How: With more attendees than our March social, April's social opened with a discussion on international criminal sentencing for marijuana offenses. Did you know that individuals can receive the death penalty in at least 12 countries for possession of marijuana? In recent news a Singaporean man was hung for allegedly owning a cellular device used to coordinate a deal.
In observing the way in which possession of cannabis can effect a person's life it seems being a cannabis advocate is a problematic place certainly. For if you have any personal experience with the social and physiological improvements cannabis creates an undeniable perspective of the herb's benefits forms, while having sense to comprehend the necessity for wise and protective law & ordinance that creates an equal respect for an often invisible authoritative system as your own experience, a pro cannabis advocate could find themselves in a constant mentally divided state that could mean paranoia around use or worse.
Is the cannabis problem one where it is clear who is wrong and who is right? Is it that legislators from old time who had an insight to prohibit this herb save us impending doom, or are the people and their lived experiences interacting with the herb the problem?
Lis arrived in great fashion. A genuine and nice personality. Prior to her arriving attendees were already in talks about questions they had for her ranging from PGRs to how did she get in to the industry to begin with. By the end of the night all would agree the social was interesting and a pleasure to partake in. For the personal account, provided by Lis, of what it's like working on the retail level of a cannabis operation would shine light on more than just exchanging money for a high. Together, we would even consider the deeper motives of some market players.
Was: CARE ¤ COURAGE ¤ INFORMATION
Did you know that many of the cannabis products and brands sold are private label? Meaning if you are not careful or discerning enough you could be purchasing one brand's poor performing product in the premium packaging of another brand for a premium price. Did you know that some times companies 're-brand' their cannabis but never address the system and process practices that made their previous offering lackluster? Many of us were shocked to hear about these seeming common practices within the legal cannabis industry. Some consumers may be disappointed to find that this month's "Pix & Trips", is the defunct brand of yesterday.
Key takeaway here, ask your Budtenders more about the brands they are offering, how are the ingredients or flowers being offered different from that of competitors, what is the company's history. By taking this approach to purchasing from a dispensary you can increase your buying knowledge, and increase chance of recurring pleasant experiences integrating cannabis products in your lifestyle.
Lis did try to assure us that this practice is in some ways becoming a slowing fad. To know whether you are purchasing from one brand but in another brand's packaging Lis recommends asking the Budtender to show you the packaging further for you to read the labeling which will typically provide originating information. Don't be surprised if your Budtender keeps one or both of their hands on the product the whole time you are inspecting the label. Budtenders are required to handle the product as such until you have purchased it.
Even if your Budtender seems to be unsure about the specific strain or product you are asking about know that in the cannabis industry the dispensary and Budtenders are working with the knowledge they have been provided by their vendors. So if you are dissatisfied with your Budtender's lack of knowledge ask them to get more information, or contact the brands you purchase from on social directly and demand they offer more insight and resources. Not all vendors offer product training, or even samples for the Budtenders to try so that they can better collaborate with customers in the buying decisions. Thankfully there are hardworking, and dedicated professionals like Lis that take it upon their selves as a sense of duty to learn more about the strains, products, and producers being offered to their customers.
Our conversation with Lis on cannabis retail also grazed upon customer data and the seeming ambiguity of how non-medicinal cannabis consumer data is being treated. Since there are very specific implications and standards enforced by HIPAA regarding the way medical related information is handled, many dispensary operators have a means of treating and regularly removing information related to the purchase of their medical patrons. However there seems to currently be no wildly accepted body or process enforcing how adult use/recreational use customer data is leveraged within an enterprise. With the growing value in shopper data I wonder whether this will become an increasing focus in the years to come.
Lis seized the opportunity as Chicago's cannabis market was opening up to adult use in January of 2020 to change career paths from working in team roles within the homeopathic health industry. The experience Lis had while working with end of life patients seeing their response to cannabis treatment changed her life. Something that she believes would have an indisputable mind opening impact on any person faced with the same experience. This experience of hers resonated with a similar account provided at our March social by Dr. Codi Peterson who had a similar career experience that opened his eyes to the medicinal power of cannabis.
When helping customers Lis likes to help guide their decision with three discovery style questions:
What experience are you looking for? Are you treating chronic pain, or just need something to relax, how about a sense of uplifting? Due to the terpene and potentially other producer introduced factors cannabis has the potential to address many common experienced physiological states.
How do you prefer to consume cannabis? are you a flower vaporizer, dab, or edible preferring cannabis consumer? Most dispensaries have a curated selection of products in categories such as concentrates, flower, pre-roll, and more.
Where will you be consuming your cannabis? Going on a hike, hanging out with friends or going to a live event?
A notable aspect of Lis' approach to customer service is her perspective regarding the customer she is helping. "Everyone is a patient whether they are in the adult use line or medical line," is a philosophy she is not afraid to share with co-workers as she seeks to help them reach an empathetic connection with the persons encountered during checkout. Her belief is striking in that there exist a clear categorization within the cannabis industry that is not always fluid. That is the matter of consuming cannabis for its medicinal benefits vs purely pleasure. Whether latent, or conscious, many cannabis advocates promote the case that all persons using cannabis are "self-medicating" for some purpose or another. Regardless of where you may stand Lis wants people to have a dignified experience when acquiring cannabis.
Given how largely corporate legal marijuana is it can be difficult to keep the patients/consumer experience in mind over the profits. This concern is increasing amongst many cannabis stakeholders. Ultimately Lis feels balance will be restored by the growing influence of craft cannabis producers. In fact in the future Lis sees her self working in a operations/ brand management capacity with smaller/up and coming brands empowered by the experiences she is building upon working for one of the state's most popular multi-state operators.
Medical Patient Concerns Highlighted in our conversation with Lis:
a. Would be medical consumers are concerned about employer access to records
b. Medical consumers can't purchase gun directly,
c. Current system of registering for medicinal card is one hundred percent online (applying for medical card and receiving of)
d. Medical consumers have law enforced purchasing limits which means if/when a medical patient has maxed out they are unable to purchase more until they are credited back their buying limit (rolling 14 day window)
e. No consumption limit for recreational users
f. There is a fee to get medical card and it is not always covered by insurance.
Lis' 4 Ways To Be A More Mindful Cannabis Dispensary Shopper
1. Don't be afraid to research on your own (leafly, google, budtender) - credible sources. It is understandable if you feel a bit newbie or foolish searching the internet for information regarding things like "what are terpenes", "is THC really medicinal" etc. Be assured this is exactly what you should be doing. Get on LinkedIn search for professionals who headline highlight their position within the industry, connect & follow these individuals, watch documentaries/lectures on Youtube, enroll in an Oaksterdam University class or one of the likes. Do what you must to solidify your knowledge base relating to the effects and state of cannabis.
2. Know what works for you and start there, when you purchase look at the information about the product purchased, research and note differences you may believe add value. Are you a "Sativa Diva" or an "Indica Burnie"? Being equipped with your preferences can help you and your Budtender come up with the best product match for you.
3. Lis cautioned attendees to not confuse THC % with quality. depending on the harvesting and handling technique product quality can vary even if the promoted THC is high. there has been several headlines in the news regarding consumer protection group acquiring and testing widely marketed cannabis and infused products only to find their results conflicted with the cannabis producer's provided results.
Also if you are purchasing cannabis solely based upon THC potency please continue to keep an eye on the developing research linking continuous exposure to 'high THC' products and chronic illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, and Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
"Don't sleep on the terpenes!" -Lis (@lifeoflis23)
4. Ask your Budtender for more information. Depending on the dispensary you shop at you may only come into contact with a Budtender at the cash register. If you have questions regarding an order you may have placed online, or the one that caught your own while browsing the dispensary inventory, it is completely acceptable (even expected) that you will ask more questions before you exchange cash for product.
Please note often it is near impossible to leave a dispensary and come back to exchange or return a product unless it is do to packaging/product defect. Also realize Budtenders come with a range of career and service experience so some may not also have answers to your questions or be proactive in engaging you in a "deeper" conversation regarding your purchase intention.
There was so much more I wish I could catch you up on, but the best way to really be in the know of how our socials go is by attending one for yourself. Please see our link below and search a date that accommodates your schedule, rsvp to attend, and show up ready to socialize while learning more about how to be an even more mindful cannabis consumer.
It: Each month, Daily Roller hosts a community event where we bring in Special Guests for Guided Conversations discussing important topics related to cannabis, such as cannabis policing, best practices for consuming legally, research, and current events. Our goal is to create a universal community-sourced framework for mindful, happy, and responsible cannabis consumption.
Thank you to Brian of Emerald City Coffee for partnering with Daily Roller on this monthly cannabis community event. Thank you Lis for collaborating with us on an approachable for all levels of cannabis consumption experience, conversation looking at the cannabis retail market, and what it is like to work for a multi state operator. Thank you also to the Team at Cannexus Consulting for joining on-board as a presenting sponsor sharing our cannabis community event with your current audience and community.
If we missed you at the April social, join us on Sunday May 28th for our social with Special Guest Margo Vesely of Illinois Norml & @Margojuana, for what will be another social, welcoming, and educational hour of " Smoking Responsibly" -metaphorically & philosophically speaking.
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Amnesty International - The Death Penalty: No Solution to Illicit Drugs ( see page 12)