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FS6 – Budtenders Are The Cannabis Industry’s Biggest Influencers

By June 10, 2022September 15th, 2022No Comments

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Tuesday afternoon I had a software demo and was surprised to see the company’s CEO was on the call too. Before I could say anything she interrupted the SDR to tell me she loves Free Smoke and wants a hoodie. I told her “I got you! As long as you’re the first person to catch my typo* when this week’s issue goes out”. Good luck and god speed, let’s get into Free Smoke:

*I spell budtender as one word with no hyphen and that doesn’t count, nice try.

“They stick around kicking out feedback,
And I entertain it as if I need that”
– Drake, Say What’s Real

Budtenders rule the world (or at least the cannabis industry)

I have no source on this data point, it comes from a contact close to one of the large data players in cannabis. They’re still cleaning the raw data and I’m told it’s not perfect but very close:

70% of consumers entering a dispensary walk out with at least 1 product they did not plan to buy when they came in.

Soak that up for a second.

More than 2/3rds of every single consumer who walks in, new or not, is walking out with a product they weren’t planning to buy.

Everyone of those transactions, that’s 70% of all retail transactions, is an opportunity for attachment of an additional sku, introduction to a new brand, and more. These late stage decisions are not only influenced by budtenders – but guided by them. The scale of these impulse decisions shines a light on how much influence budtenders truly have among all cannabis consumers, not just new ones. This is exactly why I consider cannabis a hospitality industry.

People love comparing cannabis to other industries and I’ve got news for you: Budtenders aren’t bartenders, store clerks, or waiters. They’re guides for a complex range of products that in many cases vary by batch. If I had to label it today, I’d call it a cross between a Concierge and a Sommelier. A hybrid if you will.

In a hotel, the concierge is your personal tour guide, shopper, and all the above. You’re in a new city, and they’re there to get you whatever you need and wherever you need to go. Moreover, even if you’re a regular in the city, the concierge knows what’s happening downtown tonight. They know about the new restaurant that just opened 3 blocks over, and they know what pizza spot will make you a meat lovers pizza w/ vegan cheese.

Sommeliers are trained in all the nuance of cultivars, terroir, regions, and complex combination of all those things that create the wines we have today. The elephant in the room is of course the inconsistency of budtender knowledge. The cannabis ecosystem in it’s current form doesn’t exactly support exhaustive training curriculums for front-lines and confusion about sativa/indica dilutes the value of experiential knowledge in a lot of cases.

I say all this to say one thing: Tip your budtenders

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​Things That Matter

  • Stiiizy secures a loan of up to $170M and continues their dominance [Link]
  • Dutchie, the darling of Bend Oregon, laid off 8% of it’s team (but still has more than 700 people somehow?) [Link]
  • Cannabis workers having trouble getting mortgages is making headlines and I’d like to welcome them to the party. You guys just get here? [Link]
  • OnFleet, routing software used by a lot of delivery services, raised $23M. I’m hoping they can use some of this $ to get a support team with better then 48 hour turnaround cuz it’s currently a joke [Link]
  • A new study shows that most cannabis is consumed for wellness (I consume for the vibes, mostly) [Link]
  • Weed is legal in Thailand [Link]

Weed is legal in Thailand

In The Streets

  • Big Al’s dropped some new strains including Blue Ztarburzt [Link]
  • For Pride month, Cann dropped some new flavors in their Lite line and a music video w/ Weedmaps? [Link]
  • In a plot twist, Rose Delights dropped mushroom flavored edibles [Link]
  • Alien Labs new solventless hash “Galactic” gummies dropped [Link]

“Galactic” seems about right for these

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Someday, Bellini..

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