The cannabis industry has become one of the most attractive sectors in the world. This time last year, economic theorists projected the weed sector to gross nearly $200 billion by the end of 2030. Since those projections, about five states enacted pro-cannabis laws (i.e., recreational, medical, or decriminalization.) At least one state approved medical and recreational cannabis simultaneously, which had never been done before. This means that there is a strong possibility that the previous projections of $200 billion will increase. Big companies like Amazon know this; many think Amazon’s involvement in the cannabis industry is heaven-sent. Unfortunately, it could be just the opposite for cannabis e-commerce and the cannabis industry on a global magnitude.
Amazon’s recent comments on cannabis
Earlier this week, Amazon released a statement regarding its stance on the federal legalization of cannabis. The company announced:
“Given our previous support for legalizing cannabis at the federal level, as well as expunging certain criminal records and investing in impacted businesses and communities, Amazon recently announced our support for, and began actively lobbying on, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act).” (source: Amazon.)
The company went on to point out how marijuana, simply put: isn’t that bad. Earlier this year, Amazon released a similar statement regarding their advancements on cannabis causes. The company announced it would no longer consider cannabis as a prohibited substance for new and current employees. The only exception adhered to Amazon employees who are required to drive delivery trucks or semi-trucks (as it is currently federally illegal to do otherwise.)
Why Amazon’s involvement is a good idea
Many cannabis consumers are aware of Amazon’s statements made earlier this summer regarding cannabis and employment. On the surface, Amazon getting hands-on with cannabis reform is pretty much a paradigm shift – The largest online retailer in the world virtually says, ‘Hey. We don’t care if you smoke weed anymore (as long as you’re not driving.) The company backed by the richest man globally has realized how wrong social inequalities are associated with cannabis convictions and employment. Moreover, this same company publicly proclaims a stance even further than cannabis allowance. The largest retailer in the world stated they would put millions (if not billions) of dollars into getting cannabis federally legalized. All of this is entirely unprecedented. The legalization of cannabis is on the cusp, and Amazon is getting to be the catalyst to get the bong bubbling. This has to be great … right?
Why Amazon’s involvement is a terrible idea
The cannabis industry takes social equity very seriously. Amazon’s involvement in the sector could spell disaster for thousands of canna-businesses. Imagine the largest online retailer globally being able to operate across state lines (i.e., no federal prohibition on cannabis.) Imagine those Amazon Prime delivery trucks suffocating smaller cannabis businesses (we here at Stickyleaf coin the term ‘Mom-and-Pot shops.’) Envision the largest online retailer ever throttling cannabis e-commerce with ease. Amazon’s involvement in the cannabis industry could cause a monopoly on a federal, even global level worth more than the allure of convenience.
Amazon isn’t alone in big company cannabis reform
Earlier this year, Uber made an eerily similar statement regarding its stance on marijuana moving forward. Furthermore, the company expressed its delight in exploring cannabis delivery services. Roughly around the same time, Uber purchased rival Postmates for $2.7 billion. This means Uber and Postmates drivers may be bringing cannabis straight to your door. Uber’s involvement also threatens the integrity of the cannabis economy. Unfortunately, we will simply have to wait and see how it plays out.