Late last year, a GOP Congresswoman sent waves across America’s nascent cannabis industry when she introduced a bill to end federal cannabis prohibition in the country and regulate the controversial plant. With cannabis reform being seen as a primarily progressive effort spearheaded by the left, Rep. Nancy Mace’s States Reform Act was meant to act as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his colleagues had already unveiled a federal legalization bill, it stands little chance of advancing to the President’s desk without Republican support.
In a move that is bound to bolster the GOP-led legislation’s standing in Capitol Hill, Amazon has announced its support for the States Reform Act. Currently the second-largest private employer in America, the e-commerce giant has backed Democrat-led efforts to legalize cannabis in the past, including Schumer’s Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. According to Amazon’s public policy division, the company is “pleased to endorse” the Republican-led bill. Amazon believes it is time for America to reform its cannabis prohibition policies, the company says, and it is committed to helping the cannabis reform cause.
Forbes reports that a couple of months after Mace unveiled her cannabis bill, she had a meeting with Amazon during which the Seattle-based multinational endorsed the legislation. Mace has also received the backing of Americans for Prosperity, one of the most influential conservative groups on the globe. And contrary to what many may think, Amazon isn’t throwing its weight behind cannabis reform to create another revenue stream. The e-commerce companies don’t want to sell cannabis, Mace says.
Rather, Amazon’s interest in cannabis reform is partly because it will open up the hiring pool by an estimated 10%, Amazon vice president of public policy Brian Huseman says. The company has already started implementing procannabis internal policies; last year, Amazon updated employee policy to end regular cannabis testing for most of its employees. The policy change, which would also restore employment eligibility for employees who had already been punished for positive THC tests in the past, was celebrated by industry stakeholders and cannabis reform advocates in the country.
At the time, Amazon said the policy change was because it was becoming increasingly difficult to implement a national cannabis testing program that was equitable and consistent due to different state cannabis laws. Furthermore, Amazon said, data has shown that such drug testing “disproportionately impacts people of color” and limits their access to employment opportunities.
With e-commerce giant Amazon warming to the prospect of ending marijuana prohibition, more pressure will pile on federal lawmakers to enact reforms that allow sector players such as BevCanna Enterprise Inc. (CSE: BEV) (OTCQB: BVNNF) (FSE: 7BC) to operate freely across the country.
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