Cannabis software startup Jointly Better Inc. plans to attract employees by offering monthly reimbursements for legal cannabis purchases as part of its compensation package.
The Los Angeles company’s co-founder figures the cannabis benefit will help it hire about 25 employees by the end of the year, after it announced $5 million in seed funding from undisclosed, accredited investors last week.
Jointly, which was founded in 2018, currently has 10 people on its payroll, but it plans to bring that number up to 35 by Dec. 31.
“We have to compete against Amazon
for the same talent,” Jointly CEO and co-founder David Kooi told MarketWatch. “We can’t compete on price because those companies have more money.”
Billing the effort as a first in any industry, Jointly said it will reimburse up to $150 per month for lawful purchases of cannabis as part of the company’s effort to set a “new standard” for attracting top talent.
The company is seeking to counteract decades of thinking about cannabis as a prohibited drug that’s more harmful than good.
“I know from working at big corporations – even companies with policies against cannabis – that some of their best employees are using cannabis,” Kooi said. “It’s been unfairly stigmatized and grouped in with things that are much worse for you. In fact, it contributes to a better lifestyle – more so than alcohol.”
Eric Gutshall, co-founder and chief development officer at Jointly, said the company developed the benefit with its legal, tax and human sources advisers, according to a prepared statement. Jointly received counsel on the benefit from law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP.
Jointly’s core business is an app to help people choose the experience and strain of cannabis that they want based on a database of responses from past samplings. Each strain contains dozens of terpenes – aromatic compounds – as well as cannabinoids, all with various impacts.
The Jointly app lists 12 goals and is seeded with data from more than 200,000 cannabis experiences from people who tracked their results. Jointly will also offer to connect people to delivery services and stores and will potentially earn revenue from providing this service.
Jointly is more focused on the experience of cannabis and providing a guide, rather than helping people find a specific strain, which is more the specialty of a company such as Leafly Holdings Inc.
Jointly studied various medical, dental, and vision benefits as well as gym memberships before it hatched the idea of cannabis reimbursements.
“It’s part of life management and the stress management tool kit,” Kooi said. “I hope other people like the idea and want to imitate us.”
In the same way the wellness benefit would encourage someone to exercise or eat well because it’ll make them more productive, “purposeful cannabis consumption” can be good for well-being, he said.
Happy and healthy people make better employees, he said.
Jointly prohibits employees from being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol on company premises.
The company allows the use of prescription drugs and cannabis, “as long as they do not create safety issues or impair an employees’ ability to do their job.” The company also allows “moderate use of alcohol and cannabis at company-sponsored or sanctioned events,” according to Jointly’s employee handbook.