Pine Street Cannabis Company
Why did you decide to become a budtender: I have always been interested in learning more about cannabis and the industry. I also love working a rewarding job, meeting new people, and being in a positive environment. Being a budtender lets me have it all.
What’s your favorite part of the job: The customers are certainly the best part. We see so many friendly faces and I enjoy seeing how cannabis helps them through their daily life.
What sort of things have you learned on the job: The most important thing I have learned is to be genuine and form trusting relationships with customers. This allows me to make the right recommendations for their needs and help guarantee them coming back.
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis, or returning after years away: I always start by asking a few questions to get familiar with their experience and background with cannabis. Finding out the reason a customer wants to get started is helpful. In my opinion newbies are the most fun because you are starting with a blank slate and they are always full of excitement.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job: The hardest part for me is the stigma still surrounding marijuana. The judgment from some can be tough but it does not keep me from being proud of the work I do.
What’s your most memorable job experience: There are so many to choose from. I always have an interesting story to tell at the end of my workday. One of my recent favorites was helping an old favorite teacher. It was cool having the teaching roles reversed.
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell: I am definitely a flower person. My long-time favorite strain we grow is Utopia haze for a well-balanced and creative feeling high.
How long have you been in Alaska, and if from somewhere else, where: I was born and raised in Soldotna, Alaska and have lived here for 23 years.
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why: David Byrne of The Talking Heads without a doubt. He is an inspiration of mine and I can imagine it would be quite interesting.
What are your interests outside of work: My main passion outside of work is music. I am currently playing bass in a band and taking up DJing as a hobby. I also love the camping, fishing, and most anything outdoors.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them: Budtending is an amazing gig. If you are passionate about marijuana and enjoy helping others, I highly recommend taking the dive and getting your Marijuana Handler’s card.
Why did you decide to become a budtender: I love marijuana and love helping people discover all the great benefits of this amazing plant! Who knew a passion could become a career?!
What’s your favorite part of the job: The customers. We truly have some great people who frequent our stores. They bring us cookies, pizza, snacks, and remember our birthdays. I really love serving my community.
What sort of things have you learned on the job: Everything cannabis! I knew nothing about anything but smoking flower when I started. I have learned a great deal about cannabis since then and love that I’m still learning new things every day!
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis, or returning after years away: I ask them what they want to get out of it; relaxation, focus, pain-relief, etc. Once you know what they are looking for it makes it a bit simpler to suggest products for them.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job: Convincing tourists that they shouldn’t eat the entire package of edibles if they don’t feel anything after 10 minutes!
What’s your most memorable job experience: I bought a woman a joint because she was short on funds and I love to help my customers out. The look of pure gratitude on her face almost made me cry. Helping others really is the best feeling!
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell: Lady Gray’s 1:1 Buttermints! I love to micro-dose with these and that classic taste is spot on.
How long have you been in Alaska, and if from somewhere else, where:
I’ve been living in Alaska for 15 years. I was an Army brat growing up so I’ve lived just about everywhere but Alaska is my favorite!
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why: Probably Tyler the Creator. I’m pretty sure he is an alien and I would love to peek into his weird brain and see what makes him tick.
What are your interests outside of work: I love to sing, draw, paint, all the creative endeavors! Most of the time I’m too tired to do any of those things so I play video games and watch The Office for the 20th time instead.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them: I make sure they realize, while great and fulfilling, being a budtender is essentially just retail. I find people romanticize the industry which leads to a lot of turn-over and I want people to know the facts. If you’re not good at customer service, you probably won’t be good at being a budtender. But if you love cannabis and helping people, go for it!
Any further information you would like to add: Remember, we are all part of the human race; we are in it together! Love your fellow man, help those less fortunate, and expand your horizons!
— David James