In an effort to increase its applicant pool, as the second largest employer in the United States, Amazon has started to throw its weight behind federal cannabis reform.
On Tuesday, the company released its comments on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAO Act), the most comprehensive cannabis reform proposal to-date in Congress, which is currently in discussion draft form. (Read Cannabis Wire’s coverage of the many other comments sent in.)
“We believe the time has come for reform of the nation’s cannabis policy and we are committed to helping lead the effort,” the company wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, who authored the Act.
Amazon endorsed the Act, noting that it matches the company’s support for “legalizing cannabis at the federal level, expunging certain criminal records, and investing in impacted businesses and communities,” and largely focused on its move toward ending “pre-employment testing of marijuana as a condition of employment.”
While the company notes that such testing “has disproportionately affected communities of color by stalling job placement and, by extension, economic growth,” it is also true that there is a national labor shortage. “We’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool and assists us with meeting hiring needs,” the letter continues.
Amazon first announced its support for federal cannabis reform in June, with a specific focus on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, known as the MORE Act. In July, Cannabis Wire was the first news organization to report that Amazon started to lobby on the Act. That bill, like the CAO Act, would end the federal criminalization of cannabis, but, unlike the CAO Act, does not establish a regulatory framework for a national industry.
In its comments on CAO Act, though, Amazon writes, “we have refrained from commenting on areas where we do not have a particular view, including regulation, permitting, taxation, and interstate commerce.”