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Why is Amazon pushing for legalized marijuana in the U.S.?

The company is backing legislation to make marijuana legal on federal level.

HOUSTON — Amazon, the second largest private employer in the U.S., announced this week that it is backing a bill that would legalize marijuana at the federal level. Then it would be up to states if they wanted to prohibit or regulate the drug.

The Republican backed legislation would remove pot from the federal schedule one substance list, a list that includes heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

The bill also introduces a 3% federal tax on marijuana that would help fund law enforcement and veteran’s health programs.

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So why is the retail and tech giant throwing its support behind the bill?

According to the Washington Post, Amazon is hoping to expand its pool of potential workers.

Like many companies, Amazon is struggling to find and retain employees. 

While private companies are not required to drug test employees, federal contractors like Amazon are required for certain jobs like transportation.

Dropping the federally required screening for marijuana use would mean the 12% of U.S. adults who smoke weed would now be eligible.

But some critics say Amazon is interested in more than just widening its employee pool.

Senator Elizabeth Warren accused the company of trying to monopolize another market in legal marijuana.

Right now a mismatched patchwork of state laws makes it too hard for Amazon to participate in the growing cannabis industry. But an Amazon representative told the Washington Post that the company has no plans to sell cannabis and that is not why they are joining this debate.

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