Reymon Brown has always loved cannabis and wanted to parlay it into a career, especially as he saw his home state of Massachusetts legalize adult use. He decided to pursue a budtending job to get a crash course in the business as he explores the possibility of getting into the ownership side through a social equity program.
As a budtender, he strives to develop relationships with customers. His style has earned him the Oaksterdam Community Advocacy Award, which “recognizes the budtender who is educated on the history of prohibition and works to ensure that everyone has the right to safe, legal access to medicinal and adult use cannabis. This budtender goes over and above, in words and actions, to educate and advocate for patients, consumers, and the community.”
How budtenders approach their customers can either feel hostile or relieving to new consumers. Due to Reymon’s style, customers often wait longer to be helped by him, and he has developed a following.
“I can ease people over that hump of anxiety when they walk through the door. One of the first things I do when someone is visibly nervous is say, ‘First things first. Take a deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out. You are about to buy some weed.’ This always makes them laugh and start to relax.”
From there, he starts with an easy, open-ended question, “What are you looking for?” If the customer is still unsure, he asks what sort of ingestion method they are interested in, followed by whether or not they plan to consume during the day or at night. At this point, they open up and provide more insight into how they feel and would like to feel.
He is cautious not to try to push products but instead find what works for the customer’s goals. He believes that if a customer has a positive outcome, they will be loyal repeat customers, which is more valuable than a one-time sale.
Community and education are significant parts of his approach to the industry in general. Coming from the US East Coast, he says there is not as deep of an understanding of the budtending world as there is in the West. Independent of his work as a budtender, he founded a pop-up membership social club designed to provide a safe space for cannabis enthusiasts, budtenders, or anybody in the industry and culture to get educated about cannabis, even non-consumers.
This community education approach has helped make him an exceptional budtender.
“I basically take that education, slow it down, and put it into terms customized for my customer. That’s how I advocate for everyone,” he says. “When it comes to this plant, I just like helping people. I didn’t have that kind of help when I started and had to learn a lot of new things. I want to feed that out. I shouldn’t be the only one ‘in the know.’”
Reymon Brown is among budtenders across the country featured in Oaksterdam University’s new “Budtender’s Guide: A Reference Manual for Dispensary Professionals and Cannabis Consumers.” Learn more about this comprehensive guide to cannabis use, products and effects, and order your copy here.