Is Amazon Recruiting Pot Smokers to Ease the Driver Shortage?

A driver's hand with a smoke on the wheel

In an interesting turn of events, Amazon has scrapped its marijuana screening protocols, according to Bloomberg. The e-commerce powerhouse claims the unconventional strategy will certainly bear fruits. The number of new applications will skyrocket by as much as 400%. Amazon, however, doesn’t say much about how it came up with this figure.

Relaxed Drug Rules

Some Amazon delivery partners are now only testing drivers for opiates and amphetamines. Others are yet to emulate this model. These companies voice concerns about paying higher insurance, especially in states where marijuana remains illegal.

One delivery partner anonymously told the press that Amazon would deny liability if one of the drivers caused an accident while high on cannabis.

Explaining the Change in Tactics

Amazon has long advocated for marijuana legalization. The company argues that marijuana testing disproportionately affects minority communities. The relaxed hiring rules are preparations in anticipation for the oncoming busy holidays. Employees found impaired during working hours will face disciplinary action.

In the past, drivers shunned working for Amazon owing to the low per-hour rates. An Amazon driver currently makes $17 per hour. The drivers are also forced to work unreasonable hours. On the contrary, other contract drivers earn around $20 per hour, and with friendlier terms. Amazon has opted to relax its recruiting rules over raising the percentage stake it pays its partners.

Other Recruitment Bonuses

Recruiting marijuana users is an incentive aimed at reversing the high labor attrition brought by the pandemic. Other incentives deployed by Amazon and other companies include offering lucrative hiring bonuses. Some companies are going the extra mile to pay their employees’ college tuition.

Legal and Insurance Complications

Hiring pot smokers raises a host of litigation issues for the giant retailer. Amazon, on its part, has refused to shoulder responsibility for accidents involving its drivers. The company argues that it is the delivery partners who should be held accountable for delivery accident injuries and damages.

Filing a Lawsuit

An Amazon delivery accident lawyer has the resources and skill set to help injured victims prove negligence on the part of the delivery driver. To do so, the lawyer may work with an accident reconstruction team to identify definitive clues as to who was in the wrong. The investigation process may involve obtaining surveillance videos from nearby traffic cameras or business premises. It may also involve interviewing eyewitnesses. The lawyer may also check the state of the Amazon delivery truck.