Amazon has scrapped its policy of testing its drivers for cannabis use, as the world’s largest retailer gears up for the holiday season amid a shortage of delivery drivers.
A few months ago, Amazon pledged to stop testing prospective employees in the US for marijuana use as part of a statement in support of a bill that would end federal cannabis prohibition.
“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” a blog post by Amazon CEO Dave Clark read. “However, given where the state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.”
Delivery drivers, however, were still to be precluded from using cannabis outside of work hours as such roles, according to Clark, fall under the purview of the US Department of Transport.
But now that the corporate giant is struggling to secure enough drivers to meet its expected demand, the company has changed tack. It advised its delivery partners to drop the cannabis test requirement in order to encourage more applications. Amazon believes this will boost the number of applicants by up to 400 percent, though it’s unclear how they arrived at this figure.
One delivery driver company representative acknowledged that positive tests for marijuana were the most common reason for failing a drug screening, so it stands to reason that there will be a greater number of successful applicants now.
Some delivery driver companies aren’t happy about Amazon’s move though, as a positive test for THC following an accident could cause serious problems.
“If one of my drivers crashes and kills someone and tests positive for marijuana, that’s my problem, not Amazon’s,” said one business owner.
Amazon’s new-found public support for federal cannabis legalization, as well as its lobbying efforts in Washington on the issue, indicate the company is interested in ultimately becoming a marijuana retailer and distributor, which it is of course extremely well-positioned to do. If that happened, it would more or less be a death knell for independent, state-level cannabis retailers.
As far as delivery drivers are concerned though, they are treated the same now as every other Amazon employee when it comes to the use of intoxicating substances – zero tolerance at work but out-of-hours use is tolerated.