Journeys of the Wandering Stoner
Do you ever wonder what it is like to work in the cannabis industry? Or what it’s like to walk up, excited to go work at a place some people would consider a dream job. Well, I have that dream job and let me tell you my story of how I started working for Smokey’s.
It was the fall of 2009, I was just finishing up my last semester of college out in Nebraska when I got “the call” and yes that call was from an owner of a medical marijuana dispensary. The call kind of caught me off guard, I really had no idea that Colorado was a medical state. I mean I had heard of people getting a medical marijuana card but I had no idea that there were shops that actually legally sold cannabis. So after a nice long talk, I was on board with the idea. Really I had no idea what I was getting into, but as a person that really had no clue what he was going to do after college this move made sense. So I packed up all my stuff and moved back to the wonderful state of Colorado.
I started working that December of 2009. My first job title was a Budtender, and I remember thinking it was so cool to be called a budtender. Someone who sits behind a counter full of so many different marijuana products, and is able to talk with people and learn little things about people and cannabis products that you wouldn’t ever experience at another job. I just thought it was so cool. Starting as a budtender was really great for me, it taught me so much about marijuana- things that I really don’t think I would have ever learned otherwise. Simple things like the different between Indica and Sativa, and that you can pretty much infuse anything with marijuana. Also that there are so many different cannabinoids that are beneficial for many different ailments. Basically, being a budtender educated me in the world of cannabis. As the company grew it started to create other job opportunities, those opportunities were mine for the taking, and I didn’t hesitate to take advantage. I was soon promoted to store manager of our location in Garden City. It was there were I truly fell in love with this industry and knew that this was something I was going to do for a lifetime.
With my promotion, there was so much I had to learn. Being a budtender I learned how to sell the product, but as a manager you learn so much more. Managing in a new industry was not easy, I truly had to make it up as I went because there really wasn’t any precedent to follow. And yes, I learned things the hard way but is that not the story of life? I only worked that position for a few months but what I learned from that will stick with me a lifetime. Being manager opened up the door for me to start working in the grow, the job I really wanted to do when I was offered the opportunity to work in this great industry. So as the transition started from retail store manager to grower I had to wear multiple hats, these hats consisted training a new manager while also receiving training from the grower at the time. Luckily we had good people in place to step up and learn quickly, which made my training of the new manager fairly easy.
At this time in my Smokey’s history, I am in the grow working behind the scenes- getting my hands dirty doing some true manual labor. Yes, everyone thinks that growing marijuana is so easy and all you have to do is give a plant water and it will become this beautiful thing we know as cannabis, ganja, or whatever people are calling it these days. I learned that it’s not that easy, in fact growing is pretty difficult and if you don’t have your big boy pants on then really you’re not going to make it in the grow. Let’s just say the job never really stops when you’re working in the grow, but this job is by far the most rewarding work I had done so far in the company. Working in the grow gave me a sense of accomplishment.
What I mean by that, is you really get the first hand experience of watching a plant grow from start to finish, knowing you helped nurture it to the final smokeable product. Seeing a plant in such a small vegetative state grow into this beautiful and intoxicating plant that produces these buds of jaw dropping beauty is the perfect satisfaction. Not every plant is a true beauty, you do come across your ugly ducklings and those are the plants you learn from. Those are the plants that make you work harder and challenge yourself to be better. Being a grower was something I loved doing, but you can’t always do what you love. The company at this point was getting the great news that Colorado would be legalizing cannabis, opening the door for recreational sales. We all know that Amendment 64 was a game changer for everyone that worked in the industry. What it did for me, was basically put me in a position to become the face of Smokey’s, as I was the only person that had the opportunity to work all of the different jobs within the company. Being the face basically meant that I was a PR guy, so I started to attend city council meetings which led to being an active member of the Garden City Business Association.
With legalization happening it lead to a lot of media coverage, everybody wanted to get a story to share. That helped me in developing skills talking to people, being able to handle all the questions that people come up with, and answering those questions in a professional manner. PR is only one side of being the face, the other side is dealing with all of the vendors that this industry has created. Honestly, that really was the hardest part about being the face because you have so many people and companies creating great product and growing great weed, but don’t always have the room for every product. You have to be able to tell people no, but in a way that isn’t rude. The positive aspect of dealing with all the vendors is that you meet some really cool and down to earth people. Also, you get first dibs on all the samples these vendors bring to you and who doesn’t love samples, especially ones that get you high. Now being the face of the company has brought me to where I am today. Really if I look back on the last six and half years I wouldn’t change a damn thing. My journey at Smokey’s has set me up for what I am planning to do now. What I am going to do now, is going to change my life forever and I am so happy that I get to take Smokey’s with me as I travel South America for six months. You may ask how am I going to take Smokey’s with me to South America, well friends, I will be sending in blogs keeping everyone up-to-date on the Journeys of the Wandering Stoner. I will be trying to get other cultural perspectives on cannabis- both the positive and negative. I hope to experience some really unique interactions with the people I come across on my journeys, so stay tuned for my next rant will be coming from Ecuador.
These blogs are written by Smokey's 4:20 House friends and staff. Please feel free to read, comment, and share!!