Dispensary: Colorado Dispensary Services
Patient since: 2009
Astrological sign: 1st day of Capricorn (or the day after the Mayan apocalypse)
Embarrassing childhood nickname: Apey face
Three things can't live without: Family, friends, and Twitter
Life Motto: You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
How long working in MMJ: Since 2009
How did you get your start?
I had been bartending for a few years and feeling really unfulfilled. I was also battling migraines and back pain from being a skinny guy trying to throw around kegs and ice buckets. My best friend from college opened a dispensary across the street from my apartment and I knew it was a sign. They needed help getting organized, but soon I was there full time, helping with marketing and budtending. When I started getting involved in advocacy, I met Jill Lamoureux and saw what a commitment CDS had to making things fair for everyone, from patients to caregivers to dispensaries. Joining this team has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
What is your favorite part about working with medical cannabis?
Working in a field where you can make a difference every day you go to work. Patients depend on me for more than just opening jars and weighing buds. It's my responsibility to know their condition, what strains they respond to, and to educate them about every product we have in the store. On a macro level, we as an industry influence ordinances, regulations, and legislation. Patients who shop at CDS support the hours and hours we dedicate to being a voice for their rights.
What makes your center and your team unique?
Our flagship store opened in 2008 and was the first dispensary in Boulder, making this our 4th anniversary. We've grown to four locations (now in University Hills, Uptown and Wheat Ridge) because of our truly exceptional staff. Google us and read the reviews: patients come back because we know our medicine. Our medicine is 100% CDS grown in two facilities, to ensure quality, consistency and variety. We're one of the only dispensaries that prices based on grow time. Strains that take 70+ days are a little more expensive, but our fastest finishers are bargains. There's great value at every level and we make what we should, not what we could.
Where do you see yourself progressing in the cannabis industry?
I'd always like to be more involved with politics. Rules and regulations are being made without thought of the serious ramifications they have for those with life threatening conditions. Laws are being considered without a basis in science. If we don't want to be treated like second-class citizens, we have to stand up and be accounted for. I feel like if I keep going, then maybe one more person will, too.
What is one of your favorite moments behind the counter?
I had a patient come in, assisted by her son and daughter, who had been battling cancer. You could see it on all of their faces. I started off slowly, talking about her condition and various intake methods. She absolutely OWNED me. She had done all of the research, knew the strains, and cracked jokes the entire time. I'm not sure I've laughed as hard since. It was also one of my worst moments behind the counter, finding out she had passed. Her red card hadn't even arrived yet.
What do you do in your free time when you aren't helping patients?
I'm a freelance writer, always looking for the next gig. Most of the writing I do in my free time revolves around comedy or tacos. We kind of ran out of Taco Tuesdays to review, so we might start holding taco-eating contests soon. I'm not a big drinker, so I'm usually on the pool table or jukebox when I go out. But most of the time I'm at CDS Uptown.
What is your favorite strain or med, why?
Tangerine Haze is way up there for me because it can kill a migraine without knocking me out, which used to be one of my only options. The mental effect is so creative and outgoing that I can actually be more productive without the come down of a heavy indica. Aesthetics are important, too, and I love when a strains name matches the nose and taste. It's a perfect 3 out of 3 for me.
What changes would you like to see?
Two things: less regulation on private caregivers and fair treatment for dispensaries. Caregivers are losing battles left and right, but they do some of the hardest work for patients who need it the most. That's how CDS started: helping patients on a small scale. Banking and tax issues for centers have only grown over the past two years. This should be something we can fix, but we're at a standstill.