According to new rumours, Amazon wants to start selling cannabis, but they say they are on the legal bandwagon for other reasons. The company has endorsed legislation by US Representative Nancy Mace to end the federal prohibition on pot. Reports claim this is the first time it has backed a Republican-led bill on the issue.
Legalizing pot could also open the door to a lucrative new market for the largest online retailer. But the tech giant says they are not interested in selling pot. “There are no plans to sell cannabis, and that is not why we’re doing this or [being involved] in this debate. We realized that it was a hindrance to our ability to hire employees,” said Amazon vice president of public policy Brian Huseman.
Nancy Mace has commented that “it’s crucial to have businesses big and small recognize the ramifications of cannabis prohibitions and what a detriment it is that the federal government is getting in the way of state law and these kinds of reforms.”
Amazon has been working hard at adapting to the new policies and changes that come with legalizing cannabis. They are backing up these changes by welcoming a new employment policy to end drug testing for cannabis for most workers. Amazon announced last year they are in favour of legalization efforts, and they have since lobbied both publicly and privately for other, Democratic-led proposals that like Mace’s would remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of controlled substances.
Amazon no longer includes marijuana in their comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation. The hope was it would lead to a significant reduction in the number of workers in the country who face the prospect of being fired simply for using cannabis at home, while not on the clock, and it’s been a good chance for Amazon to remove hiring impediments and attain more employees.
The advocates for legalization aren’t totally convinced that Amazon doesn’t have other plans down the line. Some think it’s a self-interested move to monopolize yet another market, potentially blocking Black and Latino entrepreneurs from an emerging industry. The fact that support is being shared by both parties is a positive step forward and there is hope that other large retailers will follow suit and use their resources to lobby for federal legalization and expungement.
What do you think Amazon’s real intentions are? Are they another predator in the market for small businesses and minority entrepreneurs that don’t stand a chance? Or could this be a good thing for the future of cannabis? Let us know in the comments and be sure to follow us @cannalifenet!