In an unexpected development, Amazon has recently opted to flex its considerable muscle in the Beltway, notably to catalyze bipartisan support for the federal legalization of marijuana.
Earlier this week, the massive tech company formally endorsed legislation proposed by GOP Representative Nancy Mace, which would end the current federal prohibition on marijuana. Interestingly, Amazon’s support marks the first time that the company has supported a GOP-supported bill on the issue, as observed by Forbes.
If Amazon is successful in its latest lobbying effort, the company could simplify expanding its workforce over the course of a major surge in hiring, as reported by the Washington Post.
Aside from the proposal put forth by Representative Mace, Amazon is also backing multiple Democrat proposals that would involve the formal removal of marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances.
Consequently, Amazon is utilizing its sizable lobbyist weight to develop bipartisan support for the federal legalization of marijuana, which would significantly ease drug testing requirements for new hires, as well as boost retention amongst current employees.
Brian Huseman, who serves as the Vice President of Public Policy for the company, notes that the federal debate on legalized marijuana “is not an issue that Amazon would normally engage on.”
Huseman also argues that Amazon has no intention of selling cannabis, and that the company is not lobbying for marijuana legalization in order to pursue “plans to sell cannabis.”
Instead, Amazon ostensibly wants the federal government to legalize marijuana, as its currently prohibited status is “a hindrance to [Amazon’s] ability to hire employees,” according to Huseman.
Amazon’s most recent endorsement is all the more remarkable given that the sponsor of the bill formally worked on Donald Trump’s campaign, one who argues that the federal legalization of marijuana is a state-friendly, pro-business objective.
Representative Mace is grateful for Amazon’s endorsement, noting that “Amazon [leaning] in at this level this early gives this kind of reform great momentum going forward.”
However, not all in favor of legalizing marijuana are in favor of having Amazon’s support, notably Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
“I’m deeply skeptical that Amazon’s lobbying is anything more than a self-interested move to monopolize yet another market,” Warren sniffed, adding that Amazon’s efforts may “potentially [block] Black and Latino entrepreneurs from an emerging industry.”
In addition, the chairman of the South Carolina GOP Party has proclaimed that the group is “unequivocally” opposed to “any effort to legalize or decriminalize the use of controlled substances,” including the bill by Representative Mace.