Secrets of a weed shop employee

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

People make wild assumptions about what goes on inside a weed shop. But it’s not the lawless, smoke-infused free-for-all you might be imagining; the environment at Durango Organics is both regulated and professional. To enter, you need to show ID (21 and older), there are cameras in the store with live feed to the Durango Police Department, and you’re definitely not allowed to get high on the job. Adam Clapp has worked as a budtender at Durango Organics for more than one and a half years. He knows all the tips and tricks (having trouble remembering the difference between indica and sativa? When you pronounce indica, think “in da couch,” because that’s the mellow, sink-into-the-couch one). We asked him some questions we’ve always had about the weed biz.

If somebody has never tried it, how do you recommend they ingest cannabis for their first time?

That’s when we start laying down the questions. If they have zero experience, we ask if you’d rather eat a cookie or smoke, but we always recommend less is more. Five to 10 milligrams, even for seasoned smokers if they’re trying edibles for the first time, is what we recommend. Like, “I know you’ve been smoking for 40 years, but this cookie has quite a kick to it.”

Do you get weird questions from customers?

One frequent question that we get, mainly from females, is they’ll ask what’s good for intimacy. “Hey, what strain is going to get me in the mood … ?” My mind is blown every time. It’s extremely personal to what people like and how they do things! I usually try to gauge the customer, give it my best guess. We’ll have some people come in asking what the best strain for their cat is. We’ll tell them no, we can’t advocate that. Intoxicating animals is not the best idea. But they make versions, like tincture, which is a liquid-based cannabis-infused product, that’s really good for dogs and cats; it won’t get your animal high, but it still has all the medicinal value. If your pet has cancer or tumors or bad hot spots, it can help.

Do people ever come back and complain if they have a bad experience?

Absolutely. I can guarantee all of our budtenders recommend proper dosing and make sure people are leaving well-informed, but a lot of people won’t listen. Like, “I’m going to eat this whole cookie anyway. I’ve been smoking for 40 years.” And then they come back, and they’re like “I was way too high for like, two days!” It’s not our fault, it’s not their fault, it’s just a bad experience.

Any recommendation for what to do if you accidentally get too high?

Get a big glass of water, lay down on the couch and watch some TV. You’re in for the ride, so you might as well enjoy it. There’s not too much you can do, though there’s some remedies that will kind of help soften the high. There’s a company, Mary’s Medicinals, which makes a drink; if you’re too high, you can supposedly drink it and it will help you get sober quicker. Some people, we’ll ask if they’re interested in edibles, and they’ll say “absolutely never again.”

What’s the demographic of people who come in?

Young, old, men, women. As many people as you see that are young and just want to smoke some weed, you see a ton of older people who can barely walk, too. The oldest customers we have are probably upper-80s, potentially 90s. You see a little bit of everybody.

What’s your favorite method of getting high?

Are you familiar with dabbing? You can get a butane-extracted hash oil, or they’re starting to come out with new solventless methods. Just the THC gets extracted out of the organic plant matter; you basically heat up a little metal nail and you drop your oil on it, and it vaporizes. You can smoke that out of a bong or a little pen vaporizer. It’s mostly a vapor, so you don’t have to smoke as much because you’re getting a higher quantity of THC in one hit. One hit could be equivalent to smoking a whole joint to yourself. I’ve personally got baby lungs, I cough a ton when I smoke herb, so the whole dabbing aspect is beneficial to me. And for edibles, the high does last longer. That can be extremely beneficial on your days off. It works from your inside out, so those really help with pain management, or falling asleep and staying asleep if that’s what you need.

Do you think legalization has benefited Colorado communities?

It’s bringing a lot more tourism in, which is awesome. Studies have shown that teenage use has gone down ever since it’s been legalized. Everyone was worried that it would just be easier for kids to get it. But it’s been the opposite.

Are employees allowed to smoke at work?

No, absolutely not. People ask that all the time. I believe if an employee even brings their own marijuana product from outside in, the fines start in the tens of thousands. It’s not really like the Wild West that people make it out to be. It’s honestly way more regulated than alcohol at this point. All of our cameras have direct live feed to the local police department. They can access our footage anytime they want. I definitely understand the intense regulation; it’s a new thing. It’s a booming industry.

By Anya Jaremko-Greenwold, DGO Staff Writer

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