I have often thought about getting a part-time job as a budtender at a cannabis dispensary. It’s not something that I would want to do as a career, but I have always thought that it would be a fun side gig. Budtenders get to spend all day talking the toke with cannabis consumers, which I think would be really fun to do regardless of pay, but getting paid to do it would make it that much better.
Most budtenders that I have met seem really happy to be doing what they are doing. To be fair, I have run into some grumpy budtenders too, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. The same is true about people I have met that work in other fields within the cannabis industry. For the most part, people seem excited to be doing something that they love and being a part of the most exciting industry on the planet.
Something that seems to be lacking in the cannabis workforce is the understanding of the responsibility of cannabis industry members to support ongoing activism efforts. After all, the legal cannabis job that they are benefitting from would not even exist if it were not for the tireless work and sacrifice made by cannabis activists that have done so much to make the legal cannabis industry possible in the first place.
Cannabis industry members cannot take the new opportunities for granted. Until federal prohibition is ended there’s always the chance that things can go backward. I don’t think that’s likely to happen given how far down the cannabis rabbit hole we have gone, but it’s always a possibility with federal prohibition in place. Even if federal cannabis prohibition ended today, there would still be plenty of work left to be done to move the industry forward in states where the cannabis industry operates legally.
The cannabis industry is arguably the most highly regulated industry on the planet. Reasonable regulations are OK, but overregulation is occurring in every state and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to chip away at the overburdensome regulations until the situation becomes acceptable. Industry members need to realize the obvious – cannabis policy is not going to improve itself. It takes cannabis advocates remaining active and keeping the pressure on elected officials and industry regulators, and that effort absolutely must include cannabis industry members too.
I frequented one of my favorite dispensaries in Oregon this weekend with a fellow member of a cannabis activism organization. After we made our purchase I thanked the budtender for making compliance a priority during the transaction, as I always do when I go to a dispensary and things are done by the book. But one thing that was disheartening about the dispensary visit was when I asked the budtender if they knew about the organization that my friend and I are members of, and they had no idea what I was talking about.
When I pressed the budtender to think about their knowledge of cannabis activism organizations they were familiar with they didn’t seem to know of any at all. I obviously urged them to do some research and to get active since the job that they love (they previously told me that many times) literally depends on it. It is my hope that my experience over the weekend never happens again. If you are a member of the industry, do your part because we are all in this fight together!