Why Canadian budtenders can’t really assist consumers

Published Mar 8, 2023 10:14 a.m. ET
Unsplash / Cova Software 

Canadian cannabis enthusiasts know what it’s like to shop in a legal dispensary these days, and the experience doesn’t always live up to our expectations.

If you’re a parent, you’ll need to find childcare just to stock up on some flower even though you would never have that barrier if your preferred option was alcohol. Those who dreamt of the day they could walk into a pot shop and feel, sniff, or sample all of the products available are also wholly disappointed, now that the closest thing they get is a nailed-down glass jar containing a few fragments of incredibly dried-out flower that no longer smells or looks the way it should.

Anyone requiring a high dose edible is out of luck unless they want to spend a small fortune buying as many as they can to make up the difference and even with modern aesthetics, there’s something about the average store that just feels cold and unwelcoming, which is a whole different vibe than the friendly stoner experience you might have been expecting.

In many cases, shoppers are required to stop at the door and provide photo identification before ever setting eyes on a single product, a strange requirement to simply enter a shop that sells a plant that is entirely safe. There is still plenty of work to be done before the average connoisseur will be completely satisfied by what dispensaries have to offer, but the biggest aggravation we see visitors voice is regarding their local budtenders.

What are budtenders doing wrong?

These amazing people are often fully equipped to handle any inquiry complete with a friendly smile and a wave, but they aren’t going to ask you too many questions about how they can help you to find the best cannabis products, and you’ll almost never find one who actively offers up recommendations based on anything beyond genetics, flavor, or smell.

When customers show up with a true medical issue, like back pain, anxiety, or headaches, they’re left speechless when their budtender doesn’t offer up a list of recommended products or strains. The same is true for anyone in search of a specific type of experience, such as uplifting, sedating, or even motivating. Instead, they may get a shrug, feel brushed off, be ignored, or they might be told the reason why budtenders are so tight-lipped during these transactions.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just some fluke or a stroke of bad luck on your part. It’s just the way things are right now, and there isn’t much these professionals can do to change it. Their hands are tied by the very agencies and regulatory bodies that should be working to help improve the quality of education available to consumers.

Why they aren’t as engaged as consumers may expect

In Canada, budtenders are limited in terms of the information they can offer to customers. They are not allowed to suggest certain strains or products to use to treat specific medical conditions and even if they could, most would have no idea where to begin, because they aren’t required to be trained in that way before serving at dispensaries. Many are younger, with minimal personal experience or research under their belts, and the majority have no formal education on anything beyond how to safely sell cannabis to visitors.

Our goal in highlighting this issue isn’t to attack budtenders personally or even to cause a stir that might change these laws, regulations, and limitations (though it sure would be nice). Instead, we’re advocating for empathy, understanding and compassion from consumers who aren’t getting the experience they’d hoped for.

Is it legal to use psychedelics in Canada


Related posts