Amazon Backs Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill

Amazon has endorsed federal legislation to legalize cannabis and pledged not to test some of its employees for the substance.

Amazon consumer boss Dave Clark said in a blog post on Tuesday that the business supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which was reintroduced in the House late last month. The MORE Act would decriminalize cannabis on a federal level, cleanse criminal records, and invest in communities affected by the drug.

“We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law,” Clark added.

Amazon says it will change its corporate drug testing policy for some of its employees. According to Clark, marijuana will no longer be included in the company’s drug testing policy for any positions not controlled by the Department of Transportation.

“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” said Clark. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.”

Amazon is also revamping its method of measuring worker productivity, known as “Time off Task,” according to Clark.

Amazon keeps track of warehouse workers’ productivity by tracking the number of parcels they pick, pack, and stow each hour. If employees take too long off from scanning parcels, Amazon’s internal systems will register it as a time off task and issue a warning, which might lead to termination.

The measurement system was created to reveal problems with employees’ tools; identifying under-performing employees was secondary.

According to Clark, Amazon began measuring time off jobs over a longer period of time starting in June.

“We believe this change will help ensure the Time off Task policy is used in the way it was intended,” said Clark.

Employees and labor advocacy groups have previously criticized Amazon’s Time off Task policy, claiming that it makes working conditions more difficult and that it is used to monitor employees. These organizations have also claimed that Amazon’s rigorous pace of work contributes to increased employee injury rates.

Outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos claimed in his final letter to shareholders in April that Amazon’s performance goals aren’t excessive. Though he did admit that Amazon requires a “better vision for employee success” and promised to make the firm “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”

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