Amazon gives marijuana the go-ahead
Online retailer Amazon announced Tuesday that it would support efforts to legalize marijuana at the federal level and stop testing applicants for cannabis use for most U.S. jobs. The policy changes were announced in a blog post by Amazon CEO Dave Clark, published by the company on June 1.
In the statement, Clark wrote that company policies would be amended to promote the company’s “vision of becoming the world’s best place to work and the world’s safest place to work,” a goal announced by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in April . Clark noted that the company has often turned down otherwise qualified job applicants based on positive drug screening for marijuana use alone. Under the new policy, such reviews will end for most offices in the United States
“In the past, like many employers, we have banned people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana. However, given that state laws are moving in the US, we’ve changed our course, ”wrote Clark. “We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for agencies that are not regulated by the Department of Transportation, but instead treat it like alcohol.”
Clark also announced that Amazon will now actively support the legalization of cannabis at the federal level, including lobbying for laws brought to the House of Representatives last week by New York MP Jerry Nadler, a Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
“And because we know this problem is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will actively support the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) – federal laws that legalize marijuana at the federal level, clear criminal records, and invest to affected communities, ”Clark continued. “We hope that other employers will join us and that politicians will act quickly to pass this law.”
Amazon is also changing its employee productivity policy
Clark’s statement on Tuesday also announced changes to controversial Amazon workplace policies regulating employee productivity, which many critics say lead to unsafe working conditions and employee dissatisfaction. The policy, known as the time off task, is used to track when an employee at an Amazon fulfillment center is logged into the software tools in their work area.
Clark wrote that the primary goal of the time off task system is to identify operational problems with the technology tools employees use to get their jobs done, “and secondarily to identify underperforming employees.” Given that there are many legitimate reasons for employees to opt out of their software tools, Clark said Amazon will be redesigning the way it analyzes and acts on the data collected through the program.
“Starting today, we’re averaging long-term non-working hours to ensure there is more signal and less noise – to reinforce the original intent of the program and to focus the non-working hours conversations on how we can help.” wrote Clark. “The goal is to focus the discussions on cases where there are likely to be real operational problems to be resolved. We believe this change will help ensure that the Non-Working Time Policy is used as intended. “
The response to Clark’s announcement of Amazon’s changes in the cannabis community has been largely positive, although some social media users have posited that the company is abolishing a policy that makes hiring difficult while positioning itself to promote marijuana legalization to use it to its economic advantage.
Ben Kovler, the founder and CEO of multi-state cannabis operator Green Thumb Industries, expressed support for Amazon’s move.
“Change is coming to America. Amazon is a leader and we applaud their progressive, common sense approach to cannabis, ”Kovler wrote on Twitter.