Women Who Budtend: A Spotlight on The Pass Women Budtenders
Cannabis has a diverse consumer market, so it stands to reason that those selling the product should represent those buying it. That’s exactly what the women of The Pass retail team are striving for. There can be a lot of intimidation when it comes to entering a cannabis dispensary for the first time. New surroundings in a new industry with old stigmas means that dispensaries have to work for the public’s trust a little harder than most industries. That’s why Dispensary Supervisor Kate Sollanek feels it’s so important to have friendly and supportive women behind the counter.
“It would be fantastic to have this industry feel much more enthusiastic about having women owned and operated, and women-run businesses,” said Kate, “And I think a friendly, smiley, feminine face is alleviating to a lot of people.”
The cannabis industry is still striving to meet ideal diversity standards, and the goal of a wholly equitable industry for all is something of the future. Part of this inequity with women in the cannabis industry is a centuries long oppression of the working woman, leaving a stigma that permeates into today. However, another aspect of this is the societal stigma cannabis still holds, despite it being legalized. Educating the community about cannabis is half the battle in ridding its stigma, so for many women who have either general or gender-specific questions about what cannabis can provide for them, of course it’s going to be easier if someone who better understands their wants and needs is there to teach them.
Dispensary Shift Lead Regan Carroll remarks on having diversity behind the counter when saying, “I think having that option is important. Here at The Pass we just want to make people comfortable.”
Comfort is a main player in the learning process, and that newfound knowledge begets more comfort, until cannabis becomes a seamless part of society. One thing that unites the retail staff, regardless of gender, is a steadfast passion for cannabis. Without this passion, the women of The Pass may not feel inspired to overcome the current gender inequality we see in the industry. But if there’s one thing that rings true about cannabis, it’s that every race, gender, age, and sexual orientation already has cannabis enthusiasts, and also people looking to partake but are too overwhelmed or worried to start.
Kate sums up her and our other budtenders’ purpose perfectly, saying “I’m absolutely passionate about cannabis. I’m passionate about its education, its development, making sure that everybody understands their journey in cannabis, which is not always an easy journey to have… To be able to give them that guidance with a friendly smile and a ‘please contact me if you have any questions when you leave,’ is so important.”