Amazon tells delivery partners not to screen for marijuana amid labor shortage

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Amazon is reportedly telling the small companies that operate its delivery vans to prominently advertise in job postings that they don’t screen applicants for pot use — in an effort to combat a nationwide worker shortage.

Advertising the policy can boost the number of job applicants by as much as 400 percent, Amazon claimed in a message to its delivery partners, according to correspondence viewed by Bloomberg.

The company reportedly added that screening for marijuana cuts the prospective worker pool by up to 30 percent.

Other delivery companies are still screening applicants for drug use, including weed, because they’re concerned about insurance and liability implications, Bloomberg reported — especially in states where recreational marijuana is still illegal.

“If one of my drivers crashes and kills someone and tests positive for marijuana, that’s my problem, not Amazon’s,” one anonymous delivery partner told Bloomberg.

An Amazon.com Inc. delivery driver carries boxes into a van outside of a distribution facility on February 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California.Amazon is reportedly telling the companies that operate its delivery vans to prominently advertise in job postings that they don’t screen applicants for marijuana us.AFP via Getty Images

Another one, who told Bloomberg they stopped screening applicants for pot use at Amazon’s direction, said that weed was the main reason applicants failed drug tests.

Since no longer screening for pot use and only testing for opiates and amphetamines, they’ve had more success recruiting drivers, they told Bloomberg.

Amazon announced in June that they were officially backing a bill to legalize marijuana across the US, and said that it would no longer disqualify people from working at the company in certain roles if they test positive for pot use.

An Amazon.com Inc. delivery driver talks with another driver in a row of vans outside of a distribution facility on February 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California.Advertising that applicants will not be screened for marijuana can boost the number of job applicants by as much as 400 percent, Amazon claimes.AFP via Getty Images

An Amazon spokesperson said Thursday that screening applicants for weed has disproportionately impacted communities of color.

They also highlighted that Amazon will take a zero-tolerance approach if workers are high on the job.

“If a delivery associate is impaired at work and tests positive post-accident or due to reasonable suspicion, that person would no longer be permitted to perform services for Amazon,” the spokesperson said.

Amazon driver Shawndu Stackhouse delivers packages in Northeast Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Amazon driver applicants are still screened for opiates and amphetamines.Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

The move by Amazon, one of the country’s biggest employers, comes as companies continue to grapple with a labor shortage that’s now been ongoing for months.

Companies are in dire need of truckers and other transportation positions, especially, as the global supply chain faces serious backlogs due to surging consumer demand and COVID-related disruptions.

Companies have opened up applications to younger workers, dangled bonuses and giveaways, and raised wages across the country in an effort to recruit workers.

On Friday, The Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to release the highly anticipated August jobs report, which will reveal how many new positions were created last month.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect to see 720,000 jobs added in August, down from 943,000 jobs added in July.

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