It turns out that the reason Amazon is going all-in on marijuana legalization isn’t so much about selling weed as it is about a very different kind of legalization: the one that destroys the black market. The Amazon-funded study found that medical marijuana was a better long-term investment than any other alternative. The more weed you sell, the more you make.
Amazon recently announced a partnership with the Washington state government to build a massive new distribution center in the Seattle area. The new facility will be built on a plot of land between the city of Issaquah and the city of DuPont, and Amazon will be the landlord. The city and state have pledged $3.7 million to the project from the Puget Sound Regional Council, and over the next few years, the project is expected to create over 1,000 jobs. The proposed development is a bit odd, however, since it’s located in a county that just voted to legalize recreational marijuana. The agreement between the two entities is also quite unusual, considering that the proposed development is located in a county where marijuana is legal and the region’sI can guarantee you that Amazon has calculated how many employees across the country fail a marijuana test each month. Why has Amazon now come out in favor of legalizing marijuana? Following Amazon’s major press release in support of marijuana legalization in America, many in the cannabis industry have concluded that Jeff Bezos and his administration are preparing to deliver and ship marijuana on a large scale. Not so fast. While Amazon may one day be able to sell and ship THC products, we are still a long way from that idea in terms of legalization and state laws. Remember, Amazon has to worry about the federal government, 50 state governments and about 120 other governments before it will refuse to deliver weed in North America. Photo by Christian Wiediger via Unsplash After calling our sources at Amazon and speaking with several Amazon DSP partners, what is the real reason for Amazon’s newfound support for legalization? It’s not benevolent or malicious, as you might think. It’s about attracting workers to your warehouses. Amazon, like most Americans, is struggling to get people back to work. At a wage of $16 to $18 an hour, and with many Amazon locations transitioning to a mega cycle where warehouse workers work from 11pm to 7am, there is little willingness to accept this glorious offer. Amazon recently announced that $1 billion will be returned to pay employees and create jobs. Amazon did this not for benevolent reasons, but because it could not find employees at current wage levels. The minimum wage in Amazon’s warehouses was raised from 10% to over 30% to attract workers. Not to mention the new $1,000 and $1,500 bonuses that Amazon is offering warehouse workers to try and fill vacancies. photo courtesy of Amazon What does this have to do with the legalization of marijuana, you ask? Amazon has a drug testing policy that includes marijuana. Amazon is aware that it could greatly expand the pool of employees eligible for this salary level if it stopped marijuana testing or if cannabis were legalized at the federal level. Although the press release states that they will stop testing non-driver positions (sorry, drivers!), they, like many government agencies, realize that if you eliminate everyone who doesn’t pass a marijuana test, you eliminate a lot of potential employees. This is especially true in large states where cannabis is sold legally, such as California, Colorado and now Florida. I can guarantee you that Amazon calculated the number of employees who don’t get tested for marijuana each month, say 10,000, and realized that if they didn’t have a marijuana testing policy, another 10,000 people could fill the shifts from midnight to 7am. Will Amazon ever sell and deliver cannabis? Sure, they’re already filling prescriptions in more and more testing areas, but that’s not the main goal of supporting marijuana legalization, it’s expanding the pool of eligible workers with wages of $15-$17 an hour. The FBI and CIA have encountered and discussed similar problems. Amazon Prime Week this year runs from the 21st to the 22nd. The month of June will take place. Be prepared, because when you sell billions of dollars worth of goods in 48 hours, someone will have to pack up all those packages and deliver them to your door.