I want to talk about this because as of yet I haven’t really had this experience myself. I have had a few budtenders which I have taken to and who have been generally kind to me, but compared to negative experiences this is rare.
There are so many aspects to the exchange a patient has with the place and the person they get their meds through. Those exchanges can mean so much, speaking personally. I have days where the only person who asks me about my day or how I am is my budtender. I have days where I am carrying a lot and they are considerate enough to ask what’s up.
But unfortunately, I encounter a lot of impersonalness, lack of education, and general rudeness as well. There are many dispensaries and dispensary employees who actively disrespect me by calling me out of my name or giving me trouble because I am transgender.
I have no choice when I get my meds but to disclose so that I am not mistreated or bothered just for being who I am and know myself to be.
If you are unaware many trans people change their names from their given name but this is a tedious, expensive, and in some cases very humiliating and public process. It is also very malicious to use an old name for someone especially intentionally or repeatedly etc.
So for this to be a common issue for me when I frequent these establishments, tell them better from the beginning, clearly dress and behave conventionally feminine, and have a very distinct look seems strange.
I am not forgettable and even if I was a patient I deserve dignity like everybody else. I have gone improperly diagnosed for years because of medical racism and transphobia and now the same forces are working within legal cannabis to keep me from having dignity and peace even in what should be an ideal medical environment for me.
I have lost relatives due to medical negligence. This is a common reality for Black people and one which you could google and find instances of at all financial levels and all social strata. With particular emphasis on those of marginalized gender experiences.
This shit is so deep and I hate that some people will get lost in the weeds on this one and some of my other work which points to the relationship between these very real aspects of people’s lives which impact how they are treated in general and in cannabis.
And this is of course before having even really gotten into a dialogue about the bulk of what I think a good budtender really is and what that experience is like.
I wanted to be honest about my negative experiences because there are some industry standard and locally specific issues even beyond the scope of my personal experiences. So in my mind not being honest about my experience in these structures would only do injustice to people who should know the truth and know that there is still much room to improve.
Even if we all say it in different words I think a lot of us feel that there is and has been an ascending off key note in the cannabis community, filling the still air. I would dare say that there are even many such discordant sounds amongst our otherwise harmonious melodies. But the button line is clear: most everybody is unhappy with the way things are.
I don’t like patronizing restaurants, stores, or other businesses that are known to harass customers who are Black, in the same way I don’t like going to a dispensary where I will be disrespected in a way that would be out of the question in any other circumstances.
It is tedious to be Black and also trans and also a woman and also disabled and trying to live a full life. I am confident and happy. I’m beloved as a wife and a sister and I feel very complete. But I also am a breathing human and I have lived a life full of this sort of multilateral harassment at every corner, since I was a child. It is tedious to experience things and be expected to smile and beg for more, especially when those asking you to do so would never do so themselves.
I have simple shit that gets made complicated, uncomfortable, unsafe, or just plain ridiculous for me all the time. It’s baffling that people can be so dense and uncaring sometimes and also be in a position where there are serious ailments being cared for and real people. I don’t think it’s that hard to try to be decent; I think it’s rather easy actually.
So here is what I see an Ideal budtender experience being like:
I approach the counter and begin speaking with whoever is serving me
They ask me how I am doing and how they can help me/ if I have anything in mind already.
I am given time to think and decide what I want if something is not yet on my mind and to deliberate about which product I’d like based on whatever criteria I have at that time
If I am curious about the smell or appearance of something I am given an opportunity to compare side by side or see some testers or possibly some advice about an edge or note worthy distinction
I choose my product
We exchange have a nice days and I receive my receipts and what not
I would love to even be more personal and chop it up and ask lots of questions and take my time. But I recognize that there is a limit to how much that could be possible when lots of people need their meds. Still I would appreciate an increase in the time some were willing to engage and converse because the rushed interactions really make me feel not good.
I wouldn’t want my pharmacist going “here take these and get out” so I definitely wouldn’t want a budtender that is pressing me to speed up my deliberation when my medicine corresponds to a variety of fluid needs and I am not a rich woman. In any other situation it would surely be rude as hell to force someone through a process where their choice impacts their experience so directly.
I think that there is something personal about this exchange and that positive exchanges and relationships between tenders and employees is key to providing people with the best.
I certainly believe there is much room to improve and that these issues I experience are not limited to just the places I have visited and lived and interacted with these structures through.
I also think I would love to see more adventurous budtenders. I want to hear about all the different products and to be able to do that I imagine that you’d have to try at least a couple items from each class. But that’s not the impression I get from a lot of these cats.
It’s really unfortunate that I can’t have that exchange because this is supposed to be one of the only places I can really talk fully freely and in depth about cannabis. I have tried every sort of cannabis product in every form and every configuration I possibly could and I am determined to fill in the blanks and go where no one has gone before too.
I want to know the fullness of what cannabis can offer so why would I not try it in as many distinct ways as possible to better understand what different cannabis realities can look and feel like.
I am personally as thorough as possible and I certainly carry that in my cannabis life. I try my best to absorb as much knowledge and understanding as possible. To pay as close attention to as many details and intricacies as I possibly can in the hopes of being able to cohesively understand cannabis and the many cultures and communities within it.
I want to use that understanding to offer an improved version of our cannabis world and to help others learn and grow as well.
I know my experiences are not all experiences but I know there is much dispensary disapproval nationwide from patients and that there is more we can be doing.
I hope this post offers some helpful information and insights. This is a very personal and candid piece and I have made it that way in the hopes of moving towards change.
I hope you continue to check out my work and that you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it!