Budtenders are Essential

Budtenders Are Essential Front-Line Cannabis Workers

With Cannabis Dispensaries Categorized as Essential, Budtenders are More Important than Ever

Since legalization began, budtenders have played a key role in the cannabis industry’s education, outreach, and community. But with much of the nation on lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, budtenders are now even more of a crucial link between millions of Americans and a much-needed therapeutic plant. They’re working on the frontlines in the middle of a crisis. 

And those frontlines are busy: Though it’s unclear whether this uptick in weed sales is panic purchasing (similar to the rush on toilet paper) or people seeking out products to help pass the time and ease the stress of social distancing, consumers are buying and consuming more cannabis right now. 

Budtenders are largely responsible for maintaining safe practices that enable dispensaries to keep operating while protecting the health and safety of their customers and employees. These practices include handling money and credit cards properly, wearing gloves and masks, doing curbside pickup transactions with buyers, disinfecting high-use surfaces, maintaining and enforcing six feet of social distance whenever possible, and more. Budtenders in some states have even transitioned to delivery, driving orders directly to customers’ homes. 

Got Cannabis Questions? Call First.

Some states are allowing curbside pickup during the COVID-19 crisis. But for newer cannabis customers who aren’t sure what they need, dispensaries still recommend calling to speak live with a budtender who can walk you through your options (and provide some tech support if you need it with the actual online ordering process).

Budtenders are providing valuable education around best pot practices during an epidemic—namely, urging consumers to stop sharing joints and bongs. “Puff, puff, pass” is officially on hiatus until further notice. Sanitize any shared implements (like LucidMood vaporizers) if you must share, but right now budtenders are recommending you have access to your own stash.

They’re also providing guidance on the best formulations for the stress and sleeplessness that’s accompanied this crisis for so many of us.

How to Keep Cannabis Transactions Safe—for You and Your Budtender

Like grocery store clerks, pharmacists and post office workers, many budtenders have been deemed essential by their state officials. Just as you would at Trader Joe’s or Costco, take care of the dispensary staff so they can take care of you.

If you’re calling a dispensary for a consult, help your ‘tender out by making a list of your questions before you dial, or before you make an in-person order. Unlike many of us who are stuck at home right now, budtenders are actually super busy! The crisis only added additional safety steps to their days, so be considerate of their time by being as prepared as possible. 

If you’re doing a curbside pickup, abide by all the safety directives. Wear gloves and a mask, and maintain a safe distance. Again, arrive as prepared as possible. If paying in cash, try to pay with exact change and tip to reduce contact with potentially contaminated bills. 

Another point we can’t stress enough: TIP your budtenders! Tip 30% if you can, 20% at a minimum. The average budtender salary is approximately $13 an hour—these hardworking people need our tips to pay their bills. 

Lastly, try to seek out and patronize dispensaries that take good care of their budtenders. While some dispensaries don’t offer staff members access to employer health insurance plans or paid sick leave, others have stepped up to offer these essential workers new protections and hazard pay.  Andrew DeAngelo, co-founder of famed Oakland dispensary Harborside Health Center, has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by giving Harborside workers paid time off, sick leave and health benefits. As DeAngelo told Green Entrepreneur, “Our budtenders are critical assets, we have to treat them like it and invest in their well being.”

If you’re looking to speak live with a budtender, or find out about possible delivery and curbside pickup information in your area, Leafly has put together an excellent resource, updated twice daily: Is my dispensary open and can they deliver cannabis right now?

RELATED:  With an 8:1 ratio of THC to CBD, our Lullaby pen is formulated with a specific blend of cannabinoids and terpenes designed for calming effects to enhance rest and relaxation—an ideal stress reliever in trying times.

Check out all of our custom formulations here.

Ajoya dispensary

Meet Brittany Krapes, LucidMood’s Budtender of the Month for May 2020

This interview is part of a special Q&A series where we talk to budtenders—who are some of the most fascinating and informative people in our industry—about the weird questions they get, what daily life on the cannabis front lines is like and what they appreciate most about cannabis.

Brittany Krapes, Ajoya, LucidMood Budtender of the Month

Name: Brittany Krapes

Dispensary: Ajoya in Louisville, Colorado

What year did you start working in the cannabis industry?

Who are your favorite customers at the dispensary?
I love the people who come here and are willing to learn! It’s fine serving people who know what they want, but seeing someone who is curious and wanting to learn is something else. People eager for education are always great because they are open to different cannabinoid blends, different terpenes, and maybe even a different medium to consume their cannabis. 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your fellow budtenders?
Find a balance in treating customers like they know nothing and everything at the same time! It’s difficult to judge what someone may or may not know without asking them, and we are in a state where we get a lot of tourists. Offering the same quality of help to every person is important in maintaining a positive experience for everyone. 

What’s the craziest question about cannabis you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
The craziest questions come from people who haven’t consumed cannabis, of course. The questions that always amaze me are the ones that come from a perspective of cannabis being similar or the same as an opioid. It surprises me when people ask how I function on cannabis doing basic activities, and they seem confused when I tell them that today is a microdose day or a CBD day—or that cannabis is absolutely not the same as the pain medicine they have gotten from their doctor or heard about from their friends. 

What’s the biggest misconception about cannabis you’d like to fix?
You don’t have to be a stoner, and you don’t have to be high all the time! I see people come in for the same product, but one will use it for medicine and one will use it for recreational purposes. Consuming cannabis or using cannabis products does not have to be good / bad or black / white. It can be for your grandma or your neighbor. It can be once-a-month or whenever. There is something for everyone. 

What’s the most challenging part of your day?
Naturally since I love people who love to learn, those unwilling to learn are my personal struggle. It is hard to be in an industry that is seen as an importance but also has a negative stigma attached to it in so many communities, even our own still! I see many people who just want to “check it out” but they come with decades of fear and misconceptions. It can be hard to convince people that the stigma is there for the extremes, and most users are not that.

Why do you consume cannabis?
Cannabis helps me sleep, relax, and deal with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) pain and anxiety. I use topicals for eczema and psoriasis. I use cannabis to help me with all sorts of things! 

What does consuming cannabis do for you?
Cannabis makes me feel grounded and keeps my mind from racing all day. I am a very anxious person, and cannabis calms me down without knocking me out or making me feel too mentally fuzzy. 

“If I were a LucidMood pen, I would be….”
I would absolutely be Lullaby. When (LucidMood Chief Science Officer) Tristan (Watkins, PhD.) and I were talking about this pen we were excited about how it shuts your brain off. It doesn’t just get you so high you pass out, it really helps unwind. I would be Lullaby because I am all about relaxing and comfort. I love everything that makes people feel calm and collected and homey.