I tell you that 2017 could not have ended on a better note: a) 90% of my fiance’ Visa issues have been resolved with the entry of my fiance’ to the U.S. safe and sound, b) a temporary gig turned into an opportunity to consult on a freelance basis at the top of the year so I can count on a few months of steady income. Yay!! And c) my enthusiasm for cannabis therapies have not diminished one iota. In fact I have met long time “stoners” [people who have been consumers of cannabis for 30 plus years] who are not only entreprenurial and have amassed some wealth, but they are fantastic teachers and mentors in this industry. I learned that cannabis is medicine whether one uses it to fight disease, help with insomnia, anxiety, or just mellows out with it like having a glass of wine at the end of the day. And that different strains responds differently in everyone. The most noteworthy information that I’ve learned is that one cannot overdose on cannabis but they can over-consume.
One of my favorite things to do is to visit local dispensaries to see how customer service friendly they are – I think of myself as a cannabis ‘mystery shopper’. I talk to budtenders [dispensary sales people] as if I am completely ignorant about cannabis in general. I look for their ernest intention to give me information about which product will best help my needs. If they are un knowledgeable or unenthusiastic, I don’t waste time looking at their products, I only quickly browse and leave. When a budtender engages with me in conversation and leaps to show me the products they have to offer, I stay and talk with them as long as I’d like.
The budtenders job is to sell product – yes. First they must know what they are talking about otherwise they are not serving the patient and could even do harm. They must have a knowledge of cannabis, cannabinoids, terpenes, strains, methods of consumption and product price ranges based on the budget within which I am working. Although they never do, I expect budtenders to suggest reading materials to me to further my education. The budtender to a cannabis patient is just like a bar tender to a wine or beer enthusiast. Bar tenders must know cocktails, wine, beer, top shelf alcohol, and how to mix drinks. Budtenders must know the difference between THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBN, cannabis flower potency, availability, products, reported results from other users. They must not solely focus on selling or up-selling products to me, they must be patient focused and listen intently in order to help.
When you “join” a dispensary or collective there is no cost. The only formality – based on current California medical marijuana laws to satisfy a federal requirement – is embodied in a clipboard with several pages of regulations and rules to initial so that you understand what you are purchasing. Each time you visit a dispensary you must fill out all of their forms. Since collectives must maintain a non-profit status they survive based on membership numbers and, of course, sales. The forms are proof that a dispensary has patients that they treat for medical conditions.
Smart budtenders are the reason for high numbers of memberships at a collective because they are knowledgable sales people who are responsible for the bottom line. When they recommend something that works, people return multiple times. Smart budtenders also encourage patients like me to bring in other people to become patients.
Most dispensaries follow a similar business model as a cash only business. Medical cannabis is still considered a schedule one drug therefore illegal on the Federal level., reflect similar interior decoration schemes with bullet proof glass and all, and traffic flow layout in one door go out another. This is mainly for discretion.
I appreciate the discretionary tactics but I don’t need to take advantage of them because when I walk into a dispensary, I do not feel shame on any level. I am a proud African American, female, middle aged, responsible, educated, cannabis patient.