Amazon Drug Policy: Everything We Know

Amazon Drug Policy: Everything We Know


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Amazon is the leading e-commerce and tech company in the world. Based in Seattle, Washington, it has a worldwide consumer base and owns over 40 subsidiaries that include Audible, Zappos, Whole Foods, AbeBooks, Goodreads, and IMDb, among others.

It was named by LinkedIn as the #1 most sought-after workplace in 2021. In 2020, Forbes listed Amazon as the #2 company among the world’s best employers. A recent survey by the company among its employees showed that 94% would recommend Amazon as a place to work to family and friends.

Between 2016 and 2017, the company added 224,600 new full-time and part-time employees. It has nearly 1.13 million employees worldwide, making it one of the world's biggest employers. The COVID 19 pandemic has also led to an unprecedented surge in hiring with exponential growth in online marketing and sales.

Amazon routinely conducts drug screening programs among its employees as part of the hiring process and as a condition of continued employment. Their drug test policy abides by both federal and state laws. Amazon conducts a 5 panel drug test or a 12 panel drug test for their job applicants and employees to detect the absence or presence of illicit drugs and the abuse of prescribed drugs.

Read to learn more about Amazon's drug screening policy and everything from the types of drug tests to the substances screened and the different positions that require testing.

Who will be tested and why?

The employer may choose to perform a drug test for assessing an employee for reasons that may include pre-employment, random drug testing, follow-up testing, and post-incident testing.

Federal law requires testing by employers in safety-sensitive industries such as transportation, aviation, the Department of Defense, and others. As such, all Amazon warehouse workers have to pass a pre-employment drug test as part of the company's hiring process.

Amazon’s corporate employees, on the other hand, are not subjected to pre-employment drug testing. However, the company may perform a drug or alcohol screening if it believes it has reasonable grounds to support that an employee is under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances.

Amazon drug test and substances tested?

An oral mouth-swab test is the most standard test for screening drugs at Amazon. Oral drug testing offers a quick and non-invasive alternative to blood and urine tests. Oral tests also provide instant results and are scientifically reliable.

Testing may include alcohol and a host of other drugs of abuse such as amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), etc.

Does Amazon drug test for MMJ?

Amazon recently adjusted its drug testing policy to exclude MMJ from the company's drug screening program as they support the MORE act.  This applies to all positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and instead treat MMJ the same as alcohol use.

The tech giant also said it would endorse the federal MORE Act, reintroduced in the congress, aimed at descheduling and decriminalizing MMJ, including ditching past MMJ-related convictions.

If passed into law, the bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act on the federal level.  Amazon's announcement comes on the back of a massive legal reform across the United States and North America to legalize MMJ and cannabis use.

Already 18 states have legalized recreational MMJ in the United States, with more than two-thirds of U.S. states giving the green signal for MMJ use. According to the latest Gallup poll, 68% of Americans back the measure to legalize MMJ in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, the number of firms that tested for cannabis and cannabis metabolite 11-Nor-9-carboxy-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC -COOH) is on the decline. Clinical laboratory leader Quest Diagnostics reported a 5.2% drop in MMJ testing and a significant 8.5% drop in recreational cannabis states. But Amazon does a thorough background check for all job candidates and job seekers checking for criminal records before hiring them.

The bottom line

A drug-free workplace ensures a safer working environment by reducing the risks and dangers of an employee under the influence of illicit substances. A drug-free workplace increases productivity and boosts employee performance. 

While, in general, Amazon does not conduct a pre-employment drug test, its warehouse workers have to pass a drug test as part of the company's hiring process. An oral mouth-swab test is the most preferred test for screening of drugs at Amazon.

In the past, drug tests included MMJ along with opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), cocaine, and amphetamines as substances tested for. However, Amazon has recently given up on testing cannabis and its metabolites as part of its drug testing policy.

The sweeping changes with regard to MMJ laws in the U.S., with more and more states joining legalization efforts, have contributed to this move by the company. Additionally, hiring shortages and the demand for labor, especially amid the pandemic, have led to this changing of the guard in the company.

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