Welcome to our brand new blog! We’re kicking things off with the first in a series we’re calling Canna Conversations. The focus of our inaugural piece is Centeria Hall - a (now former**) budtender in Los Angeles, CA. She was an early adopter of Rogue Paq and has been a pioneer in the cannabis industry.
Rogue Paq (RP): Can you detail the job of a budtender and what’s your favorite aspect of the job?Centeria Hall (CH): The job of a budtender, without inflating it too much, is a combination of doctor, pharmacist, therapist and teacher. We not only ask about what flavor profile a customer likes, we take the time to ask people what they are feeling and go from there. We understand that a customer will put this into their body and so it is important to us to be informed.
My favorite part of the job is acquiring the knowledge. I love learning. I was a sociology major and so I am trained to want to know WHY. WHY does cannabis make you feel a certain way and WHY does a person seek that feeling. Oddly, there’s a lot of convincing in this role. People come in and aren’t sure if they even want to try it. They are looking to us for permission in many cases and also guidance.
RP: What tips can you offer cannabis customers so that they can avoid frustrating their budtender and also avoid looking like amateurs?
CH: Four things come to mind immediately:
1 - Before you come in, try to do some research first. When we ask, “how can I help you” you’d be surprised at how many folks respond, “I don’t know.” For instance, consider your preferred mode of consumption. Do you want to smoke/vape/eat? Help us help you.
2 - Don’t act aggressive. We understand that many people come in because they are in pain or frustrated and looking for relief, but please don’t take that out on us. We want to help you. Talk to us and tell us what you hope to gain from the experience.
3 - Don’t assume that someone’s gender determines how much they know about the plant. It’s everyone’s job to know, for instance, if cannabis can help curb menstrual cramps. My male colleagues know about these topics because it’s their job to be informed. Similarly, don’t assume males know more about the plant simply because they are male.
4 - Say thank you. We care and we are passionate and we put everything into helping you.
RP: You smoke, you vape, you dab. What is your favorite method of cannabis consumption and in what environment do you most like to partake?
CH: I will always be a flower child. There’s nothing that can compare in my opinion. I like to roll my own and hemparillos are my favorite medium. Rolling is so self contained. Vaping is convenient but I don’t prefer the high. There’s only one vape that I’m fond of which is the Dart Absolute Extract. It’s my favorite because it uses live resin pods. For me, no other vape has been comparable. It’s the closest you can get to cannabis flower.
Dabbing is cool but I can’t seem to stay in butane. There is no comparison in strength though. It’s such a strong effect that you can’t do it often and be productive. The first time I took a dab it was at a shop. They had a promotion that you get a free dab if you buy something. I took the dab and didn’t even smoke the weed I bought that day. Dabbing is an art and a science in order to get the feeling you prefer and not get obliterated. When I roll, I always know what to expect.
RP: What was your first experience with cannabis and what has led to your great appreciation of the plant?
CH: My first experience was when I was 17. I tried it once but was already against it in my mind. My mom had an unhealthy relationship to several substances and so I actively avoided them all. Then at 19 I was reintroduced to cannabis and it came as a great relief to me. At the time I had many competing responsibilities - like splitting the rent and bills with my mom, and paying for and attending school full time. Slowly but surely smoking cannabis became a daily release for me. I no longer felt that it would rob me of my control. Even better, it helped me recapture my innate self. Before life got so serious, I used to be super silly and that part of my personality had just vanished. Smoking joints brought that back for me.
RP: We hear that you are going to be transitioning roles soon to something very, very exciting. What can you tell us about your upcoming gig and how does it make you feel to start something brand new?
CH: I don’t want to jinx it but I can tell you I’ll be working in the first place of its kind. We are pioneers and this should be documented. I’m excited because I’m all about destigmatization and normalizing cannabis and this place will further that end. I don’t care about restarting. I don’t care about peoples’ opinions. In each new role and at each new place I’m building transferable job skills within this industry. We are already out here doing all of this un-chartered stuff and that’s something to be proud of so I will never doubt myself and you should never doubt yourself. We are going to go down in history as the people who wrote the blueprints for this industry.
**This interview was done prior to Centeria beginning her role as Flower Host at the new Lowell Cafe - the first cannabis cafe in America. Next month we will feature another interview with Centeria where she gives us her impressions of her new gig. We can’t wait to share her experience with you.