The growing global trend of cannabis legalisation has led many major companies to re-evaluate their policies on cannabis. The largest company to publicly address their changed stance on cannabis is Amazon, the retail giant. Amazon’s public policy department has publicly declared support for cannabis reform by backing a new bill, introduced to the US House of Representatives in May 2021.
Despite the growing number of states where cannabis has been legalised, there are certainly reforms still needed. 17 individual states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalised adult use of recreational cannabis. 33 others have legalised medical cannabis. However, even within fully legalised states, there are still many barriers to entry for those looking to get into the cannabis sector. It is these barriers that May’s bill, backed by Amazon, looks to remove.
In states where adult use recreational cannabis is legal, cannabis businesses still face restrictions. They are unable to access banking services, as US federal law continues to deem the drug illegal. Moreover, these businesses face issues with transporting cannabis, and often face penalties and fines from breaking bordering state laws. Although throughout the Biden campaign there was discussion of federal legislation, this reform is not expected in the imminent future.
Noting the difficult roadblocks that exist for cannabis, the world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon, has made its support for cannabis reform clear. Amazon’s consumer boss, Dave Clark, shared in a blog post the company's new ethos towards cannabis going forward.
The company announced that they will no longer screen their applicants for cannabis use, and treat use of the drug in the same way they treat alcohol. The Department of Transportation will continue their previous cannabis regulations for safety reasons, Clark notes.
Clark also clearly announced Amazon’s support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (known as the MORE Act). This act would legalise cannabis federally, and clear all criminal records for those with cannabis drug offences. This bill would not only create easier cannabis enterprises within the USA, but also release many from incarceration.
Support from large companies, such as Amazon, is necessary to encourage the US federal government into further cannabis reform. Hopefully even more corporate giants will publicise their support for cannabis legislation in the coming months.