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Post Prohibition: Buying Weed on Amazon

On June 1, 2021, Amazon announced they would be removing marijuana from their list of drugs that employees are tested for. Moving forward, cannabis will be treated the same as alcohol in regards to employee use - not allowed at work, but okay after hours. This change was made alongside other new policies aimed at treating employees better all around. The fact that Amazon is allowing its employees to use cannabis when not at work is considered a big deal because the company currently employs 1.3 million people, so its attitude carries a lot of influence and could even lead other employers to change their drug policies as well.

What made Amazon change its mind about marijuana? The United States government, maybe.

THE M.O.R.E. ACT OF 2020

Amazon's attitude shift comes in light of the M.O.R.E. Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act) that was passed by Congress on December 4, 2020. The M.O.R.E. Act would take marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol off the Drug Schedule list, making marijuana legal on a federal level. This would allow states and local governments to set their own laws and regulations in regards to cannabis. The Act would also work retroactively, restoring rights and freeing millions of incarcerated Americans. For now, the Bill has only passed the House of Representatives and still must pass the Senate and be signed by the President before it's a law.

Much like the Federal Government, Amazon has a long way to go before it allows cannabis to be sold in any capacity. In fact, Amazon is even stricter than the United States government. Despite the Farm Bill of 2014 making CBD and other hemp-derived products federally legal, Amazon still prohibits the sale of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids. While you can easily buy hemp oil and hemp gummies, you still cannot buy CBD oil on Amazon. Amazon has a zero-tolerance policy for anything containing cannabidiol, cannabigerol, or any other cannabinoid, regardless of its federal legal status.

Marijuana Marketplaces

Most major online marketplaces - like Amazon and Ebay - prohibit the sale of any cannabis or hemp-based products because there are too many variables from state-to-state and country-to-country. Payment, delivery and storage of these types of items can pose a problem. Despite the SAFE Banking Act of 2018, payment processors almost all shun CBD sales, and they completely prohibit THC. When it comes to delivering cannabis products, USPS, UPS, and other carriers do allow shipment of CBD and other Farm Bill compliant hemp-derived products, but only when accompanied by COA's and other paperwork. As it stands now due to federal laws, THC products are strictly forbidden from being shipped by any mail carrier, even in green states where cannabis is completely legal.

Just because THC products aren't allowed by mail carriers doesn't mean you can't get them delivered - and not just by your local drug dealer. There's no shortage of weed delivery services and dispensary locaters out there. Right now you can easily download multiple apps on your phone that will let you order weed online if you're living in a green state, or order CBD online if you're in any other state. One of the most famous of these types of services is Weedmaps, which was started in 2008 to help locate medical marijuana dispensaries. Today, you can use it or any other similar site to find cannabis and CBD near you and even schedule delivery. The one thing you can't do on these platforms, though, is pay for your CBD or THC online.

S.A.F.E. Banking Act of 2018

Because of banking restrictions, cannabis marketplaces usually can't facilitate the full transaction of a sale; they can only schedule your appointment or make your reservation. This inability to provide the complete experience definitely leaves an opening for places like Amazon - if you could buy cannabis there, and even subscribe to CBD products that you like - but there are still some obstacles to overcome before you can even buy CBD on Amazon, much less THC.

The M.O.R.E. Act would make THC legal on a federal level, but each state would then be able to choose to allow or prohibit it within their state. After 7 years of CBD being legal on a federal level, only three states have chosen to ban its sale, so maybe THC would be similar. On the other hand, the recently discovered cannabinoid Delta-8 THC has already been banned in 11 states, so it may be more likely that delta-9 would be banned in an even higher number of states. Either way, the chance of you being able to buy weed on Amazon anytime soon is pretty slim.

Drones Delivering Dope

If the M.O.R.E. Act were to be signed into Law, it would be years before you could expect to have Amazon drones delivering your weed. More likely, Amazon weed delivery will look similar to its alcohol delivery, meaning it will go largely unnoticed and unused.

Alcohol has been available on Amazon since 2017 when it bought Whole Foods and acquired liquor licenses all over the United States. However, unlike its grocery delivery, its confusing policies and heavy restrictions have caused Amazon's alcohol delivery to go largely unnoticed, and even more unused by consumers. People go on Amazon to buy electronics, phone cases, and all sorts of random stuff, but they're not generally shopping for fine wine, whiskey, or weed.

Instead of a general online marketplace, consumers looking to buy cannabis and alcohol usually look to niche platforms, like Drizly and Leafly. In post-prohibition, post-COVID times, when people are looking to buy CBD and other cannabis products online more frequently, online weed delivery services and other cannabis retail platforms are more likely to corner the market, and Amazon will remain the king of selling everything else.

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