Budtender Interview #10 - Nikki
Budtender | California
Name: Nikki D
Which state do you work in?: California
Name of Dispensary: Humboldt Patient Resource Center
How long have you been a Budtender? 1 ½ years
Retail, Medical or Both? Medical
How did you get into the Industry? Learned everything I could about cannabis and started attending a lot of cups and expos. At one point in time the collective I work for now had a volunteer program and the budtender at the time asked if my partner and I wanted to volunteer in the medical garden. Of course we said yes and we came every weekday for over a year. Eventually a budtender position opened up and it's been pure bliss ever since :-)
What is your favorite aspect about being a Budtender? It's always amazed me that cannabis brings everyone together regardless of age, sex, race or any other way you want to classify people. Knowing that what I do makes a difference in the lives of people in my community means the world. I know what I do helps because the patients tell us every day about how cannabis has improved the quality of life for them and for their loved ones.
The funniest moment you have had at work, with a customer or job related?: We had a new patient sign up one time who smelled like he might be under the influence of alcohol. We weren't able to help him but he was talking to us for a minute and another budtender nudges me and points out the giant wet spot on the front of the patient's pants. Yep, definitley soiled himself. I had to walk away to contain my laughter and ironically enough that same patient ended up stealing one of our sample jars and has never come back.
Most random question somebody has asked you about cannabis? I had someone purchase a CBD rich tincture and then ask me how much to give their small dog. Only thing I could say was “That's a question for your veterinarian sir we have a hard enough time finding an accurate starting dose for people.”
Favorite Strain and why?: This question is damn near impossible to answer because I enjoy a variety of different strains for different reasons and at different times of day BUT if I had to pick one to rule them all … it's gonna have to be OG. And I think San Fernando Valley OG has got to be my favorite phenotype, it has a great balance of pine & kush flavors, it lowers my eyes and relaxes my muscles without necessarily being sedating. I can smoke it all day and feel just right.
Do you like edibles? If so, what is your favorite and why? I LOVE edibles!!! Again, so hard to pick a favorite but I have to say I hold a special place for Kiva bars. Like a typical female I LOVE chocolate and these edibles have NO cannabis taste. The milk chocolate Irish cream bar is an absolute perfect balance between the chocolate and the mint and I normally hatethose two things together. They have also been consistent in lab testing which is a HUGE deal for me---nothing is worse than a mislabeled/represented edible.
Advice for others wanting to work in the Industry? There are two things you need to do if you want to get into this industry: first you need to get up on your cannabis knowledge-get a subscription to High Times and Skunk Magazine, pick up grow books, get on the forums like grasscity and start learning everythingyou can. Second, you need to get involved in the cannabis community—join your local chapter of NORML, go to cannabis cups and expos, check in with dispensaries to see if they have events or classes or volunteer opportunities. You're guaranteed to meet some amazing people along the way.
Do you have an Instagram? If so, what is your user name? Yes, it's @Humsticky.
Is there anything you would like to see improve in the industry? There are several things. Lab testing of all products for pesticide, mold/mildew levels, residual solvents, and terpene analysis in addition to potency testing. IMO it's a must and it's just plain responsible. Better practices with regards to edibles; there is a HUGE problem, particularly in Southern California, with the correct labeling and accurate lab testing of edibles. I can't tell you how many times I've been given an edible at a cup, told it was 100mg (which should put me on my butt) and it doesn't do a thing. Dispensaries and edible manufacturers need to be more responsible and get things lab tested (which should be coming in 2016 with the new regulations CA is passing) and other states need starting up a legal cannabis market need to consider this. Finally, as a whole the industry needs to start focusing more on CBD, CBG, and THCV dominant strains and breeders need to stop hoarding these medically valuable genetics.
What are the best perks about your job? First and foremost, I'm privileged to meet and assist a diverse number of patients every day who have the most interesting lives and stories. I've also got to meet a ton of great people within the industry—authors, edible & concentrate producers, growers & breeders and many others who are shaping the industry in California and beyond. Finally, the employee discount is pretty sweet and it definitely saves me some money :-)
Do you use cannabis medically? Yes for stress, anxiety, and body pain.
What is your favorite movie? The Harry Potter Series, particularly The Goblet of Fire. That just narrowly beats out Star Wars by the way.
What is your favorite hobby? (Provide links if you have art work) Cooking! I love to eat and I love cooking and baking for family and friends.
What is the #1 thing you are most grateful for? The opportunity to make a living doing what I am most passionate about in life. I've liked my job before, but this is the first time in my life I'm doing the thing I love most and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world.