As industry standards evolve, more and more businesses are not only striving, but expected, to be accessible to users everywhere. With a proactive approach, your cannabis company can not only be exemplified from aggregations of complaints, but can grow and demonstrate its commitment to serving the public in its entirety.
Since 2010, the waters of ADA compliance have been muddy, and lack of specificity has enabled most businesses to ignore compliance standards – until now. Lawsuits over websites not being ADA compliant are being filed by the stackful.
What is the ADA?
The ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, is a law that eliminates discrimination against people with disabilities in all public spaces, including but not limited to:
- Public transports
- Any other public and privately owned and operated place
The ADA became law in 1990, went into effect in 1992, and notes the need for “a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.”
The act requires all spaces open to the public to be constructed, designed, and modified to meet ADA accessibility compliance. These standards extend to business websites in addition to brick and mortar locations. So, to keep your marijuana website safe and your business thriving, you must be ADA compliant.
Required Compliance and Accessibility Standards for Marijuana Websites
Marijuana customers with disabilities are likely visiting your site to find ways to relieve or treat their chronic pain and other issues such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety, or cancer pain. To help them, build your website to help those with disabilities overcome common navigation problems.
A good place to start is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Under these directives, content is required to be coded for these accessibility features:
Use alternative text (ALT) or “title” attributes to ensure a written description of an image is accessible to audio translation via screen reader software and visible when a cursor hovers over the image itself.
- Include text alternatives for all other non-text content, such as videos and gifs.
- Include captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Ensure content can be presented and viewed in different ways using assistive software and tech.
- Make content easier to hear and see for all users.
- Ensure all functionality is available from the user’s keyboard.
- Avoid using content that can cause seizures (flashing, flickering, blinking, etc.).
- Give site visitors enough time to read and use content (slideshows, text-in-video, calls to action).
- Make your site easily navigable so users can quickly find what they’re looking for – employ headers, buttons, menus, and even a chat box.
3 Musts for Marijuana Websites
For marijuana sites especially, the following are absolute must-haves to avoid violations, complaints, and lawsuits from frustrated customers:
- Age Gate
All marijuana websites must have an age gate, which ensures that minors won’t be able to buy cannabis from your business as per the Cole Memorandum. Of course, an age gate only works when a user provides their accurate information, and any user can fabricate this. Still, having an age gate shows effort on the part of the website to meet compliance standards.
Help visitors find the right cannabis product or service for their needs by allowing them to select symptoms they’re trying to relieve. Based on their answers, the appropriate marijuana strains and products can be recommended for optimal relief.
- Menu and Products
When a product menu is available, your customers can easily browse offerings. This indicates interest on the customer’s part and gently pushes them to make a purchase.
Make Your Marijuana Website ADA Compliant Today
Take a proactive approach and invest in making your website ADA compliant. Prevent the worst-case scenario lawsuits from being detrimental to your business by never getting on the radar of opportunistic lawsuit seekers.
Show the cannabis industry that you’re dedicated to making your business offering accessible to everyone with our website accessibility tool. We’ve partnered with an automatic, simple, and affordable solution – an AI system that can achieve ADA compliance within 48 hours.