Since Arizona voters passed Proposition 207 in November 2020, legalizing recreational marijuana, dispensaries have established themselves throughout Tucson. Arizona dispensaries began selling recreational marijuana in January 2021. Now, Tucson has 17 locations dispensing marijuana.
In a new feature, budtenders will discuss their experiences working in the rapidly growing industry. This week’s budtender is Michelle Montejano, manager and budtender at Desert Bloom Releaf Center:
Tell us about your career in the cannabis industry.
I’ve been in this industry for just about six years now and I’ve gotten a front row seat to the madness. I got my start in extraction, then packaging, from there I moved on to wholesale sales, budtending and onto retail management. I networked, learned as much as I could and worked hard to apply it to my everyday tasks in order to turn a passion into a career. This industry is ever changing and the comparison of products from then to now is surreal; regulations and laws included, but through all of it the one goal that remains is creating products consumers can trust. Budtending is the epitome of this, building a connection with those in your community and ensuring that they are leaving with safe and secure medicine.
What types of cannabis products do you specialize in? (Such as flower, prerolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, etc.)
As a budtender I specialize in all types of cannabis, it is my job to educate and offer the consumer a variety of products as well as methods of use to better fit their needs. Personally, I enjoy edibles and can give more of an insight to what they may be like for the consumer based on personal use, but I make it a point to familiarize myself with all products to recommend exactly what they are asking for.
What are your favorite memories being behind the counter?
Definitely the connections you are able to make with people within your own community. Essentially, they are coming to you in hopes of feeling better; physically, mentally or just trying to turn a bad day into a good one. Being a part of that for so many people really makes it all worth it.
What is the oddest request for a product or oddest infused flavor for an edible you have had?
Oddest request for a product would probably be an aphrodisiac. Although we might not carry everything that comes to mind, if you can think of it, it probably exists somewhere in the cannabis industry.
What does ordering a hybrid, indica, or sativa say about a person?
That’s tricky because they really don’t determine much about a person, more so what kind of day they are looking to have. For example, someone with a busy day ahead of them might be more inclined to purchase a sativa or hybrid for the start of their day because of the option to medicate and manage pain without feeling mentally and physically bogged down, and lean more towards indica at the end of their day to take advantage of the relaxing, sedative and calming effects indicas have to offer at home in a more comfortable setting.
What is the difference between, hybrid, indica and sativa?
Typically, sativa strains are used throughout the day, in more energetic settings, to enhance creativity and boost your mood. Indicas produce more calming effects, used to treat things such as severe or chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia. Perfect for evening use and activities that don’t require physical activity. Lastly, hybrids are known as the best of both worlds sharing both indica and sativa genetics. Making them a go-to for those looking for something to use during the day but may also want to manage pain and anxiety.
What’s your best piece of advice for people wanting to get into the business?
For anyone looking to get into this industry, the only piece of advice I can offer is get your foot in the door any way you can, and work hard. Assert yourself, network and do your research. Really educate yourself on all things cannabis, the chemistry behind the plant, methods of use, products, rules, regulations, compliance, etc. With the expanding cannabis market there will always be a niche to fill.
Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center
8060 E. 22nd Street, Suite 108
7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday