Amazon support Federal marijuana legalization bill
Amazon support Federal marijuana legalization bill

If Amazon Supports Rep. Mace's Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill, Should You Be Happy or Very Worried?

Rep. Mace now has Amazon's support for her bill to legalize marijuana across the country.

Posted by:
Thom Baccus on Wednesday Jan 26, 2022

amazon supports federal legaliation

Has the Evil Empire of Ecommerce suddenly turned into a Peace and Love Flower Child of the 70s?


Amazon, long known for its pee bottles and poor working conditions, has jumped on the marijuana legalization bandwagon, but it is not for the reasons you think. Many in the industry were worried that Amazon was planting a seed for future marijuana sales and 48-hour deliveries in Prime vans. While Amazon will eventually in our lifetime have vendors on the site that will be able to sell cannabis and Amazon will deliver those packages, it is not their immediate goal. While their venture into prescription drugs and pharmacy renewals is still slowly expanding, there is no immediate rush on the Amazon side to get state cannabis licenses and prepare for interstate commerce.

As the new Forbes article point out:

In June, the retail giant announced that it would exclude marijuana from most of its employee drug testing and started lobbying to legalize cannabis. Six months later, the company met with Mace and now says it will support her States Reform Act. “They don’t want to sell it,” Mace says, noting that employment is the driving force behind the support. “It opens up the hiring pool by about 10%.” Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, adds: “This bill offers comprehensive reform that speaks to the emergence of a bipartisan consensus to end the federal prohibition of cannabis.”


As the article on pointed out when Amazon dropped marijuana from their 5-panel drug testing on employees, it was not for altruistic motives.  Amazon, like the rest of America, is struggling mightily to attract and retain warehouse workers. The same can be said for Amazon DSPs, or delivery service partners, who run the vans and drivers for Amazon. With so many people under the age of 40 unable to pass a marijuana drug test, especially in states like Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington, Amazon had to throw in the towel and say, “If you can’t beat them, join them”.  

While Bill Huseman, Amazon VP says not testing for cannabis opens the hiring pool by 10%, other estimates put Amazon losing up to 30% of applicants for jobs in the $15 to $18.50 per hour salary range to failed cannabis drug tests.  With many employers in the restaurant, retail, transportation, and fast-food industry desperate for employees, Amazon had no choice but to waive the marijuana drug test.  Amazon also miscalculated their leverage as an employer when they switched many of their package stations to “megacycle”. This means employees who pick and pack packages into routes for drivers had to work overnight shifts to make sure the routes were ready for drivers in the morning. Amazon told employees in many locations that was their only option, work 11pm to 7am or find a new job.  Due to child card, adult care, and family life, many employees did just that during the Great Resignation and Amazon was sent scrabbling to fill internal station jobs. Make your own schedule, college tuition money, better health benefits, and no marijuana testing all started to appear on Amazon commercials and advertisements.


This week’s Forbes article on Amazon supporting Rep. Mace’s bill for Federal cannabis legalization does not come as a shock to those in the industry.  Amazon and their vendor’s liability would go down if marijuana were Federally legal.  The employee pool would continue to get bigger if cannabis were federally legal, and in the long haul, Amazon could begin to put together a plan for selling weed. Will Amazon be good at selling marijuana if and when the time comes, Thom Baccus at says Amazon will be terrible at selling cannabis for a variety of reasons which you can read here.


As one insider told me, “Amazon makes $1 billion every day, that is every 24 hours, they make a billion dollars, not because they are nice and sing ‘kumbaya’, but because they are relentless on vendors and margins. As Jeff Bezos once said, ‘Your margins are my opportunity’, Amazon carries that same mind set when dealing with vendors and partners.”


At one point Amazon changed some of the wording own their internal website used by DSPs, delivery service partners, from “partner” to “program” because the contract DSPs sign with Amazon are so one-sided in Amazon’s favor, the word “partner” is no applicable or even remotely true based on the contract wording. The websites now list words like “Delivery Service Program” and the word “partner” has been scrubbed clean. Amazon lawyers, always good at seeing a potential lawsuit coming down the road, can’t call it a partnership if it is 99 to 1 in Amazon’s favor in the contract.


Ironically, the recent Forbes article says Amazon is whole-heartedly behind Rep. Mace’s marijuana reform and legalization bill.  


In a tweet on Tuesday, Amazon’s PR department tweeted, “We’re pleased to endorse @RepNancyMace’s States Reform Act. Like so many in this country, we believe it’s time to reform the nation’s cannabis policy and Amazon is committed to helping lead the effort.” 


If Amazon is committed to correcting past social injustices and the unfair treatment toward lower social economic classes due to the War on Drugs, why not get your own house in order, now? Many have written about how Amazon is a new form of modern slavery.  Why not pay a livable wage, as opposed to the state’s minimum wage or as close to it as Amazon can legally pay? Why not give employees options other than the overnight shift, so they don’t have to choose between taking care of their kids and family and working at an Amazon shipping facility? Why not give enough bathroom breaks so the internet isn’t littered with Amazon “pee bottle” pictures?  Why fight tooth-and-nail against union organization for lower paid workers at every station in America?  You can’t go back in history to correct past injustices, but you can correct your current practices, so we don’t look back in 50 years and say we need to correct the high-pressure, low-pay environment Amazon created during the ecommerce boom.



amazon drops marijuana drug testing





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