Why Amazon’s Cannabis Endorsement Should Scare You

Amazon, the penultimate private employer in the nation, supports a Red-led measure to federally permit, tax, and regulate cannabis.

Yesterday, the company’s public policy division revealed that it is “happy to support” the bill from Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC), who initialized the States Reform Act as a neutral option to better mounted back GOP drafts and wide-ranging cannabis measures that Democrats are supporting.

“Like so many in this nation, we acknowledge it’s time to improve the nation’s cannabis policy, and Amazon is committed to supporting the endeavor directly,” the business, which previously communicated support for a different, Democratic-led cannabis legalization bill, expressed.

Amazon has operated to acclimate to changing weed policies within the company as it’s backed congressional cannabis reform, legislating an employment policy transformation last year to terminate drug testing for cannabis for most workers, for instance.

A season after making that transition—and following the preface of the States Reform Act—Mace sat down with Amazon and accepted the company’s blessing, Forbes conveyed.

“They don’t want to sell [cannabis,]” the newly-elected congresswoman expressed, adding that the company is primarily interested in supporting cannabis reform for employment purposes rather than as a manner to sell cannabis eventually. “It opens up the employment pool by approximately 10 percent.”

Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy, conveyed that the measure “offers comprehensive reform that speaks to the emergence of a bipartisan consensus to end the federal prohibition of cannabis.”

Cannabis reform champions and industry stakeholders celebrated the company’s drug testing determination. Originally, the business only talked about ending the policy in the future. However, it later declared that the policy change would also be retroactive, meaning one-time employees and applicants who were banished for testing positive for THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, will have their employment eligibility status corrected.

The rationale for the shift away from cannabis testing was multifaceted, the company revealed at the time. The increasing state-level legalization campaign has made it “rough to install an unbiased, uniform, and national pre-employment cannabis testing schedule,” data reveals that drug testing “one-sidedly impacts individuals of color and functions as a wall to employment” and terminating the prerequisite will widen the company’s applicant pool.

The Red-aligned congresswoman’s measure already has the backing of the influential, Koch-supported ‘traditional’ group known as Americans for Prosperity.

The bill would terminate the federal cannabis ban while taking detailed steps to confirm that companies in existing state markets can resume operating unencumbered by adjusting nationwide regulations.

Mace’s measure has been described as an endeavor to bridge a partisan gap on national weed policy. It does that by combining specific equity provisions such as expungements for individuals with low-level cannabis crimes and charging an excise tax, income from which would sustain community reinvestment, law enforcement, and Small Business Administration (SBA) movements.

Initially, a popular weed news outlet reported on an earlier draft version of the bill during the 2021 holiday season. It swiftly became evident that industry stakeholders witnessed an opportunity in the Red-led measure.

The explanation for that answer primarily comes down to the point that there’s a distrust that Blue-led cannabis legalization bills—especially the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act that the company has also backed—will be able to pass without a buy-in for Republicans. While Democrats hold the keys to the chambers, in addition to controlling the executive arm that is the White House, the margins for passage are far and few in between.

Last summer, the MORE Act did sweep through the House Judiciary Committee, and an earlier version passed the full House during the last legislative session. Senate administration is readying to put forth a separate legalization proposal after disclosing a draft version in July.

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