Why Amazon cares if weed is legal

By Alex Halperin
Sep 23, 2021

More than most big tech companies, Amazon has taken an active interest in legalization.

Earlier this year it came out in support of the MORE Act, the progressive bill which would federally decriminalize, and said it would stop testing most employees for THC.

In a blog post this week, SVP, Human Resources, Beth Galetti said the company now supports the progressive bill proposed by Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). She added that the company would reinstate employment eligibility for applicants who were denied jobs or former employees who were fired after failing drug tests. 

  • As the country’s second largest private employer, after Wal-Mart, Amazon’s decision on employment policy is likely to be influential with hiring managers nationwide, at least.
  • Amazon is also lobbying on legalization-related issues.

That’s a big win for the normalization of cannabis. But it doesn’t explain why Amazon is getting out front of this issue. The obvious explanation, that the company wants to sling weed, doesn’t quite fit. So what’s going on?

A letter commenting on Schumer’s bill, the company wrote, “We’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool and assists us with meeting hiring needs.” Those fulfillment centers don’t operate themselves. Yet.

  • It also notes, “We have refrained from commenting on areas where we do not have a particular view, including regulation, permitting, taxation, and interstate commerce.” 
  • Amazon may want get into the cannabis business one day. The cannabiz would be crazy to ignore the tech giant. However, the $90B in cash Amazon reported in hand earlier this year is enough to buy every significant PotCo several times over. So it may see little need to get involved in the minutiae of legalization.
  • Insider also suggests the company might also want to be in sync with public opinion which consistently favors legalization.