How many times have you walked into a dispensary and asked a budtender for some strain advice only to find that they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about? If it’s happened even once, that’s once too many. After all- you wouldn’t let a doctor get away with prescribing you a hammer for migraine problems, would you?
The same principle applies to the cannabis industry’s most customer-oriented position, the men and women with all of the face time and (hopefully) all of the knowledge: the budtender.
Patients will spend nearly all of their time inside a dispensary interacting with just one person, which is why budtenders need to take their position of trust seriously. Every single person can react differently to certain strains, consumption methods, and quantities of THC. This is why it’s important to understand the consumer’s experience and what they’re looking to get out of their highs.
A blunt above the rest
The best budtenders are not only passionate about their roles, but also the products. To become an expert as a sole point-of-purchase professional, budtenders must be intimately knowledgeable in three key areas:
Know your products
In the marijuana industry, everything starts from seed and grows from there- both literally and figuratively. If you want to be at the top of your game (and you should be) in order to help your customers find the right strain for their individual tastes, you should be able to recite your top-sellers, their genetics (parent strains), and characteristics unique to those specific strains without skipping a beat.
Know your customer
Unless you are truly sick in the head or just severely inexperienced, you definitely wouldn’t want to recommend a 30% THC strain like White 99 to somebody who has never smoked weed before. The same applies to pushing a weak 12% THC strain to somebody who smokes dabs all day, every day. In either case, you’re going to end up with a disappointed customer that could easily take their future business to the next dispensary down the line.
Great budtenders take a few minutes to talk to the customer and get a good grasp on what their level of experience is and what they want to get out of their next purchase. It’s your job to ensure that they walk away with the right product for the right occasion.
Stay on top of an ever-changing industry
The legal marijuana industry is so new to the world that it is evolving and changing at a record-setting pace. As a budtender, you are expected to know what the “hot” products and processes are and how they apply to your job as the quintessential advice-giver.
Browse sites like Instagram and read up on industry highlights on social media to see what’s coming down the pipeline. Stay up to date on cannabis news and you’re guaranteed to give your customers solid advice and keep them coming back to you for more.
Serving beer, wine and spirits at special events like weddings, engagement parties, birthday celebrations, and holiday gatherings is already a common practice in the United States. Now that cannabis policies have been reformed in nearly half of the nation, with four states legalizing recreational use and retail sales, serving cannabis (more openly) may be the next trend at such events.
Event planners, vendors and venues, especially in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, have already discovered creative ways to incorporate cannabis into special events, like weddings, in every facet from including fresh buds in bouquets and boutineers to offering a cannabis-bar (cannabar). In fact, this is expected to become so trendy in the near future that the world’s first Cannabis and Wedding Expo has already been scheduled for January 2016.
Island Jenn Photography
Cannabis policy reform is a relatively new development in the United States, but it will not be long before the attitudes of people begin to evolve with the laws. Americans are already beginning to realize that many of the facts presented in the form of propaganda during the Reefer Madness era were false, as the most recent Gallup Poll revealed that 58 percent of American voters believe that federal cannabis prohibition should end. As more people begin to realize that cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol, attitudes shift and the marijuana industry grows, many predict that consuming cannabis at weddings and other celebratory events will soon be just as widely accepted as alcohol.
Much like how the same alcoholic beverage may produce different effects in different people, it is important for hosts and guests alike to be aware that the same strain of cannabis may affect each person differently. While there are always exceptions to the rule, the majority of people can expect to experience the effects described for each of the strains below.
Consult the Experts
Each individual strain of cannabis is unique. When exploring beyond the basic differences between sativa and indica, understanding cannabis becomes more complicated when considering how each strains’ cannabinoid and terpene profiles translate into the effects experienced. Much like a bartender is trusted to pour drinks for guests at an event, a budtender or any person with extensive cannabis knowledge can be hired to work the cannabar at your next event. A budtender will be able to share knowledge, help guests select strains and decide which method of consumption to use. Having a cannabis expert onsite to help serve and educate guests will ensure responsible consumption, especially for novice or first time users.
Just as choosing which strain to consume may be difficult for a wedding guest, selecting how many and which strains to offer may be just as overwhelming for the bride and groom or wedding planner. In an effort to narrow down the hundreds of possibilities, we have put together a list of the top-rated strains that would pair well with weddings and other social gatherings.
Cannabis connoisseur Jake Browne, better known as the world’s first pot critic, shared his recommendations with Whaxy for a “three strain combination that is perfect for parties” to establish a no-brainer, go-to selection for those who find it difficult to choose.
Browne said that offering Blue Dream, Green Crack and Grape Ape, would provide guests with a well-rounded selection. Browne’s reasoning behind each choice is explained under those three strain names in the descriptions below.
Durban Poison is a pure sativa landrace strain that will leave guests or the bride and groom alert, energetic and ready to party. In heavy doses, this strain may cause the heart to race. Click here to read an expert review of Durban Poison to learn more about what to expect when consuming this popular sativa.
This fruity sativa, Strawberry Cough, would make a great addition to any cannabar because its the perfect combination of mental relaxation and energetic focus, helping guests feel good about dancing like no one is watching.
This award winning strain, Amnesia Haze, will leave guests mingling, laughing and dancing the night away with energizing, mood boosting, uplifting and pain-relieving effects.
Island Sweet Skunk
Both experienced and novice cannabis consuming wedding guests will be enticed by the sweet, fruity and slightly skunky scent of Island Sweet Skunk. Often testing higher than most in Cannabidiol (CBD), ISS is the ideal pre-vows strain, leaving guests relaxed and loose without lessening the ability to focus or socialize.
Sweet, tropical fruit scented Maui Waui flowers are a great option for a wedding where smoking is favored because guests won’t have to fear coughing much when exhaling. The mood-boosting and energizing effects may also inspire friendship between guests who have just met.
Often praised for helping to inspire creativity and a happy state of mind, fruity Kali Mist flowers may provide the perfect mix of relaxation and focus that the bride and groom need before they say “I do.” Guests will also be impressed with the beautiful pink and purple hues splashed between the bright green leaves and orange trichomes.
Earning notoriety as a “high CBD” strain for having a 5:2 ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive effects of Harlequin are mild compared to other strains because CBD buffers the potency of the THC. Like training wheels on a bicycle, Harlequin is perfect to have on hand for the novice and first time consumers at the wedding. The higher levels of CBD in this strain will eliminate the risk of developing paranoia or anxiety that some users face the first tim while also relieving the aches and pains of guests who have traveled a long distance or twerked too hard on the dance floor.
Browne explained, “Grape Ape is perfect for the end of the night. The robust grape candy notes taste great and it provides a deep body stone without too much couchlock. Its also great for hangovers!”
As a powerful indica strain, Critical Mass is great for the nervous bride and groom or an anxiety ridden guest. Often testing high in both THC and CBD, Critical Mass is best consumed in small quantities (one to two hits maximum) at social functions in order to avoid lethargy and drowsiness. In small quantities, Critical Mass can free the mind from overthinking by relaxing the body with tingling sensations through the arms and legs.
Grand Daddy Purple
Grand Daddy Purple (GDP) is one of the most recognized strains in the world for good reason. Guests can anticipate feeling happy, uplifted and relaxed almost instantly without being sedated. Plus, the resinous flowers spotted with dark purple leaves will pique the curiosity of guests, encouraging them to ask questions.
G13 is the ultimate strain for anyone who prefers a powerful body high with very little cerebral euphoria. While it may uplift your mood, G13 allows for intense relaxation and lightness of the limbs without clouding thoughts or making it difficult to focus. G13 is also ideal for pre-meal consumption, as it may increase the appetite and enhance the taste of food even more so than all other strains.
Likely to encourage a positive outlook and a case of the giggles, Bubba Kush and the slightly more difficult to find Pre ’98 Bubba Kush are great strains for clear-headed relaxation and intense body tingling sensations. The Bubbas may be best delivered in smaller quantities in order to avoid being too tired to get out of your chair when its time to teach ’em how to dougie.
Often recommended for the treatment of pain, insomnia, depression and appetite loss, Northern Lights is the perfect compliment to the wind-down portion of the evening, allowing newlyweds and guests alike to drift attention away from sore muscles, aching feet, and dance floor fails.
In small doses, award-winning Blueberry can be energizing and encourage socializing, but it can also ease end of the night tension with waves of weightless relaxation throughout the body. Often reported to enhance feelings of arousal, these sweet scented flowers may be best reserved for the newlyweds’ nightcap.
Browne said, “Blue Dream is ideal for guests who might need a little help getting on the dance floor, as its a body moving hybrid that is great for mood elevation.”
Browne explained, “Green Crack is the ultimate conversation piece and truly does give a ton of energy to those who might be exhausted from travel or just being at a wedding. The fruity flavor is just a bonus.”
Happy-go-lucky New York City Diesel (NYC Diesel or NYCD) is an ideal strain to offer at weddings because it is suitable for cannabis consumers of all levels of experience. Promoting happiness and talkativeness in social settings, makes NYCD a great option for events, especially weddings because it may also enhance feelings of arousal.
Suitable for novice users, its more than the sweet, citrus scent that of Jilly Bean that may increase the reach of your soul-shine rays. While Jilly Bean effects start with an immediate rush of cerebral euphoria and relaxation, while the body tingling sensations creep in over time.
As an energizing, stress relieving, promoter of happiness, sweet and citrus scented Cinderella 99 (Cindy 99) is a strain that could be enjoyed before, during and/or after the wedding. Demonstrating mostly motivating and euphoric effects, Cinderella 99 may be able to rejuvenate sluggish guests near the end of the night.
Often recommended for daytime stress and pain relief, Golden Goat, is the ideal strain to get the party started on the dance floor, as the initial effects often consists of silly, happy giggles that may encourage the sharing of such incredible dance moves as “Running Man,” “Rolling the Dice,” “Stirring the Soup,” and “The Bernie.”
The almost mentholated, spiciness experienced in the back of the throat upon exhalation of XJ 13, alone, is noteworthy, but it’s ability to increase a person’s ability to spark conversations with strangers landed it a spot on the list for Best Strains to Offer at Weddings. Pair the clear-headed creativity with intense body relaxation and tingling sensations, and you get a strain that is suitable for novice and cannabis-experienced guests.
WeedHire, the go-to website connecting cannabis industry employers with job-seekers, just published the most recent quarterly report on industry job growth. Two more states and Washington D.C. have legalized a recreational marijuana market since the last quarterly report was published, but those markets have not yet had time to significantly influence job growth. Still, this quarterly report shows that the cannabis industry is definitely budding, backing up the with the estimate predicting 200,000 new industry jobs in the future.
The cannabis industry has created a job market for more than budtenders, trimmers, growers and other common dispensary positions. This industry expands to many different sectors of the job market. For example, many of the listings on WeedHire are recruiting research scientists, program developers, attorneys, administrative positions and more. There are also ample opportunities for those seeking technology, marketing and social media positions. Although, most of the job postings on WeedHire list a salary range between $30,000-50,000, there are several starting above six figures.
According to the Q4 report, more than 148 million Americans now live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana, and more than 17 million live in states that have approved recreational marijuana measures. This means that approximately half of all Americans have supported cannabis policy reform where they live.
Implementation of state law has the biggest influence on the growth of the cannabis industry. Program development has delayed medical marijuana in Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, among others. Once those programs are established, the industries will be able to grow further. For example, the flourishing Colorado industry has reduced the unemployment rate from 6.5 percent to 4.2 percent in just one year, and the Brookings Institute described the marijuana industry as an “excellent opportunity for young people without a college education to escape the clutches of minimum wage.”
View the WeeHire quarterly jobs report infographic below:
Photo credit: WeedHire
Legalizing the use of cannabis for either medicinal or recreational purposes has produced many positive results. The plant, itself, helps to ease the suffering of many people with debilitating medical conditions. Legalization and sales have provided state and local governments with tax revenue. It has even reduced strain on the judicial system by allowing law enforcement officers to focus efforts and allocated much needed resources elsewhere, thus reducing court costs by processing fewer non-violent offenders.
There may even be a greater benefit provided by the newly budding cannabis industry in the form of job creation. CannaInsider estimates that the legitimate cannabis industry will introduce 200,000 new jobs by the end of 2015.
Matt Karnes of GreenWave Advisors, an independent financial research company for the cannabis industry, agrees. He explained in the released statement,
“By 2020, assuming the most likely progression of state by state legalizaiton, we expect the combined (medical and adult use) retail marijuana market to reach $21 Billion. Jobs are just the beginning. A cultural shift towards the cannabis plant is taking place.”
CannaInsider released a list of some of the new job titles created with marijuana legalization in an effort to shed some light for those living in states where marijuana prohibition is still very present. The list includes the following job titles:
- Edible Artisan
- Lab Technician
- Extraction Technician
- Compliance Consultant
- Cannabis Tour Guide
- Software Developer
- Dispensary Manager
- Cannabis Attorney
- Packaging Designer
- Security Consultant
- Health Educator
Just as with any industry, some positions are at the bottom of the totem pole, while others are at the top. Head cultivators can make over $200,000 per year, while the average budtender makes closer to $30,000. An interesting point about the jobs in this industry is that they cover a wide spectrum. For example, there are positions representing the fields of science, technology, agriculture, culinary, law and more, all in one industry. As more states pass marijuana policy reform measures, more jobs will be created.
photo credit: theproscons