On July 20, 2021, one of the world’s wealthiest men, Jeff Bezos, launched into space. One would think that getting to the stratosphere is more than enough to get high, but Bezos is seeking other ways to get high.
July 20, 2021, seems like an auspicious day because, on that same day, his company took a groundbreaking step to aid cannabis legislation. They officially started to lobby in favor of marijuana reform.
So why is America’s wealthiest man interested in marijuana?
Bezos lending his support to marijuana reform
A significant percentage of Americans want positive cannabis reforms, which entail decriminalizing the substance and legalizing it at the Federal level. This longing for reforms has led to the formulation and consideration of several cannabis bills that have been passed in the House but without any meaningful progress in the Senate.
The MORE ACT is one of such promising bills and, if it is passed, can effectively get rid of cannabis from the list of scheduled substances. The bill will also set marijuana aside from the Controlled Substances Act and remove the criminal penalties for individuals who produce, supply, and possess cannabis.
Amazon is America’s retail giant, and in 2020, this company pulled in about $21.3 billion in income after taxes while the sales of legal marijuana across America generated $17.5 billion. Cannabis enthusiasts and experts maintain that Bezos’ support for marijuana reforms could significantly influence the legislative process to hasten the passage of bills that favor the legalization of cannabis.
When it comes to the passage of bills and attaining quick results, political support and an intentional attempt to fund the state efforts are crucial. The Deputy administrator of the Marijuana Policy Project asserts that Bezos, through Amazon, can provide both contributions. He also believes that there will be a positive transformation of the marijuana reform movement in America through such efforts.
Please note that although Bezos is keen on contributing to the thriving cannabis community in America, Amazon offering support to the cannabis industry doesn’t necessarily mean that Amazon will commence selling and distributing cannabis products in America anytime soon. Amazon did stop testing for marijuana as the dwindling workforce in America caused Amazon to have to cut the weed test in order to find more employees.
A Fortune article published in June of last year states that Bezos’ personal position on marijuana is unclear, however he tends to lean Libertarian in most cases and is one business that would profit exponentially if national legalization were a thing and Amazon Prime vans could deliver cannabis right to your doorstep.
A significant win for cannabis reforms in America
Some experts have expressed skepticism over Amazon’s “Sudden” leap into the cannabis reform discourse. Still, it is worthy to note that this is a BIG win for the marijuana community regardless of their motive. Bezos’ actions are a commendable step that may inspire other leading entrepreneurs to do the same.
Amazon’s revenue is comparable to the GDP of Norway, which means the company has the financial resources to maintain this momentum until the reforms are passed into law.
Now that Jeff Bezos is pro-cannabis, he will see to it that Members of Congress are lobbied to enforce marijuana reforms as the company believes that this move is “Bigger than Amazon.” Other pro-marijuana nations are taking the marijuana legalization process seriously, and although it seems like America is still leading through state efforts, the Federal government still lags.
Bezos is particular about the MORE ACT, which, in addition to other factors, would alleviate the repression on state cannabis market as well as expunging millions of criminal archives for nonviolent offenders.
Will more entrepreneurs support marijuana reform?
Interestingly, this is the first time Amazon has shown any interest (financially or politically) in marijuana. In February, the company launched its novel program for sellers and suppliers of CBD-infused products in its UK branch. This move was made even though thousands of unregulated CBD products are placed on sale on their site.
Amazon started to also go deeper into the market on June 1 when it declared alterations to its drug-testing policy. The changes put a stop to the company disqualifying job applicants and employees who tested positive for cannabis.
The circulated memo announcing the changes also attributes some of the changes to the company’s ‘Earth’s Safest Place to Work” program. They hope that lending their support to this cause will enable many other companies to get involved.
Other leading entrepreneurs becoming pro-cannabis
In addition to Jeff Bezos’ input, other American billionaires are taking the same pathway. Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX has been seen publicly smoking marijuana with Joe Rogan. Musk also tweeted his support for marijuana; a tweet that got up to 680,000 likes.
In the Tweet, he stated that selling marijuana used to be a significant felony but with the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic started, it became an “Essential business,” yet many Americans are still in jail for cannabis-related offenses.
The CEO of Koch Industries, Charles Koch, is also set to give $25 million to fight cannabis prohibition. He has also supported other marijuana-related efforts through his advocacy group, “Americans for Prosperity.”
The advocacy group seeks to free people who have been incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes, and currently, the group has spent up to $70 million for its cause. In a recent article by Forbes, it was revealed that Bill Gates and Sean Carter (Jay-Z) also have similar goals and aspirations for the marijuana market.
The extent of these efforts by some of Americans’ wealthiest individuals will create a ripple effect in the future where it is anticipated that cannabis will become legal at the Federal level. More than ever before, the spotlight is on the American Senate to do the right thing with the numerous cannabis reform bills in play.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the cannabis industry has a much brighter future, and it is poised to generate even more money in the American market. Despite the current restrictions the market is doing numbers in the billion dollar range while still illegal at the Federal level. Imagine what those numbers will look like when it becomes federally legal.
American billionaires like Jeff Bezos desire to take their businesses and empires to the next level. They know that now is the time for them to align their enterprises with the cannabis industry because marijuana’s future looks very bright.