The Herbal Cache
The heart of downtown Girdwood
Why did you decide to become a budtender? I’ve had aspirations to own my own cannabis industry business. Also the community out here is so bad-ass and took me in with open arms.
What’s your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of the job has to be introducing people to a new side of life. Not everyone is comfortable with weed, and I feel that my job is to be inclusive and supportive of everyone that visits the shop.
What sort of things have you learned on the job? It’s been cool to really dive into the concentrate side of things and learn to really differentiate strains by terps and effects.
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis or returning after years away? IMBG baby! Indian Moonshine Bubblegum is a 1:1 CBD to THC strain from Alaska Cannabis Exchange that is super easygoing and enjoyable for all. Depending on how a customer’s energy coming in is, we either start low and slow or jump right back into the swing of things.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job? Leaving.
What’s your most memorable job experience? 420 is always up there! That day is always busy and so full of pot and patrons. It’s lit.
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell? Double Stuffed. A super killer indica strain courtesy of my personal favorite cultivator, Bill Russell. Bill owns Alaska Rustic in Bird Creek, making him our closest cultivator.
How long have you been in Alaska, and if from somewhere else, where? I’ve lived in Alaska for 20 of my 22 years, taking short stints in Washington and California that really allowed me to get some “good training” in the weed world.
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why? First off, it’s going to be a blunt and it’d probably be with Young Thug or Bob Dylan.
What are your interests outside of work? My brother and I are rappers and have multiple albums out. We go by Brother Buffalo and have been rapping for some years now. Find us on all platforms.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them? It is worth it for sure, but this industry is tight and you gotta be on top of everything you’re doing.
(This is probably an interview I should be really high for. Oh, sorry, did you have the tape rolling already? — Philip Hawkins)
Why did you decide to become a budtender? Having pulled countless shots of espresso as a barista on and off over the years, it was a somewhat natural transition once we decided to legalize. When the Cache reopened and the opportunity presented to shift industries, I went for it, with a little nudge from my friends.
What’s your favorite part of the job? I love when I’m able to help someone find the product that’s exactly the right thing to make their day that much better.
What sort of things have you learned on the job? The world of concentrates is continually evolving, and once I started down the dabbing rabbit hole (dabbit hole?) nearly every consistency of hash oil has become both fascinating and delectable, especially a good pull-n-snap shatter off a low temp quartz e-nail. It’s awesome to see processors pushing the envelope with extraction techniques; even cartridges have come a long way in the last couple years. We’re finding that the sativa/indica dichotomy is a bit rough of a generalization, and a strain’s particular cannabinoid and terpene profile has more to do with its personality than which of the species it is. Then there is the matter of knowing oneself and how one reacts to both the stimulating, relaxing, and psychoactive effects of cannabis in general to better tailor and appreciate the experience. For example, though I generally prefer more relaxing strains higher in myrcene and as much linalool as I can find, if I need a little extra focus for a creative project or an interview then I might go for something with more alpha pinene. There is a lot of new information to keep up with, sift through, and source check.
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis, or returning after years away? I generally suggest lower THC strains. For someone concerned about getting paranoia or anxiety, something with significant CBD content and lower on the pinene, i.e. a “chill indica.” For someone more concerned with not being sleepy and couch-locked, I steer toward “citrusy sativa” types, something flavorful and giggly. If smoking is an issue, CO2 oil cartridges are my go-to for their classic flavor while their slightly lower strength makes dosage a bit easier to regulate. I don’t generally suggest edibles for first-timers as the process of figuring out personal dosage takes time, but for the adventurous who want to pair some treats with their smoke or those who simply can’t be inhaling cannabis, we always suggest to start low and go slow.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job? From the customer service side of things, shifting gears and keeping the dynamic balance between efficiency and humanity can be tricky, and is especially important these days when some people want to get in and out as quickly as possible and others need to talk with somebody for a moment.
What’s your most memorable job experience? I’ve gotta say, hearing the rest of the team at the Cache work through figuring out who Ozmoak Wade is upon seeing his name on a High Score board was pretty priceless. I love working with our crew.
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell? Might be biased here, but I really enjoy our house blunts rolled with something on the purple side from Green Star, though Lady Gray has some fantastic products as well...
How long have you been in Alaska, and if from somewhere else, where? I’ve lived in Alaska for six of the last 10 years, spending some time in Oregon in between. I grew up in northern Michigan, but snowboarding has a way of pulling one toward bigger mountains.
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why? Offhand I’d have to say the RZA, Abbott of the Wu Tang Clan. He’s an inspiring character with interesting ideas about life, the universe, and everything.
What are your interests outside of work? I enjoy moving through space on snowboards, skateboards, and mountain bikes. As a perpetual student of music, I’m learning classical guitar, digital audio/sound design, and electronic music production. Sub-bass frequencies are both motivating and therapeutic and like those who have gone before, I too am looking for the perfect beat.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them? Get to know your terpenes and keep a notebook/strain journal. If you’re able to grow a plant or two at home and haven’t yet, it will help you gain perspective on the cultivation process and its particular challenges.
Any further information you would like to add? The most significant thing we can change is ourselves, and our most significant actions are in how we treat others.
— David James