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Amazon is lobbying on behalf of Republican-sponsored marijuana legalization bill

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Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amazon — the multinational e-commerce giant — is working to generate bipartisan support in Washington, D.C., for the federal legalization of marijuana.

On Tuesday, the company endorsed Republican South Carolina U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace’s States Reform Act. The freshmen representative is working to remove cannabis as a federal schedule I substance and introduce a 3% federal tax on it as well. Mace’s intends to use tax revenue generated from legal marijuana sales to fund law enforcement and veterans’ health programs.

Should the States Reform Act become law, it would still be illegal for people under 21 to consume marijuana unless prescribed it for medical use.

“Today, only 3 states lack some form of legal cannabis,” Mace said after filing the States Reform Act in the House of Representatives, “Every state is different. Cannabis reform at the federal level must take of all this into account. And it’s past time federal law codifies this reality.”

Amazon Public Policy — the company’s lobbying division — announced that it was “pleased to endorse” the States Reform Act stating that “it’s time to reform the nation’s cannabis policy and Amazon is committed to helping lead the effort.”

In June, the New York Post reports, Amazon committed to no longer testing job applicants — for roles not regulated by the Department of Transportation — for marijuana use.

In a recent interview, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, said that Amazon has “no plans to sell cannabis and that is not why we’re doing this,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He continued, “We realized that it was a hindrance to our ability to hire employees.”

Huseman indicated that Amazon’s primary focus with marijuana legalization is pushing for legislation to make it easier to hire people of color.

Amazon has endorsed previous bills attempting to legalize marijuana sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D – N.Y.). Both of these lawmakers’ bills emphasized expunging nonviolent marijuana-related crimes from people’s criminal records.

Notably, Rep. Mace’s States Reform Act is the first Republican-led marijuana legalization effort that Amazon has thrown its support behind. Amazon isn’t the only political powerhouse backing Mace’s effort, however. The freshmen representative also has support from the Koch family’s Americans for Prosperity group.

The Americans for Prosperity chief government affairs officer Brent Gardner said that the organization is willing to spend millions of dollars “to make this the most highly resourced effort in the history of [marijuana legalization].”

Speaking on her bills potential, Rep. Mace said, “It’s American, it’s uniting. There are three things that really bring people together – animals, Britney Spears, and cannabis.”

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