Pride at The Pass: A Budtender Q&A
The Pass will soon feature in a piece with EDGE Media, the largest network of local LGTBQ+ news and entertainment in the world. EDGE is a group of journalists dedicated to the presentation of local and national news and information in a fair, entertaining, non-conglomerate format. The piece with The Pass involves a broader scope of our budtenders’ jobs and the importance of making customers feel welcomed at a cannabis dispensary, and EDGE asked a few LGBTQ+ specific questions to some of our budtenders that shed light on the importance of inclusion and representation within the industry. Here’s that conversation:
Why is LGBTQ+ representation important in the cannabis industry?
Don Gibbs: “There were LGBTQ+ members standing up to legalize medical cannabis all those years ago in California. And as long as weed has been on the streets, and in a party scene. So have we. “Stoners” and “queers” have been marginalized and disenfranchised as losers, low lives, and counter culture for decades.”
Angela Genovesi: “LGBTQ+ representation is important everywhere, but here at The Pass, we want everyone to know they are welcome. No matter shape, size, color or sexual orientation, we are all human, and cannabis is for each and every one of us. As an employee here, I feel comfortable knowing there is diversity on our team! We are people from different places and different lives who all have one thing in common; A love for cannabis!”
What does it mean to be an LGBTQ+ friendly budtender at The Pass?
Sean Whelan: “It means you understand the inclusive nature of cannabis and have compassion and respect for your customers and co-workers as the beautiful people they are.”
Kyle Lallatin: “Being LGBTQ+ friendly at The Pass is slightly different than showing your LGBTQ+ pride-allyship at a yoga center or school. First, every dispensary will tell you that pre-orders must match the name on your identification or they cannot sell the pre-order. If your name does not match your ID, you must bear with being dead-named for the convenience of pre-ordering cannabis. At The Pass, when someone comes to the counter and their name does not have a pre-order available, we will lead them over to an in-store line and add their preferred names either as a note or a new customer profile so that someone does not have to worry about being dead-named or misgendered. Second, members of our Diversity Committee worked with a local organization, BRIDGE (Berkshire Resources for Integration of Diverse Groups through Education) for a multi-fold purpose.
First, Diversity members got to experience a primer on identity politics, inclusive language, and the effect of minority representation in the professional workplace.
Second, it established a base-line of language that some members went on to teach to other coworkers, gradually ensuring that everyone at The Pass had a knowledge base around inclusion and diversity.
Third, being an inclusive budtender means, to me at least, believing that in the same way there’s a perfect strain or product for someone to bring comfort and relief to their daily life, there’s a perfect match for every person that rounds out their life just the same. People find the experience they want in all sorts of topicals, tinctures, and the myriad of strains we find in flower. Love and companionship should be approached with the same open, welcoming, and passionate energy.”
Ryan Harrington: “We have the pleasure of working with folks from every demographic. I have coworkers whose life experiences are radically different from my own, and mine is radically different than theirs. Since meeting these folks, I’ve always felt comfortable asking and answering questions in an effort to familiarize myself as much as I can with those experiences. This dialogue is vastly important, whether as a The Pass budtender or everyday human being, as it leads to a curious, inclusive and non-judgemental society that’s comfortable for everyone involved.”
If there is a product at The Pass that encompasses the many colors and shades of the LGBTQ+ community, what would it be and why?
Sean Whelan: “I’d say our flower best represents the LGBTQ+ community with its diverse colors and effects. Every strain is different but there is something to appreciate about all of them.”
Kyle Lallatin: “A product that encompasses the many colors and shades of our Community, for me, would be the Tropical Gummies. The flavor is reminiscent of a dreamy beach holiday in Provincetown or a lovely shared drink after a long day, if that’s how one unwinds. The sugar on the outside provides a nice galvanizing energetic boost before the THC kicks in and settles any volatile feelings into a pleasant relaxing lull.”