Amazon's Big Cannabis Move: Why Company Drug-Test Policies Matter More Than Ever

By Steven Hawkins, CEO of the United States Council.
When a drug-testing policy that affects over a million Americans gets changed, it’s a signal.  

In early June, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced it would no longer screen its employees for cannabis consumption in most situations. Times are changing, they said. The move by one of America’s largest employers is a meaningful one. 

Major corporations are figuring out that the time has come to adjust not only attitudes but also their own policies related to cannabis. Beyond that, they're also exerting influence on the highest levels of government to end federal prohibition. 

Amazon isn’t alone in its removal of screening. From the corporate world to professional athletics, major organizations are significantly retooling—or removing altogether—testing or sanctions for cannabis. And for a lot of companies, especially in the face of a massive labor shortage, the move makes sense; denying a worker employment or terminating their employment because of recreational, off-the-job cannabis consumption is ludicrous (at least if you ask me—not to mention a potential legal headache for employers). 

Companies of all shapes and sizes can lead by example and end unfair, outdated drug-screening practices on their own terms. With the power that Big Business holds in this country, I’d say it’s an incredibly smart move—one that could benefit not just the workforce but the country at large. 

Stereotypes Vs. True Public Health Risks 

From the Reefer Madness era to the Reagans’ “Just Say No” campaign, for decades cannabis consumers have been portrayed as lazy, couch-locked stoners. But recent research indicates that not only is that narrative patently false, the findings suggest that cannabis consumption and federal legalization may actually have a net-positive effect on public health. 

How? As one example, researchers found that light to moderate cannabis consumption enhances exercise and activity levels. The old notion …

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