5 ways to thank your budtender on 4/20 and beyond


April 19, 2020

covid19, marijuana,

Tip 20%—minimum. (Leafly)

merica’s 243,000-strong cannabis workers have clocked in for an essential role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Resolve to thank them today, and going forward. Thank them at the point of sale later this month, and at the ballot box in November.

De facto deputized as health care workers, sometimes falling ill themselves—cannabis budtenders, and couriers have donned personal protective equipment to serve pain medication, seizure medication, help manage autism and PTSD.

Instead of just saying ‘don’t panic’, cannabis workers straight-up calmed and centered a reeling nation, in the middle of a storm.

Here’s how you pay them back, and pay it forward.

Stay out of stores on 4/20

Sorry—it’s the weirdest thing to say, but we can’t have lines at cannabis stores on Monday—the day of 4/20, the de facto global stoner holiday.

Hopefully, you’ve stocked up. If not, the stores will be open tomorrow and the days after.

For medical patients who truly must re-up—order online, for delivery, or curbside pickup. Don’t frequent a store if you have any symptoms of illness. Wear a face covering, even if you’re healthy. This is not a hoax. Tens of thousands of Americans have died.

Tip gratuitously

“Budtending is a shitty job,” quips Oakland Extracts owner Terryn Buxton, once a budtender at Harborside. “Everyone always asks the budtender, ‘What are you smoking on?’ The truth? None of this. I can’t afford it.”

Pandemic delivery tipping starts at 20%. Minimum. Dig deeper, if you should. (Do you still have a job? Getting a discount? Then you should.) Industry workers were counting on big 4/20 tips. Make every day 4/20 for them, and watch their face light up.

Beyond tipping—being nice always helps. For every chill wellness customer, cannabis workers see the sick and dying, not to mention the agitated and anxious; all day, every day.

Patience, please, and thank you goes a long way right now.

A manager at The Bloom Room on duty Wed. April 15 in San Francisco. (David Downs/Leafly)

A manager at The Bloom Room on duty Wed. April 15 in San Francisco. (David Downs/Leafly)

Support COVID-19 philanthropy

Chances are, your store, or one close by is trying to find ways to not only keep its people safe, but help others. The $10.73 billion cannabis industry has leaned into the national war on SARS-Cov-2.

Cannabis chemists are repurposing industrial extraction equipment to make hand sanitizer.

Thousands of licensed farmers, delivery services, and stores are sending a wave of PPE to local providers—masks in Nevada County, gowns in Santa Barbara, face shields in Berkeley, and food in San Diego.

North America’s cannabis stores have foodbanked for decades. Amid COVID-19, those conduits of care now surge to first responders and the needy.

In our country’s darkest hour in a century, all you see in the pictures of the care package deliveries is their smiles.

Register to vote

Cannabis businesses might be essential, but they’re not eligible for federal disaster relief. Why? Because more than 100 million Americans stayed home in the 2016 election, which was decided by about 70,000 votes.

Cannabis Voter Project can on-board you to voter registration. Vote pro-cannabis in every local, state, and federal election. The smaller the election, the more it counts. Leafly news, plus Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, and the Cannabis Voter Project is enough to stay looped in.

Vote for equality for cannabis workers, businesses

In the switch from illegal to essential—legal cannabis workers remain second-class citizens.

They’re denied modernity’s necessities: a bank account; a home loan. They’re often cannabis consumers, who face discrimination in education, housing, the courts, and ironically, healthcare.

Our frontliners should be venerated, not subjugated. It’s not just about voting weed legalization—but for federal disaster relief now. Tell your Congressperson to endorse including cannabis businesses in the CARES Act.

Furthermore, this year: tell your Congressperson to endorse legal banking, tax equality, and non-discrimination laws. Bills like the SAFE Banking Act are written, and waiting in the House and Senate.

Fixing cannabis business’ 80% effective tax rate, and normalizing banking means fatter paychecks this year for evcannabis workers, and more businesses to employ them.

Crises have a way of clarifying priorities. Many who we thought of the least—it’s now clear—deserve far more. They’re our first.

We can get through this with gratitude to them. And by responding in kind.

David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He’s written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns




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