Jeff Bezos and Bud
A boldly worded article from January, 2014 tried to make the claim that marijuana legalization is “all Jeff Bezos’ fault.” It made the argument that “if it weren’t for Amazon, and the huge rise in internet shopping that Bezos’ firm has inspired, states would not be in such bad shape.” The basis of the article’s argument was that states had to legalize marijuana to make up for the loss of tax revenues.
This extrapolation aside, we want to know how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos feels about marijuana. A June, 2016 article on Forbes said that his personal opinion is “unclear,” but there’s a few hints that we’re able to infer.
As many know, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013. Immediately following the announcement of the deal, the Executive Director of the marijuana legislative reform organization, NORML, Allen St. Pierre, blogged about what the change in ownership could do to the cannabis industry. He starts by mentioning “the PROFOUND influence the Washington Post has had in maintaining cannabis prohibition-acting at times barely more than a government organ; a ‘rip-n-read’ anti-pot propaganda machine.” Allen St. Pierre goes on to conclude that:
“Amazon is the most innovative and largest retailer in the world. When cannabis prohibition ends, and technology securely and safely delivers adult commerce directly to the consumer, what other company (and their much smaller product providers) better stands to benefit from the billions of dollars annually from cannabis moving from being illegal to legal commerce? Who? Costco?? Starbucks? Hmmm…they’re also Washington State-based companies.”
St. Pierre was correct in assuming that the change in ownership would mean a positive change for the newspaper. Not long after the change in ownership, the Washington Post reviewed its own drug testing policies to align with that of Washington State.
Fast forward to 2017, and the Washington Post is publishing articles with titles like the following:
- Public support for marijuana legalization surged in 2016
- The Trump administration’s nonsensical stance on marijuana
- Just in in time for 4-20: A ‘Shopify’ for cannabis
Allen St. Pierre would certainly agree that the acquisition by Bezos has made a change. A January, 2017 article on the Rooster titled “What the top 10 richest men in the world think about weed” scored Bezos as “likely green,” based on the fact that he “tends to lean libertarian in most cases.” Given the leadership at the company, Amazon seems like a conglomerate that would be accepting of cannabis if the deal were right.