Budtenders are an important part of a legal cannabis experience for any person, whether they’re a newbie or a seasoned pro. These professionals can give important feedback, tips, and help consumers find the perfect strain or product for their needs, something that’s integral in an industry that boasts a plethora of products and methods of use.
Like some other industries that operate in a legal or societal grey area, notably sexuality, people working in dispensaries have often had to accrue knowledge of cannabis science and empathy in helping both medical patients and recreational users independently. This results in vast differences in quality of service, misinformation being spread, and no guarantee that the information or recommendations Budtenders give is accurate. But a Portland-based Budtender is hoping to change that.
“I believe there is a great vacuum in the industry when it comes to cannabis science and education, specifically with the dispensary,” Emma Chasen, whose work includes developing the budtender training and education program used today at Farma Dispensary, told the Portland Mercury. “For budtenders to have zero training on cannabis science and empathetic patient care is inexcusable,” she added. “This is why it is my mission to take my budtender training program and offer courses to the community.” And that she is.
Chasen has previously won Willamette Week’s Budtender of the Year Award in 2016, and her background includes a degree from Brown University in medicinal plant research and time coordinating clinical oncology trials with the Brown University Oncology Research Group, which she left after her supervisor refused a cannabis trial in favor of an expensive pharmaceutical drug. She has joined forces with the Sativa Science Club to offer a multi-week intensive. It will focus on cannabis history, evolution, botany, biochemistry, physiology, product knowledge, empathetic patient care, best retail practices and compliance. More can be learned about the program here.