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Science and Sales: Budtender Boot Camp Hits Portland

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On a recent visit to a Portland dispensary, I explained to the budtender what I wanted and why. She asked a few relevant questions, thought for a moment, flipped through a notebook of her own making, then finally said: “I’ve got it.”

I could not have been happier with the results.

The experience forever changed my idea of what a budtender is and how their input can help one make a possibly complicated decision.

For that reason, a recent story in the Portland Mercury caught my eye.

Emma Chasen, whose work includes developing the budtender education and training program used today at the well-known Farma Dispensary in Portland, will offer a Budtender Boot Camp starting on July 14.

Chasen will join forces with the Sativa Science Club for this comprehensive multi-week program which will focus on cannabis history, evolution, botany, biochemistry, physiology, product knowledge, empathetic patient care, best retail practices and compliance.

In addition to having been recognized as Willamette Week’s Budtender of the Year for 2016, Chasen has the science education to back herself up.

After graduating from Brown University in 2014 with a degree in medicinal plant research, Chasen went on to coordinate clinical oncology trials with the Brown University Oncology Research Group.

When her supervisor refused a cannabis trial in favor of another expensive pharmaceutical drug, she quit and headed across the country to Portland, where she ended up at Farma, an award-winning dispensary known to take a more scientific approach to cannabis.

“I believe there is a great vacuum in the industry when it comes to cannabis science and education, specifically with the dispensary,” Chasen told the Portland Mercury.

Chasen says she wants to share her knowledge as a way to help patients reframe their relationship with cannabis as medicine, while elevating the importance of the budtending profession.

“For budtenders to have zero training on cannabis science and empathetic patient care is inexcusable,” she said. “This is why it is my mission to take my budtender training program and offer courses to the community.”

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