This story originally appeared on Benzinga
Jointly Better Inc. is a cannabis software startup with a unique perk for its employees: the company offers monthly reimbursement for legal cannabis purchases as part of its compensation package.
David Kooi, co-founder of the LA-based company says the cannabis benefit will help him hire about 25 employees by the end of the year, which it will need after the company announced a $5 million in seed funding from undisclosed, accredited investors last week.
Jointly, founded in 2018, currently has only 10 people on its payroll, but it intends to bump that number up to 35 by Dec. 31.
“We have to compete against Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google and Facebook for the same talent,” Kooi told MarketWatch. “We can’t compete on price because those companies have more money.”
A perk no other company would dream of offering
Pitching the weed imbursement perk as a first in any industry, Jointly will reimburse up to $150 per month for lawful cannabis purchases as part of the company’s effort to set a “new standard” for attracting top talent.
Jointly studied various medical, dental and vision benefits plans before it came up with the cannabis reimbursement idea.
“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 some companies encourage their employees to exercise with free gym memberships or eat well because it’ll make them more productive, “purposeful cannabis consumption” can be good for well-being, Kooi said, adding that happy and healthy people make better employees. Although he pointed out that Jointly prohibits employees from being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol on company premises.
Another good reason: 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 also received counsel on the cannabis benefit from law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP.
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.”