Budtender Spotlight: Moniker Gee

Written and photographed by Annie McVay 

  1. What inspired you to work in the cannabis industry?

I actually had a friend that said I should try it out. And I have partaken in cannabis for a long time, so I’ve definitely seen a lot of benefits for myself. To even have this as a job is kind of like pretty surreal. I enjoy working with stuff that aligns with my morals, like plant medicine, and something so natural. Hearing customers come back and be like, “I have chronic pain, and I use this lotion every night, and it’s made such a difference!” Just hearing that is really heart-warming and inspiring to see that what I’m doing can make a difference in people’s quality of life.

  1. Would you say that cannabis is a viable natural medicine?

Oh yeah, most definitely it’s one of the best, and it’s sad that we don’t get that recognition. It is so helpful, and everyday I’m reminded of how people use it for medicine. That’s probably my favorite part of the job. Getting people off pharmaceuticals and hearing cannabis got them off so many pills and stuff. I’m just like, yes! This is so much better for you! 

  1. How different do you feel being a budtender is compared to other customer service positions?

I think that it’s a bit more personal of an interaction. You’re not just going into the store and buying groceries to cook food. You are coming in with a purpose, whether that’s to have fun, or to help you sleep, to help pain, anxiety, or just relax at the end of a long day.

  1. What are some benefits you’ve noticed from recreational cannabis being available?

Unlike Oregon, many states have police who are still trying to regulate something so minute. Like, cannabis is a plant that people are doing recreationally. I think that overall it’s better that Oregon can focus on more devastating substances to crack down on. That’s definitely one of the things I would say is a benefit to having legalized cannabis, and also the fact that people have the opportunity to treat any ailments. They feel that cannabis is helping them. And doing it in a safe way that’s not illegal and kind of in their control. It’s not like a shady deal on the street. They can come into a store and feel welcomed and heard and that there’s a variety of options for them to try. 

  1. What is one of your favorite strains?

I’m definitely into more heavy, sedative strains. I would say Granddaddy Purple or Purple Punch are two of my favorites.

  1. Do you have a favorite farm or brand?

I really like Oregrown. Some of their flowers have been some of the most beautiful nugs I’ve ever seen, and I totally enjoy their concentrates.

  1. How do you prefer to consume cannabis?

It really depends on what I’m looking for. If I’m having a bad back day and a lot of pain, I tend to go for tinctures or edibles. I like a lot of the one-to-ones or two-to-ones with CBD and THC being combined. I find a lot of relief from that. But if it’s just for fun and relaxing, I would say probably smoking flower or dabbing. I definitely prefer indica, sometimes sativas can heighten my senses, but indicas tend to relax my pain the best.

  1. What activities do you enjoy while partaking in cannabis?

I love to be outside in nature. Hiking, that’s probably my favorite thing to do while smoking. Mount Pisgah has got a lot of nice trails, locally. I tend to go to a lot of different trails each time. Spencer Butte is another good one. There’s a lot of waterfall hikes, like Upper Trestle Creek Falls, too.

  1. What advice do you have for customers celebrating 420 for the first time?

I would say if you’re a light user to go slow and don’t go too hard too fast. If you’re partaking in edibles, you can always eat more, but you can’t eat less, so that’s a good piece of advice I like to share. And remember your body takes quite some time to digest THC. I hate hearing about people that don’t know they’re not supposed to eat the whole thing, and they have a really hard time even days after. I don’t want people to have that experience, so I think if you are a beginner user, start small and have the day off.

  1. What is a favorite munchie of yours?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch with non-dairy milk at night is my go-to high snack. Or I’ll do a weird combo of peanut butter jelly and coconut oil, just in a bowl. Like PB&J without the bread. It’s reminiscent of my childhood.

  1. What are your thoughts on waste and sustainability in the cannabis industry?

I’ve seen a lot of waste. That’s the hardest thing I’ve been shown about this industry. I would like people and the OLCC to change their policies and habits. Some things you can do that would help would be bringing back your child proof bags to reduce the amount of plastic. Same with reusable flower containers. Some shops will take those and reuse them, or P3 is a recycling company that actually turns their plastic into prosthetics if I’m not mistaken. It’s a really nice way for these containers to not end up in landfills. I think it’s going to have to start with the public realizing how much plastic is going out. Because alcohol and cigarettes do not have to be child proof they don’t have as much waste. Those are just as damaging, if not more, to a little kid, in my opinion. I really think that could help the industry and our world a lot if we try to put more of that focus out there. This earth is providing this amazing plant medicine, and we need to take care of her, so we can keep having this available to us. In the future, we can start using hemp instead of plastic. It’s biodegradable, it’s affordable since we’re already producing it. We’re trying to cut costs, but we’re going to be paying for that in the long run.

  1. Are there efficient ways to recycle cannabis packaging materials currently? 

I think some people put their containers in the recycling at home, and they cannot be recycled that way, so that’s something to be aware of. Find a dispensary that’ll take them back. You can always give them a call, and hopefully, they can reuse them or find a second life for them. From what I’m learning, I think we need to use our voices when it comes to big corporations because they’re in charge of putting all this waste out there. A lot of pressure is put on the consumer and the individual, but realistically speaking, these companies are putting out a lot more chemical pollution and waste into this world, just for money. We need to tell them we need a change. 

  1. What’s something you wish more customers knew? 

    I think that it would be beneficial for consumers to know more about cannabis, and I hope that people will start asking budtenders things. There’s a lot more than just numbers, but we live in a very number-fixated world. People educating themselves can be beneficial for the future, try new things and find what works best for them. There’s a lot of good stuff out there. There’s a synergistic effect with the other cannabinoids besides just THC. The benefits that these cannabinoids can have for us are super important. Everyone’s body is so different, so what works for you might not work for me and vice versa. It’s about listening to learning from our bodies.

Do you have anyone to recommend for our Budtender Spotlight? Tell us about them @greeneugenemag!

Too High: Edible nightmares, fever dreams and more

Collected and written by Kimberly Harris 

Kaylynn W. 

I ate a whole homemade marshmallow cereal ball edible and within an hour I was having an existential crisis, like having a sense of identity was super uncomfortable. I was looking at photos of myself and it was too much, I had to put down all my frames. I looked into my mirror and asked myself “who is this?”  and I laid fully clothed on my bed and started looking up at my ceiling. That’s when I started to see the world around me become glitchy, so I turned my gaze to the next wall, and I started to see three elves. They were about 3 ft tall with pointy hats, and they were whispering to each other because they saw me noticing them. I’ve never done DMT, but my experience was like a whole DMT experience. When I told people this story, they said that’s exactly what people see on DMT, like elves and stuff.

Madison R. 

It was my freshman year of college, and I  lived in the dorms with my best friend who was a really big stoner. My roommate said she was getting edibles from a friend and asked if I wanted one. I was down, and she brought home two small M&M cookies. Before she could even say anything, I scarfed mine down. I popped the whole cookie in my mouth because I thought that’s what we were supposed to do. My roommate looked at me with wide eyes, I’ll never forget the look on her face, and in shock while she explained that I was only supposed to eat a quarter of the edible. She apologized and advised me to stay in the dorm until it kicked in before she headed out to class. I decided to nap it off but when I woke up it hit me. I was totally hallucinating, seeing colors and shapes. I was super high all night. I also had horrible vivid nightmares and hallucinations. Ever since that moment I’ve never tried edibles again. 

Kaeden W. 

I had just started smoking and someone I knew made edibles, so I took one from them. I had never done an edible before, so I took the whole thing. I blacked out, and I haven’t blacked out from weed since then. I vaguely remember making butter noodles and not being able to communicate with my friend who also took an edible. I then shuffled two blocks home and it felt like it took two hours. There was so much THC in that edible that I was high for 24 hours, like violently high. I learned to never take the whole edible and always test the waters first.

Anonymous

A couple summers ago I was helping my then girlfriend move from SoCal up to Oregon. We stayed a night in Redding with her aunt, and her aunt wasn’t 420-friendly, but we still wanted to get high that evening. Edibles were the answer, or so we thought. Since we were both pretty unfamiliar with edible dosages, we decided it would be a good idea to split a super potent 350 mg cookie between the two of us. It wasn’t a good idea. Instead of having a fun, stoney night in a little forest cabin we spent the evening staring at the ceiling, uncomfortably melting into the mattress and trying not to yack. We couldn’t fall asleep for the longest time, but we had plans to leave earlier the next morning to Portland. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. We ended up sleeping until noon the next day and woke up to her mom calling us asking why we haven’t left for Oregon yet. Eventually we made it out of the cabin and up to our destination, but neither of us have taken an edible like that since. 

Skyla P 

One edible I took during a camping trip KO’d me and a few friends so good we couldn’t get up to make s’mores for hours (or what felt like hours) because we all knew we’d fall over or float away if we stood up and ended up just staring into the fire forever. We woke up the next morning and realized that the s’mores supplies were right behind us the whole time—maybe an arm’s reach away? I think it was from HUSH but all I really remember was how cool the stars looked between the trees. Nature rocks.

Jyles L.          

I was at 7/11 buying something and I was staring at the cashier for hella long but the machine was asking me for my pin and I legit zoned out. 

Anonymous 

I was so excited to celebrate 4/20 one year that I bought a whole bunch of edibles for me and my friend. She didn’t smoke or really do anything cannabis related, but when I invited her over to take an edible and chill on the stoner holiday, she was down. We were cheerfully catching up and enjoying ourselves as we waited for the edibles to kick in. I was totally chilling by the time the high set in, but my friend was not. She was laying on her back, holding her stomach and said that she felt sick and nauseous. I tried to help her out, but she ended up puking and next to my toilet for the rest of the night. I felt horrible for giving my friend something like that, and also for ruining a cannabis experience for her. Now, I don’t offer my edibles and cannabis goodies unless I know the person is a stoner lol. 

Madison I. 

It was my first experience with weed ever, and I took a homemade Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispie edible. My partner and I went to the beach and rented a room and had planned this whole weekend. When eating it I definitely didn’t care for the taste and only had a couple bites. At first, I was denying that I was high because I couldn’t tell at first. Then I started hallucinating and saw my partner floating into outer space. I swore there were bugs crawling all over him. These hallucinations continued for a few hours and then I ate a bunch of Chinese food and slept for like 12 hours. I definitely woke up the next day still high and we went to breakfast and toured around the town. It was quite difficult being a newbie. 

Anonymous

The first time I ever got high was when I first toured UO. It was the spring of my senior year and I was pretty set on attending but wanted to see the campus first. I drove to Eugene with my best friend, and stayed with her older sister who was a senior at the time. She gave us a tour of the school and asked if we wanted to get high that evening, and we obviously said yes. I remember driving to Safeway beforehand and stocking up on munchies, then going back to her house and going up to the roof to smoke. Her bong was made out of an old Grey Goose bottle and it was (to me at the time) MASSIVE.  We obviously had no idea how to use it, so she was lighting it for us, so she was lighting it for us and doing all the legwork. We sat up on the roof for maybe an hour and I felt absolutely nothing. My best friend was high, everyone else was high except for me and I thought something was wrong with me. My friend’s sister said ‘sometimes people just don’t get high the first time they smoke.’ I’ve literally never heard anyone say this except for her lol. We stood up to go downstairs and it hit me all at once like a train. My legs felt rubbery and I remember standing at the top of the stairs and wondering how I would get down hahaha. The rest of the night was pretty laid back: we sank into the couch and watched Brain Games, the most mind-bending show we could think of. I think we both sat there with our eyes glued to the TV for like three hours while my friend’s sister and her roommates came and went and did their own thing. I had such a nice time, I decided that night to commit to UO and the rest was history!

Budtender Spotlight: Corey Yula at New Millennium

written and photographed by Kaylynn Wohl

How long have you been in the cannabis industry?

I’ve been working at New Millenium for the last two years. Before that, about three or so months working for a farm that my friends had just started. So it was early plant development and setting up the framework for how they were hoping to have things run.

Do you think those three months at the farm prepared you for working at a dispensary?

Definitely. It kind of gave me the knowledge to know what it looks like on the farm end of things. Any facet of the cannabis industry is important to know when it comes to being a budtender just because you never know what kind of questions you’ll get from people.

What kind of questions do people ask you? Anything strange?

I get weird questions all the time. It seems to be from older folks who are used to the old way of how it used to be where they would get what they got and use old terms to describe. So when I ask if they’re into sativa or indica more, or if they have any experience with CBD, they kind of look at me like I’m asking if they believe in aliens or I’m speaking in another language.

Why did you choose to join the industry for work?

I felt a passion for cannabis. I noticed the benefits that it could provide, and it just made sense with my customer service background. I just felt like it would be really cool to be able to direct people towards the thing that will work best for them, whether it’s flower, edibles, or topical. Making sure they leave with a product that’s going to work for them but also a positive experience makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing. I’m also raising awareness for cannabis in general. There’s still that stigma in a lot of places that treats it like this terrible thing. In 2021, I just think it’s time to get the bad stigma out and focus on helping people. So many people of so many walks of life could benefit from cannabis.

Do you feel like a weed expert due to how long you’ve been there?

In a way. The industry is constantly changing and especially now with more states legalizing and they’re able to do more research. My expertise is only applicable so long before more research comes out; it’s constantly evolving. It’s exciting to be able to learn about all of these new things. My job is to guide these people towards a product that’s going to work for them, so in a way I’m learning all this new stuff too. It never gets old. But yeah, I’m a weed expert.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

It’s been a lot of back and forth. Early on there was a lot of frustration with people not being able to smell the flower they wanted to get. A lot of people depend on their senses, and taking that away was difficult. As it’s gone on, people have become more understanding. It’s taken away a large portion of the experience though and they rely on us to be their guide more than before. They’re trusting us completely. Other than that, dealing with minor logistical things: deliveries for pop tops and our red warning stickers that go onto everything have a bigger delay, so that’s something we’ve had to keep in account for when ordering. A couple different times, we stopped allowing people coming into the store completely. At that point, we have to go off of their questions and look at everything we have and try to find what will fit their requests most specifically. There’s a lot more responsibility on the budtenders part.

How has your relationship with cannabis changed since becoming recreationally legal in Oregon?

To be honest I didn’t have too many experiences with cannabis before that. The ones I had were kind of negative. The psychoactivity was nerve wracking for me. I started trying new things, whether it was edibles or just flower. Cannabis taught me a lot about myself. I was able to recognize my anxiety by name, and I’m grateful for that. Since it became legalized, I’ve had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise and saw what it’s all about to form my own conclusions. A general respect has occurred over time.

When did you first try cannabis? Can you describe the situation?

The first time was around 2013. I drove up to Seattle with a close friend of mine, and it had just become legal there. A guy at the dispensary recommended us a joint. It was called Orange Dream. I’ll never forget the strain, and I’ve never seen it since. We had a plan to go smoke it at a park and see a movie. We didn’t get that far because I crashed my car into a friend of a friend’s car and ruined the day. I was totally sober. Probably anticipating the experience freaked me out. Later that night, my friend and I decided to smoke the joint. I sat down on my cousin’s couch and just stared at the wall. I swear I left the room. I’ve never had an experience like that since. I genuinely feel like I wasn’t even there. Honestly it was a terrible, terrible time. It held me back a long time from trying it again, but I did, and I had another bad experience. Then I tried it again later on, and it got progressively better as I started to understand the feeling. Avoid Orange Dream.

Do you have a favorite strain and why is it your favorite?

Not really. I think I’ve allowed myself to be open to really everything. So I go into each joint, each edible and be ready to see where it will take me. I like finding a joint with a really good flavor. Sometimes I’ll get a high that will get me really giggly and puts me in a great mood. It’s just so diverse, and it’s one of my favorite things about it to be like ‘okay what did I get today and what’s it going to do to me?’ Maybe it’s Orange Dream after all.

What’s your favorite method of consumption?

I’d definitely say joints. I think I have an oral fixation; I pick my hands sometimes, and I used to smoke cigarettes. I think joints naturally filled a certain predisposition with having my hands needing to be doing something. Plus it’s really nice to watch it burn.

What’s your favorite thing to do when stimulated by cannabis?

I use it most nowadays in my personal time, because I never know how it will play on my anxiety. I like to do creative writing or playing video games. If I have a good, visually interesting movie, I’ll light up before.

What do you do when you aren’t at New Millenium?

I hang out with my cats, I smoke weed, I play video games. I’ve been obsessed with New Girl lately. I feel like I’ve wasted all these years not watching it. Writing here and there. Otherwise, just staying inside and chilling out. I’m honestly worried for whenever the pandemic ends, and I’ll be expected to do stuff outside of my house. I might fake my own death…

What’s so special about New Millenium?

New Millenium genuinely tries to provide high quality products for affordable pricing. And I mean that. Before working there, I would go to different dispensaries to find prerolls. I was surprised how many don’t offer houserolled prerolls, and I was surprised how pricey they could be. We consistently have $2 prerolls. Half of the strains we have in flower we try to have in prerolls so people can try it before buying an ounce of it. In 2021, cheap weed should be the way of the world to give people their medicine—we’re not Big Pharma!

Is there anything you’d want the public to know about utilizing dispensaries during the pandemic?
Be understanding with your budtenders. Know that we are all experiencing the same thing you are. A lot of us are overworked, have lost family members or been forced to sacrifice as well. We are trying our absolute best to do what we’ve always done: to provide you a great experience, good quality cannabis and something that will help you out. We’re doing our best. We’re all people.

Budtender Spotlight: Desirae Taylor from the Greener Side

Written and photographed by Jassy McKinley

What made you want to get into the cannabis industry?

Well originally my mom had a medical marijuana card, and she actually started getting her card in 2001. So I was about eleven or twelve years old then, and my parents weren’t shy about it being an open thing. Honestly, it helped my mom turn around 150 percent. She was a recovering alcoholic, and she still is eighteen years sober to this day. I think it’s partly because of marijuana. When I saw that it essentially saved her life in that aspect, it really got me to understand there is more to helping people than just pills and what the doctors prescribe on a daily basis. Twenty pills a day weren’t doing what one to two bowls of marijuana would do for her in that aspect of healing. So once I started getting into it right out of high school, I got my own medical marijuana card and started doing my own research. Eventually after getting into dispensaries as a medical patient, I got to know a lot of the owners. I got hooked up with one of the owners here in town at the Flower of Life originally and she hired me as a budtender. That was before it was recreationally legal. So I started as a medical budtender then became a recreational budtender and that was about 6 years ago.

Would you say your mom shaped the way you got into the industry?

Absolutely. I’ve seen what she’d been through, I’ve seen it all too commonly. Looking at it from a medical standpoint, it’s definitely fueled my way of looking into more natural resources as far as treating people in the medical industry and stepping away from pharmaceuticals. I personally don’t take any pharmaceuticals. I treat it all with marijuana. You read about these diseases, and then you look at what marijuana has done for those people. When you see these stories and hear them over and over again and you’ve seen it for yourself, you can’t deny those results. They may not come from a scientist or a doctor necessarily, but when you have a person stand in front of you who had a death sentence three years ago you have to wonder, how?

What is your favorite strain of all time?

My favorite strain of all time would be white widow, if i had to pick just one. There’s something about the taste, the smell, the high. It all around compliments me and who I am, and the type of high I enjoy at the end of the day.

When did you first try Cannabis? Could you walk me through your experience?

Despite my parents growing in my house I didn’t actually try it until I was eighteen. I wanted to wait, a lot of the kids were peer-pressuring so I was around it and I was aware of it but it happened to be with a group of friends. It was an interesting experience because it was like ten of us in this group, so I don’t think I really got stoned at that point because everyone was passing it around so maybe I got like one hit off of the bowl. A week later I smoked a joint with a friend and it was just between the two of us, and that’s when I really got stoned for the first time. I lived in a small town so we smoked at the boat dock and right after we had finished a cop rolled up and I was so stoned. My friend had smoked before so they were fine but I was just staring at the cop and he was asking me if I was okay. My friends were like “she’s fine! she’s fine! she’s tired!” I was just thinking how much trouble I could have been in.

How long have you been a budtender?

In the broader span of being a budtender, I did take a little bit of a break in the six years for about four to five years I took maternity leave. But for the greener side I’ve been here for about 2 years.

What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding and favorite part of my job is the people. Being able to interact with them and have that relationship that I have with them is my favorite part. When you spend 40 hours a week away from your family this becomes your 2nd family.

Have you experienced any challenges/successes lately? 

The challenges haven’t been as big lately I feel the industry has really taken a jump forward, especially since COVID has happened. That might seem a little weird to some people but budtending has sped up for sure.

What would you want people to know about being a budtender?

 Some people think it’s kind of an easier job since you just sell weed but I think that’s what kind of sets our dispensary apart, because here we want to be knowledgeable and we want to know about the products. Don’t be shy, be picky about what you want because that’s what your budtender is there to do for you.

What is something you take pride in your dispensary?

 We take pride in definitely what we order and what goes on the shelf. We care about what everyone is getting, we double check everything we put out, and we don’t want to put stems in there. We want to make sure if we wouldn’t buy it then we wouldn’t sell it to the public. That’s another thing I love about it here.

What do you hope to see in the future for the cannabis industry?

 Legality across the board is number one and I think a lot of people can agree with that, and I’m talking federally legal. It’s definitely keeping the pharmaceuticals on the board, and from having marijuana being discovered for taking care of tumors and cancer elements.

Do you have a favorite quarantine munchie?

 Ben and Jerry’s jamoca ice cream had me there for a couple of months. I think that’s what contributed to my ten pounds from quarantine.

Is there anything you would like the community to know?

It’s a really fun industry. Anyone thinking to get into it and you’ve been second guessing yourself: don’t. Just go for it, I kind of did and I am not regretting it. Now ten years after  thinking back to all the college applications I was doing, what career I was getting pushed into. I realized I was settling for something  I wasn’t really passionate about and when you’re passionate about something you love that makes every day your job. If you want to get into the industry now is the time to definitely get in and start doing it before the rest of the United States takes off. Opportunities are waiting especially for the rest of them around the corner and I know there’s a ton of states on the ballot for medical and recreational marijuana this year here in a couple of weeks. So definitely get out there and vote! Your voice definitely matters at this point in time if you want to see marijuana become the way of the future, it’s just a matter of time. We could use all the voices.

Humans of Cannabis

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

The cannabis industry is a place where many people from all different walks of life come together, for the cannabis plant. We’d like to take this opportunity to give the people behind the scenes of the cannabis industry a voice so that they can tell us their stories. 

Sue Carlson – Sue is the founder of The Botanical Joint, a hemp farm located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Sue prides herself on being one of the only Latina craft hemp farmers in Oregon!

Instagram: @thebotanicaljoints

For the longest time, I was always fascinated with cannabis and my dream was to always work with cannabis. My friend from college was one of the first people to introduce me to working with the cannabis plant. She also helped me make connections in the industry in Oregon. Working on the medical side of the cannabis industry also allowed me to pay for four years of schooling in full. I began work with a cannabis chocolate company as a chocolatier and then moved onto another position making another line for a company. After working with edibles for a while, I moved into farming at Oregon Girl Gardens. It wasn’t more than two months into the job when the greenhouse caught on fire, and my whole life suddenly felt like it was in shambles. Here I was apprenticing under arguably one of the best female cannabis growers in Oregon and then in a quick moment, it was gone. 

After this, I decided to start consulting again and was feeding my garden—emotionally and physically—and giving it the nutrients I needed at the time. During this time, I also noticed the lack of quality hemp products on the market and as a medical patient, it was important to me that other patients had worthwhile medicine. This helped me develop the business that I have today cultivating premium hemp CBD products. 

My favorite strain that is currently in cultivation includes Orange Glaze, which to me is the closest resemblance to cannabis in effect. It has a very citrus and diesel aroma and taste, something you don’t see on the hemp CBD market often, if at all.

One thing that I aim to do in my business is to bring attention to minorities in the cannabis industry. I myself am Latina and Native American, so this is a very important component to me. Knowing and seeing people I love like my brother, uncles and aunt go to prison for a plant was devastating. As someone with a public health degree, I make it a priority to support out the efforts of minorities in the cannabis industry, specifically minority females.

Budtender Spotlight: Micheal Blye of Chalice

written by Kimberly Harris

1)    Where do you work and how long have you worked there? 

I work at Chalice, a dispensary in Tigard, Oregon. I’ve worked there since February 2019, so for about 16 months. I’m a senior employee, which means I’ve worked there the longest. 

2) Do you have any past budtending experience? 

Working at Chalice is my first job as a budtender. I got my OLCC license in the Portland area, but a lot of places want a full year of experience. It was hard for me to break into the industry at first, because how was I supposed to get a year of experience without being hired first? Chalice is pretty good about onboarding people without prior experience. 

3) Why did you want to work as a budtender? 

I have work experience in retail and customer service, but I wasn’t passionate about working at a clothing or food place. I transferred to budtending to follow my passion for cannabis. Working in customer service gave me the experience I need to work with people and sell products as a budtender. 

4) Why are you passionate about cannabis? 

I’ve been using cannabis for most of my life. I enjoy the relaxation benefits as well as how it makes me appreciate things in life more. If I’m stuck in a mental rut, cannabis helps me gain a renewed perspective of life and the things I go through in my life. Cannabis also enhances the things I’m already interested in like listening to music and watching films. 

5) What are your main responsibilities as a budtender? 

I’m there to help people make more informed decisions about the products they want to use. Especially for people who don’t have that much experience or tolerance. It can be overwhelming for a first-time customer to get into cannabis if they don’t have someone to guide them. 

6) How do you guide customers? 

Asking questions like, “what are you hoping to get out of your cannabis use?” or “what issues do you want cannabis to help with?” is how I guide customers. I try to help them hit their “goldilocks zone” which is the just-right feeling of enjoyment and relief. Whether it’s for medical or rec purposes, I give help guide them to the high that they want to experience. 

7) Do you use your personal experience to help guide customers, or has Chalice trained you to help guide them? 

 I’ve been a certain type of cannabis user throughout my life. As someone who’s been using it for 15 years, for anxiety and psychological relief, or just to feel the pleasure of a high, I have a lot of experience to help gude customers. I can relate to the different reasons that customers want to use cannabis. 

8) What’s something you like about working as a budtender?

It’s nice to meet a bunch of new people and get to know what they are all about. I meet a variety of people with a variety of experiences with cannabis. I like to know their knowledge or their tolerance to figure out how to best guide them to a product that they will enjoy. It’s like trying to find the right pieces to fit together in a puzzle – it’s fun. 

9) Has cannabis affected your social life or interest in hobbies?

Cannabis creates an instant bond for people. I meet new people everyday and sometimes make friends who like to smoke too. It’s nice to share a passion and hobby with other people. It has introduced me to new things that I never knew I was into, like new types of music, artists and a new appreciation for smoking together to watch movies and chill. I’ve been introduced to card games like Magic: The Gathering. The fantasy aspects to it can be enhanced through cannabis. I’ve also been recommended to Dungeons and Dragons because of the entertainment. Nothing can get you more into the fantasy realm of a game like some nice cannabis. 

10) Since working in the COVID-19 pandemic, has your position as a budtender been affected? 

With everyone stuck at home, cannabis users are doubling down on their interests by stocking up on products and probably smoking all day since there’s so much extra time on everybody’s hands. People who are recently laid off, and may not have smoked in years are coming in to use cannabis again. It’s been a unique challenge to reintroduce cannabis into people’s lives, especially since cannabis has become more potent, probably, since the last time they smoked. There’s been a huge increase of customer flow as well as an increase of first-time customers. 

11) Is it harder to work as an essential worker? 

It’s really stressful for everyone involved. My staff and I are working harder than ever before, there are a lot of call outs because people are concerned for their health and everyone is exhausted. It’s a challenging and tough time to work. For me, I have Type 1 Diabetes which puts me at more of risk, so I have anxiety at work about potentially being exposed. On the bright side though, I’m able to connect with people and socially interact with them during a time that everyone is mostly isolated from socializing. 

12) How do you lower your risk of being exposed? 

At Chalice, we are required to wear face masks, wear and switch out gloves as much as possible and follow social distancing orders. I’ll also squirt hand sanitizers on my gloves if I need to. The store was crazy busy at first because people were panic buying cannabis, then 420 happened. Now, it’s starting to slow down to a normal pace, which helps with my anxiety to exposure. 

13) What are some more guidelines Chalice has put in place to prevent exposure? 

We are encouraging people to do curb-side pick up and placing orders ahead to minimize the time people spend in the building. 

14) Is there something you want to say to customers right now? 

I think the biggest thing is for customers to put a mask on. It’s a little step to take to wear a mask when coming in, follow social distancing guidelines and maybe even wear gloves. I hope that people understand it’s a crazy time, so just be nice and pleasant to one another. We are incredibly busy so please be understanding about sold out items and have patients. 

15) How do you feel about working around the new guidelines? 

I’m happy that they are in place because I’m worried about my own health and risk of exposure, it makes me feel a lot better while at work. 

16) What is your favorite strain? 

Monkey Tape from TJ’s Garden is one of my favorites. It’s a cross of gorilla glue, a sativa hybrid and checks all the boxes I’m looking to fill when I smoke. The nugs have a nice texture since they’re not too dense, it reminds me of pre-legalization cannabis – sticky, stinky and a nice stoned feeling that isn’t too intense. 

17) What’s your favorite type of cannabis product? 

I’m a traditional flower guy. I like any cannabis product around, but during the COVID crisis I like to use edibles to help protect my lungs. I like equal parts of THC and CBD to help minimize anxiety. Charlotte’s Web is an oil product that tastes like candy to me, with 6% THC and 55% CBD. 

18) What is your favorite way to enjoy flower?

I like all types of water pipes to smoke with. Even though I’ve been smoking for 15 years, I still don’t know how to roll a good joint. I’m a 100% bong guy.