It’s another Swell Farmacy Budtender Spotlight! Every month, we feature one of our awesome budtenders as a way to help our readers and followers get to know Swell on a personal level.
We hold our company and our employees to a high standard (no pun intended) and our budtenders are not only passionate about their roles, but they’re educated on products, and how to match patients with the right medications for their individual needs. At Swell, we can say with confidence that we have the best budtenders around.
Featured Budtender: Brian K. from Swell Youngtown
How long have you been a budtender with Swell Farmacy?
Almost three years. January 2018 will be my three year anniversary as a budtender.
How long have you been working in the medical marijuana industry?
I have been working in the cannabis industry for three years—all three years at Swell.
What made you want to work in the canna-business?
In 2012, I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease Psoriatic Arthritis, as well as Glaucoma, an optical disease. My wife and I decided to relocate our family to Arizona in spring of 2013 to be closer to her family and to better my quality of life living with Psoriatic Arthritis. I have an amazing wife, Christy, and two daughters, Bree (12) and Kelley (10). Arizona happens to be one of the best states for my condition because of the climate, medical facilities, and alternative medicine options, such as medical marijuana.
When I was no longer able to work in my previous career as a Financial Aid Advisor due to my arthritis, I wanted to find something part time I was passionate about that would allow me to help others. As I began frequenting many of the Phoenix-area medical marijuana dispensaries, I realized that my heart was pulling me toward working in the medical marijuana industry. I have been an advocate and user of marijuana for more than 25 years, but the tough decision was choosing which aspect of the industry would best fit my desire to help other patients. I’d found that, when looking for answers from budtenders about medicinal options, the majority of dispensaries I visited left me disappointed. I often felt rushed and, thus, unable to make an educated purchase that would help me with my needs. I am fortunate that I had previous experience with marijuana and my knowledge is what helped me in terms of flower and edible purchases. Topicals, concentrates, and other options were all new to me and were never explained. After seeing certain concentrates and CBD products at the dispensaries, I’d gather my knowledge from YouTube videos.
This all changed after my first visit to Swell Youngtown. I will never forget it. Peter (one of Swell’s veteran employees) was my budtender and he totally changed my perception of dispensaries and what it meant to be a medical marijuana advocate. My questions were answered and I could feel the genuine sincerity of a person wanting me to make an educated purchase on the right products for my specific needs.
After visiting Swell a few more times, I decided that I wanted to try a part-time position as a budtender. I put out quite a few resumes and had many offers, but when I was offered a position at Swell, I knew that’s where I needed to be. I knew Swell was the right place for me to be able to help educate patients and make them feel the way I did after my first visit. At the time, Swell was in need of a full-time employee and I was only available for a part-time position, so I was concerned about how my interview would go. To my surprise, I was told that even though I could only work part time, I was wanted as part of the Swell family.
Although the door closed for me in the field of Financial Aid, a door in the medical marijuana industry at Swell opened and I cannot imagine being anywhere other than Swell. To me, Swell means the best in marijuana and patient service.
What did you do before you started working in cannabis?
I was a Financial Aid Advisor for 13 years at a community college in Kirtland, Ohio.
What’s your favorite part of being a budtender?
I love helping new patients, whether new to Swell or new to medical marijuana all together. I also love seeing and interacting with our regular patients—I feel that if I have done my job as a budtender, a new patient will become a regular patient at Swell. I also enjoy helping train new budtenders so they learn to give every patient the Swell experience.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to spend time with my children, ride my motorcycle, go on classic car cruises, and attend concerts and marijuana events. Music is a huge part of my life, too. I listen to all types of music, but my favorite genre is heavy metal. I play drums, which helps with my arthritis. I also enjoy reading.
What’s your preferred method of medicating?
My preferred and daily methods of medication are dabbing concentrates (e-nail) and vaporizing flower. I’m all about that vape!
What are your favorite strains/products?
My favorite flower strains are Swell Super White Buffalo, Swell Great White Shark, and Gromulan. My favorite concentrates are Kaboom by Canamo, and any Swell shatter or crumble. My favorite edibles are the Aunt Elie’s 150mg brownies and the new Swell Blue-Raspberry 75mg hard candies.
What advice do you have for people interested in getting an Arizona Medical Marijuana card?
My advice is to first be evaluated by a reputable MMJ certification clinic. Once your card is obtained and you visit a dispensary, ask questions. Let your budtender know your specific needs. Keep a log of what you have tried and what does and does not work for you. It may take many different strains and methods of marijuana administration to find what works best for you. Start with small dosages and experiment with different products. Be patient, it takes time to adjust to marijuana and to learn about all the different products and ways of administering. Although your budtender can advise and guide you, you will be your biggest advocate, so never stop educating yourself.