Red Light District
Why did you decide to become a budtender: I want to help people, and I think we have more medicinal effects than people like to think.
What’s your favorite part of the job: Working with the people.
What sort of things have you learned on the job: Before I started working in the industry, I was one of the people that would go percentage. It didn’t matter what it was, I just wanted the high numbers. Because I thought it would get me higher. But, I learned that the terpenes and the way terpenes interact with your chemicals inside your body is what gives you the high that you’re looking for.
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis, or returning after years away: The first question is what kind of high they’re looking for. Whether they’re looking to relax, or relieve pain, or if they have a whole bunch of stuff they want to do and they need some motivation.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job: Trying to help a customer find something that matches what they’re looking for.
What’s your most memorable job experience: Opening night over here. Trying to get people to come over here. When I was working up front, checking I.D.s and I would see lots of cars pull up, but they were still going next door. So I kept sticking my head out saying,”Hey, we’re open over here.”
[Note: Red Light District is next door to Alaska Green Light, both under the same ownership.]
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell: My favorite product that we sell is the Kuchi prerolls we have right now. They offer a sweet taste accompanying a nice smooth smoke and a fantastic body high.
How long have you been in Alaska, and if from somewhere else, where: I was born in Alaska, and I grew up in Florida, then I moved back up here about twenty-two years ago.
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why: Willie Nelson, just because he’s a smoking legend.
What are your interests outside of work: Hang out with my kids. I like to take them as many places as possible. Get them out of the house. Especially with the quarantine situation. They kind of got cooped up for a while. I also like to smoke and watch movies or play some video games to relax.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them: Take the test. If you’re really passionate about it, it’s definitely worth the investment. I left a kitchen and I will never set foot in a kitchen again.
Any further information you would like to add: I love my job. I’ve got one of the coolest jobs ever. I don’t feel like I’m at work when I’m at work. I feel like I’m just hanging out with friends and having a good time.
Why did you decide to become a budtender: I didn’t even mean to become a budtender, I feel like it chose me. I came in possibly looking for a job. Once I got hired I started learning all the ins and outs to it. I began seeing a lot of different sides of life as far as customers go, and I love it.
What’s your favorite part of the job: Dealing with the customers. Different characters, hearing different stories. Learning that you’re not just trying to get somebody stoned or high. Some of the customers need help with sleep, help with pain, help with anxiety. Knowing that I’m actually helping, not just getting somebody high.
What sort of things have you learned on the job: Definitely do not judge a book by its cover. I learned customer service. I’d never done customer service before this job. Dealing with all different sides of life. Marijuana as well. Coming into the industry I barely knew what indica and sativa were. Learning about that, terpenes, CBD, stuff like that.
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis, or returning after years away: I like to greet everybody with “How may I get you high today?” Just to see the vibe that I’m going to get from the customer. Whether it be that they are a new smoker, or they’re an older smoker who hasn’t smoked in a while, or just somebody who wants to try something new. See what sort of stuff they’re into. See if they’re into something that’s going to get them energetic and motivated, or relaxing, something to get them to wind down for a nice chill movie night. Or see if they want something that’s beneficial to them as far as aches, pain. See if they need CBD as well.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job: I don’t see days here being a challenge at all. It’s more like an adventure. With my customers, with my coworkers. It’s always going to be something fun. I can say I learn something new here every day.
What’s your most memorable job experience: My first year working. I wasn’t a budtender at the time, I was more security. We were doing a 4:20 event and the 420th customer got a ten gram joint of our in-house strain Grease Monkey. Just seeing people going through that day just to get a joint. Just to get that motivational feel from the customers. Customers can make you feel like more of a budtender than you do personally, just by you trying to get them on the right track. You’re really making an impact on their day.
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell: The flower. My all time favorite is the Grease Monkey. That’s the strain that got me coming here in the first place. My very first transaction at Fuzzy Buds [also under the same ownership] at the time was hearing how good the Grease Monkey was. And I came back every day.
How long have you been in Alaska, and if from somewhere else, where: Born and raised.
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why: I honestly would love to smoke with Tupac. I know I would hear a bunch of different stories.
What are your interests outside of work: Video games, music, I like to cook as well. I’m a little beast in the kitchen.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them: It’s one of the best job experiences ever. Coming in, I did not think it would be this much of an influence on me. I thought it would be just making transactions and sales and keep it moving. But dealing with people on a daily basis, the day-to-day runs just being interesting. It’s one of the best jobs you can be in. Especially nowadays, now that it’s legal. It’s a young industry still with so many years to grow.
Any further information you would like to add: Stay high, stay fly.
— David James