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Amazon will stop testing most employees for weed

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Some jobs like delivery drivers will still be screened

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon is relaxing its policy around employees using weed, according to a new blog post, and will no longer enforce marijuana drug tests for any employee who isn’t also regulated by the Department of Transportation, like a delivery driver. In the past, Amazon used positive tests as a reason to disqualify applicants during the hiring process.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, announced the change as part of the company’s goal to be “Earth’s Best Employer,” a strategy that so far has been characterized by new programs like WorkingWell that seem to view employees as things that need to be maintained and trained, rather than people who should be treated fairly. Still, as weed is legalized for recreational and medicinal use state by state across the US, acknowledging that the average employee probably uses marijuana in the same casual way people drink alcohol is good.

Clark also announced that Amazon’s policy team will be “actively supporting” the reintroduced Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) which seeks to legalize weed at the federal level, along with expunging the criminal records of people who were arrested for marijuana possession.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, supported Amazon’s change:

We implore Amazon and other employers to let this be the starting point and not the goal post. This change can and should be the catalyst to a much larger move—ending drug testing for all drugs—that would ensure a more just and equitable future for millions of people, especially Black, Brown and Indigenous communities who have been disproportionately impacted by these policies.

However helpful Amazon’s tweaks to its employee policies are, they’re still not as good as actual representation for its workers. Luckily, in the fallout of the union drive in Alabama, that’s possibly still on its way, too.