Amazon Supports Marijuana Legalization; Canopy and Tilray Rise

Amazon supports federal marijuana legislation and changes its drug testing policy.
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Stocks of cannabis companies rose Wednesday after Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Report voiced support for a federal bill to legalize marijuana and declared it will no longer screen for marijuana for any position not regulated by the Department of Transportation.

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Shares of Canopy Growth  (CGC) - Get Report were up 1.52%, Cronos Group  (CRON) - Get Report rose 1.2%, Tilray  (TLRY) - Get Report gained 1.5%, and Hexo  (HEXO) - Get Report was up nearly 1% in premarket trading.

Dave Clark, Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO, said in a blog post that its public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act).

The legislation would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities, Clark said.

"We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law," he added.

In addition, Clark said Amazon was adjusting its drug testing policy.

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

Clark said the company will treat marijuana "the same as alcohol use." 

"We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident," he said.

Clark also said Amazon was changing its "time off task" system that measures worker productivity by analyzing the time they spend on breaks. The program has been criticized for creating a stress work environment.

Clark said the program "can be easily misunderstood," adding that the primary goal "is to understand whether there are issues with the tools that people use to be productive, and only secondarily to identify under-performing employees."

"Starting today, we’re now averaging Time off Task over a longer period to ensure that there’s more signal and less noise—reinforcing the original intent of the program, and focusing Time off Task conversations on how we can help," he said. 

Separately, Amazon said its annual Prime Day event will take place worldwide on June 21-22. 

On Tuesday, Canopy Growth posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss. The company was upgraded to buy from neutral last week by MKM Partners.

Last week, Hexo announced the purchase of Redecan, Canada's largest privately-owned licensed producer, for C$925 million ($766.37 million).

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