Budtender Interview #17 - Mike B
Budtender | Oregon
What's your name? Mike B
Which state do you work in? Oregon
Care to share what dispensary you work at? The Herbal Connection
Are you guys Medical, Recreational or Both? Medical and Recreational
How long have you been in the cannabis industry? Since 2012
How did you go about getting into the industry? I made an industry-specific resume, citing some of my retail and management experience, but also my history with cannabis. I included a mock government project I did in middle school in which I took my proposition for the legalization of recreational cannabis before lawmakers at the state capitol in Salem. It only took 18 years for them to come to the same conclusion I did at age 12. Kids really do say the darnedest things.
How did you react to your first day working? Was it mind blowing? I had been trying to get a gig at Eugene's first dispensary, Kannabosm. I happened to be there on a busy day when they were short-staffed. They pulled me back and started me volunteering on the spot. I got a little star-struck being invited behind the counter and dealing with such insanely large (for me, at the time) amounts of cannabis. Mind definitely blown.
What is the most random question somebody has asked you about cannabis? I guess I can't think of any really strange questions. They say “there are no stupid questions”, and I think that's particularly true with cannabis because there has been so much misinformation for so long that even the more random questions come off as perfectly valid.
Ever have any awkward moments with a patient or customer? The most awkward situations are the ones in which we have to turn people away for not having the right documentation. Or when people talk openly in front of us about illegal activities. Don't do that. We hate that.
Is there a patient or customer that you have seen improve their health due to cannabis use? If so, explain. I have seen patients wean themselves off of opiate-based painkillers with cannabis. I would say that's an improvement. I have a patient with two adult children with severe seizure disorders. Using a high-CBD (70%-80%) oil, they have been able to go as long as a month at a time without any seizures, whereas before the use of cannabis it was a nearly daily occurrence. There are too many success stories to list here, but I can assure you it's good medicine.
Cannabis Edibles seem to be a touchy subject in the news. Have you ever had a bad experience with them? Also, how many MG of THC do you recommend for a first time consumer? Edibles are touchy because they're somewhat unpredictable. Body size, THC tolerance, diet and metabolism play a large role in how your body processes edibles, which often means that one edible of the same dosage will effect everyone a little bit differently. Some people claim to get no buzz at all when they eat cannabis. Others can't take a tiny nibble of a brownie without melting into a puddle of goo for a day and a half. If new edible users find themselves uncomfortable, they just have to wait it out. That's why I always recommend starting small (5-10 mg) and gradually working your way towards your own magic number (mine is between 100 and 200 mg). Be your own guinea pig and start small. With a little care and proper planning, I don't believe anyone ever has to have a negative edible experience.
Do you have an all time favorite strain? If so, why is it your favorite? Purple Kush, Purple Kush, Purple Kush. It's so hard to get consistently. The flavor is earthy and sweet. The body-feel is almost numbing. When you hold in a big bong rip you can feel it drip over you like warm honey. I am also a huge fan of anything by Higher Minds Horticulture. Dense buds, high THC and flavor for days are staples of their growing style.
Do you have any advice for people looking to get into the industry? Don't use your regular resume. Make a cannabis industry-specific one, but make it professional and absolutely do not disclose any illegal activities in it, regardless of how relevant you think they are to the job. Visit all of the shops in your town and drop off a resume. Try to talk to the hiring manager so they have a face to put with your name. Be friendly. Dress nice. There is also a lot of nepotism in the cannabis industry. People hire their friends. So if you don't have a friend who owns a dispensary or cannabis business, friend one up quick.
The cannabis industry is new and obviously has a lot of improving to do. Where would you like to see improvement in the industry? I would like to see less pettiness and in-fighting. We're all in this together. Share strains. Recommend shops other than your own. Everyone else out there is working just as hard as you to make this industry great. We succeed together or fail together. Let's lift each other up.
How do you explain the difference in the effects of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid strains? Sativas generally inspire creativity and energy and are great treatment for nausea, migraines and depression. Indicas are more numbing and very sedative, perfect for insomnia, anxiety and chronic pain. Hybrids are a spectrum that ranges anywhere between the two. Some patients, particularly those with ADHD disorders (whether or not they've been diagnosed) experience the inverse. Sativas make them sleepy and Indicas jazz them up. It shouldn't take much experimentation to figure out which camp you're in.
What’s the largest amount of flower you have smoked in one setting? I just got back from Dope Cup Oregon 2015, and I probably had upwards of 15 dabs of some of the finest concentrates Oregon has to offer in a 4 hour period, not to mention the edible samples and dried bud. I actually had to sit down at one point.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years? I have my hopes and my fears. My hopes are that the hard-working entrepreneur shops are going to keep a community spirit going and that we are going to set an example to the rest of the country what cannabis users are capable of. My fears are that we are going to turn into a corporate game just like Big Pharma.
Do you use cannabis more so Medically or Recreationally? Explain please. Both. I got diagnosed with an ulcerative condition at the base of my esophagus when I was in my early 20's. It's really hard for me to eat without cannabis. But I also enjoy it.
Have any hobbies? Any examples you would like to share? I love music. I play disc golf. I am also an independent filmmaker. I've got a Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/undeadfilms) and if you punch my name (Mike Bazanele) into Amazon.com, I've got a few DVDs of my work available for sale.
Where can people connect with you? Instagram? Massroots? IG: @studboyslim
What are you most grateful for today? Today I'm grateful for my beautiful wife. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me, and she's been happening to me for over 15 years now, which makes me the luckiest man alive.