POST CATEGORY: Special

Budtenders of the Month: August 2017

August 05, 2017 | WES ABNEY

This month's budtenders of the month are April Lindi, Dustin Ellison, and Olivia Willis. Send your suggestions for Northwest Leaf's Budtender of the Month, highlighting budtenders who stand above the rest! NWLeaf@gmail.com

april-lindi-lead.jpg

When did you first experience Cannabis?

The first time I experienced Cannabis firsthand was smoking it with my sisters after stealing it from my dad’s stash when I was around 14 or 15 years old. I remember going for a car ride and focusing on telephone wires a lot but I also remember being a little let down because my sisters had always described acid-like experiences whenever they smoked. I ended up blogging about it on my not so private “Deadjournal” account and my dad eventually found it and I got in trouble. The funny thing was, he was just mad that I’d stolen. He ended up gifting me weed for Christmas! It was so strong that I spent two hours in a closet and couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t think I smoked Cannabis again until I was 18 or 19 after that experience.

How long have you been a budtender, and what’s your favorite part of the job?

This is actually my first job in the Cannabis industry. I spent about 10 years working in the adult industry as a dancer, then a webcam model and then also for Fantasy For Adults Only here in Portland. It opened up my mind to things I may not have necessarily always been open to and I think the same can be said about Cannabis. For some, Cannabis is still very much a “taboo” subject much like the adult industry, though things are changing! I think one of my favorite things about this job is being able to provide a safe space for people to ask questions and gain knowledge so they can make the best decision for themselves and get the experience they’re looking for. 

How do you like to consume?

I like flower best, but I’ll use a pen out on the go. I have a frustratingly high tolerance for edibles which can be a bummer.

What are some of your favorite Cannabis strains, effects and terpene profiles?

If I’m looking for something uplifting and functional, I lean towards Tangie strains. Right now, Super Silver Blue Magoo from Yerba Buena is stealing all of my attention. It gives me a burst of energy, but it doesn’t produce that mile-a-minute-mind feeling, so I can stay present in the moment versus going off into space. If I’m looking to relax, my favorite is Key Lime Pie from Pruf Cultivar. I also love a high CBD strain from Yerba Buena called Corazon. I have a stash of it saved in my weed cupboard for those nights that I really need a good night’s rest and relief from my pesky sciatic nerve.

How do you find the right Cannabis for someone?

The most important thing for me is to listen to what someone’s past experience with Cannabis is and what they’re hoping to gain from future experiences with it. Everyone’s cannabinoid system is so different and what may work wonderfully for me might not be the best for someone. Even if someone isn’t the most experienced consumer, they still know their own bodies better than I do so the listening part is super crucial. It’s been very cool to be able to change some minds about Cannabis stereotypes, too. I once served a somewhat standoffish Dad who was visiting with his daughters to try CBD for his back pain. I could tell he was skeptical but he reluctantly tried some. He came back to the store to let me know that his pain was gone with a smile on his face!  Experiences like that are what make my job really rewarding.

What makes your shop’s approach different?

Our main goal is to make sure every patron feels like they were well cared for and valued rather than just a customer walking through the door to buy legal Cannabis. My coworkers are absolutely incredible and the vibe in all of our stores is so positive and welcoming and I thoroughly enjoy being a part of that atmosphere. We try to shy away from the traditional categories of strains such as indicas, sativas and hybrids. We try to focus more on the feeling that strain will provide.

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside the cannabis industry?

I’m just a big ol’ boring homebody that smokes a lot of weed and hangs out with her dogs! I spend a lot of my time embroidering and doing crafty things, I could spend hours in a fabric store. I love to cook and have been mastering vegan recipes lately.

budtender-month-ellison.jpg

dustin-ellison-name.jpg

When did you first experience Cannabis?

I was about 23, I was talking to a friend who was experimenting with it and she offered to smoke with me. We made a gravity bong from a 2-liter and ended up watching Hey Arnold, it was great. I noticed I felt better immediately on top of the high, although my anxiety wasn’t diagnosed or checked at that point, but I noticed there was something more there. Today, from my perspective it helped calm me down, even if that’s strictly from the high itself, it helps me.

How long have you been a budtender and what is your favorite part?

Over a year now. This is my first year at Buddy’s and my favorite part is when a customer comes back in after making a recommendation. I can see it in their face, that’s my guy. I know that they enjoy what I recommended and that makes me really happy, to be able to help connect people to the best pot possible.

budtender-month-ellison-quote.jpgWhat's your favorite way to consume Cannabis?

I’m primarily a dabber, it seems to be the most convenient for me ironically enough. That’s my favorite way right now. I like joints on the go or with friends, and I still smoke flower, but dabbing is my favorite for sure.

What are your favorite strains and products?

One of my favorite strains is Super Lemon Haze, normally I’m an indica guy, but it seems to hit all the right buttons for a sativa. I really like the Kai-dro SLH, they produce pesticide-free and hand trimmed flower, which is really nice. For oil, I really like the Primus from Bodhi High, it’s a terp sugar. It’s definitely sugary, and a very nice indica-dominant hybrid, it’s a rare strain that I don’t see often. We recently got in Death Valley OG shatter from Khush Kush, that’s a really nice indica for night time dabs, too!

How do you help customers find the right products?

It’s all a conversation. I basically test their knowledge to see if they know what they are looking for, otherwise I’ll ask them
“what are you looking to do when you smoke?”

Whether it’s to hang out with friends, go to sleep or even do chores or how much they need, their price point and favorite brands all come up. You want to make the proper recommendation for them.

It’s always fun finding out what people are into, everyone’s different. Some people really like certain strains or types of strains, and I just really like picking people’s brains about what they like and trying to make my recommendation accordingly.

Why do you like working at your store?

I really like how it feels like I’m part of the Renton community, I get to see people every day and I’ll see them out in public and give them a nod or a smile. I really like being able to help people in the area, I think that’s really cool.

What are your hobbies when you aren’t budtending?

I collect records—vinyl records—and I like a lot of tech stuff. I build computers and do a lot of that sort of thing, it’s interesting because I’ve noticed that the tech and Cannabis industries are similar and both move at the same rate.

There’s always new stuff happening all over the place, new strains and extraction processes. Its been cool. I’m all over the place with music, a lot of metal and hip hop and dabbed in EDM a little, but I really like going and finding things that catch my eye for records and going from there.


budtender-month-olivia-willis.jpg

What's your first cannabis experience?

It was about five years ago when I became sick and so I had to leave my nursing career as a CNA. I met my boyfriend and he was into Cannabis big-time and I started asking questions and consuming. It helped relieve my symptoms and I was able to redo my diet and change my lifestyle and it was beneficial for everything in my life. Later on I realized I could help people with Cannabis too. That’s what I want to do with my life. It’s what attracted me to nursing and I realized I could do it in the Cannabis world and combine passions. I wasn’t always positive about Cannabis use. I wasn’t educated but I’ve learned and it’s amazing and I want to push how much I can help people.

It takes all of us to educate others and to get it out there and keep fighting.

How long have you been a budtender and what’s your favorite part of the job?

I’ve only been a budtender for two months but my favorite part is interacting and chatting with consumers, from a first-time user to a long-time smoker.

Getting a new strain for them to try is awesome and their feedback is amazing. I have five years of growing and consuming experience, which really isn’t that long in the industry when there are people 20 or 40 years in. But I know that I know nothing and want to keep learning — that’s what I love about Cannabis — there’s so much to learn. Later in my life I want to make terpene and Cannabinoid profiles for people who have specific reasons to use Cannabis. I am hoping one day we can get there and I can help a lot more people.

How do you like to consume?

I am a big concentrate lady. I smoke a lot of rosin! My boyfriend and I make it from our own garden, we use the entire plant and don’t let it go to waste. I’m fortunate to get to mess around in my own garden and grow from seed and give them a squish and see how they taste.

Favorite cannabis strains, effects, and terpene profiles, personally?

Orange Flare by Greenlife Supply.

It’s originally called Bowser. He gave the seed packs to my boyfriend and we picked that phenotype for him. He started cultivating it after he opened up and then he started selling it and itfeels really cool to help bring something from start to finish.

My other personal favorite is Honey Banana by Bob’s Morning Bear out of Kasilof, he likes to run high THC genetics, and I am loving his strain.

The Honey Banana has a nice mild taste but is still uppity. I also love Tanana Herb Co. from Fairbanks; their Cookies and Cream is amazing. They’re an awesome cultivator — the consistency of the harvest is amazing. I really wish I could bug them for a clone of the God’s Gift!

How do you find the right Cannabis for someone?

I like to ask a lot of questions. I feel like you can never ask enough. There are different variables, and it is trial and error, so communication is a very big thing. I love to make people feel comfortable, especially if they are new to it. I don’t try to go in as a know-it-all. I just want to make them comfortable and feel equal — and we are equal — it’s a big learning process together, I’m just the one who signed up to be behind the counter.

Why do you like working at Enlighten?

It’s a family-run business. The way they treat workers is so personable. We’re individuals and matter to them as part of a team and it’s an honest, open environment. We’re all there with the same goal to help people and get the best Cannabis to people.

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside the Cannabis industry?

Right now my number one hobby is helping in the garden at home, but I like to get outside. We have six dogs. I’ve trained in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). MMA helps shape you up, getting your butt kicked every day. Don’t walk in going you’re the tough guy. It helps to shape your mind and set goals and sweat it out. I’m a girl and have worked out with guys. Get over the fear. It opens your eyes and teaches self defense, which everyone should know.

Right now, I am not training for a fight, but I do it for fun. I enjoy the challenge. It’s a clean start and a fresh slate. I don’t have to think about anything else except how I feel and the way I move.

The challenge is addicting and I love the way it made me think. I am so for MMA and pot and for Cannabis [being accessible] for all athletes. Cannabis is something we shouldn’t be afraid to really talk about. It helps the body so much whether for pain or muscles tightening or anxiety. I’ve come across many people who smoke and work out and it doesn’t change them. I think it’s a great thing, honestly.

Enlighten Alaska

2600 Spenard Rd.

Anchorage

We thought you might also like..

from the gallery