August 18, 2022
 min read

The cannabis industry is inequitable. So, what are we doing about it?

Accessibility and inclusion isn’t just necessary for industry growth, it’s also how we achieve equality.

Accessibility and inclusion isn’t just necessary for industry growth, it’s also how we achieve equality. In commercial cannabis and food production there are structural inequalities that are centuries old and fuelled by modern policies, and we see it reflected in statistics like less than 2% of cannabis operations being Black owned.

Accessibility is a major reason why Blakthumb was started and informs our approach to the business decisions we make and the design of our product.

For us, accessibility means open to anyone. It means diversity and inclusion. It means breaking down barriers and challenging structural disadvantage. We see the same people over and over again controlling the flow of money and deciding who gets to play the game, and those people are not reflective of the consumers we’re serving, nor the workforce.

That’s why Blakthumb is introducing an Equity Program to improve the accessibility of our product. We recognize that access to an operating system software has the capacity to deliver best practice and standardization in the industry, and to help operators in commercial cannabis growing to scale faster.

Our Equity Program provides the ability for majority-owned businesses from identified disadvantaged groups to apply for a discount on their software subscription.

Most cannabis cultivation software isn’t affordable. It’s been priced for the top end of town and designed for business owners. It’s focussed on reducing labor cost, and impacts the layer of the industry that typically works for minimum wage. Teams are often left with seed to sale software that is convoluted and makes their jobs harder, not easier.

While we acknowledge that labor is a top three cost for operators, this doesn’t mean people don’t carry their own value above and beyond the cost of their employment. People add quality control, innovation, company culture, and the ability to create a team which has the capacity to perform beyond the sum of its parts.

From a design perspective, accessibility is at the heart of Blakthumb and our OS. A lot of what drives our approach is that we have been in the shoes of the people on the floor. Moving plants, trimming, cutting clones, dealing with a flooded grow room and making sure the plants are fed and healthy.

These insights are what have driven our design approach. From simple features such as a toggle between English and Spanish at first release, to an option for voice dictation so that no-one has to deal with sticky fingers at harvest to input data; we get it because we’ve lived it first hand.

Accessibility and inclusion are critical for the healthy development and growth of a global cannabis industry. But it starts with each of us. Who we hire, what we pay, what systems we put in place to operate and who gets to play the game. We’re all better off if we create an industry that reflects the many, not just the few.

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