Diaries of a Budtender by Robert Wasmund

Friendship is the best Helping Hand

Budtenders are often overlooked as just stoners that can keep a job. We are often dismissed as glorified cashiers. There are times in my job that I would agree with that, but there are moments that define why I became a Budtender in the first place. 

I decided to start this series to talk more about those moments. That’s not to say that I won’t use this series as a way to vent about the inner workings of the industry from time to time. That is not the purpose of this series of articles. 

As with all things, there is an air of negativity in the cannabis industry. We are fighting 60 years of false propaganda. We are only starting to understand cannabis from a scientific view. Even though it’s legal, we still have to be concerned about Federal backlash. These stresses compounded with just trying to run a business can wear anyone down.

Let’s take a moment to remember why we fought for legalization in the first place.

I was working at a startup retail store in Washington in the first year of legalization. An older man came in and walked up to the counter. We’ll call him “Will.” Older customers are my favorite because they are usually new to cannabis and ask a lot of questions. 

As Will walks up to me, I noticed that his eyes looked as if he had not been sleeping or had been crying. He was dressed like a classic “Grandpa”. I ask him, “How are we doing today?”

Will responded, “Not the best. I’m hoping you can help me.”

His tired eyes and desperate stare told me that this was very serious.

“I hope I can as well. What can I do for you?” I reply.

He places his elbows on the counter and leaning over, he takes a deep sigh.

“My son is on dope. Heroin. He is trying to get off of it and I’m very proud of him, but he is in so much pain right now. He has good moments and bad moments. He is in a bad moment. I don’t know anything about any of this,” He gestured to the displays, “I don’t even really drink. Is there anything I can do to help him make it to the other side of this”

“I’m sorry to hear that. It’s hard to make the decision to quit. Do you mind if I ask a few questions?”

He nods, “Yeah.”

In my most compassionate voice, I say, “First, I have to let you know that I am not a Doctor or a medical professional. I cannot make a diagnosis or treatment plan. I’m only going to tell you what works for me and others that I personally know.”

“You know someone who went through this?” He asked hopefully.

I lean in on my elbows next to him over the counter. “Honestly, Yes. I was addicted as a teenager. Unfortunately, it defined a lot of my past, but it is beatable.” I take a deep breath, “BUT… nothing in this store is going to guarantee that he will get clean. That is ultimately up to him.” 

Will lifted his chin proudly, “I know. He wanted this. He asked me to help him.”

“Well, you can’t ask for better than that.” As I turned to grab some selections

“When I was going through withdrawals I found that heavy indicas helped me the best. Not because of any medical benefits, but because it would cause me to fall asleep or forget that I was miserable.” I lay down a selection of classic indicas like OG Kush, Grand Daddy Purple, Sherbet and such.

“None of these will be cure-alls and none of these will guarantee results. I just know that being asleep and dumb was better for me than awake and in pain.”

He chooses an 8th of one of my selections, Thanks me and leaves.

Over the course of a few weeks, Will would come back with feedback from his son and we would adjust which strains he was trying. He told me that his son started counseling as well. Will was just a concerned Father who loved his son. 

After a few more weeks, Will stopped coming in. It was business as usual and I eventually forgot about Will and his son.

About 2 months later Will and his son come into the store. Will immediately smiles and points me out to his son. They walk up to me and Will says, “I really wanted you to meet my son.”

We introduce each other and his son begins to tell me how much I helped him and his dad. He proceeds to tell me that even though the strains I suggested helped him, he wanted to thank me for helping his Dad get through this tough time. That meeting me and seeing that someone can quit and understood the struggle gave his Dad hope. 

It’s moments like this that I became a Budtender. Helping someone find exactly what they need or want is why I love my job. 

Author: Robert Wasmund


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