The Evolution of Cannabis Consulting with Goose Duarte

Head shot of Goose Duarte

Goose Duarte, San Francisco Bay Area

Goose Duarte has worked at the forefront of the legal cannabis industry since its emergence in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 2000s. He has helped define the role of a budtender in the world’s pioneering dispensaries. Today he is the director of operations at Oaksterdam University. 

Goose worked in almost every position at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, from inventory, stocking, product displays, check-in and registration, budtender, and management. 

Harborside created and followed strict procedures that have served as a model for other dispensaries around the globe. During a decade rising through the ranks at Harborside, Goose helped establish innovative practices that have been adopted by the growing industry and embedded in international dispensary culture.

Goose Duarte explains the six-step sales process Harborside “patient consultants” used in the dispensary. 

“As a patient consultant, you would never say, ‘oh, you should buy this.’ You could say, ‘Those with similar needs use this product, and they report that they like it,’” he says.

Goose outlines Harborside’s six-step consultation and sale process:

  1. Assess demeanor: “You can tell a lot about customers by how they approach the counter. Observe whether they are in a hurry and seem to know exactly what they want or if they appear confused and overwhelmed.” 
  2. Ask about experience: New consumers will have a lower tolerance and possibly negative perceptions of cannabis. Others will be long-time users or connoisseurs. “If you are a first-time consumer, we will explain things differently than if you are an avid consumer and you have used it all your life.” 
  3. Determine needs: “Once you know a consumer’s experience level, you can find out what effects they seek. That helps assess whether to encourage them to try edibles or flowers, and eventually vaporizer pens, drinks, patches, or tinctures. We would give them a little tour of the display case, show them what kind of products we have, how to identify them, and how to read the labels.”   
  4. Ask how much they would like to spend: Some consumers want quantity, while others seek quality. Show them a selection of products based on the price they can afford. 
  5. Let them make their selections: Once questions have been answered and products described, give them time to choose.
  6. Ring them up: The final step is to close the transaction. Make sure every item is properly scanned and bagged, collect payment, and count change accurately.

This content is an excerpt from Oaksterdam’s Budtender’s Guide: A Reference Manual for Dispensary Professionals and Cannabis Consumers

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