employers to carry out cannabis tests.
“Pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment," Galetti wrote.
"We've found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.”
Still, Amazon conducts toxicological tests on workers for other drugs and carries out "impairment checks." The company also said that some positions in the company may require a cannabis test according to Department of Transportation guidelines.
However, another compelling reason for Amazon and other big companies to push for cannabis legalization through pressure on the federal government is the business potential. It is estimated that the legal marijuana products industry could reach $100 billion annually by 2030.
This market generates more than 300,000 full-time jobs, a figure that even exceeds the number of dentists in the U.S.
Amazon and Walmart are part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.