Adventures in Cannabis with Tony from Cannabis Trainers

In an effort to cultivate community, compliance, and chuckles, Trax Team Solutions will be featuring various cannabis industry stakeholders in what we call, “Adventures In Cannabis.”

“Tony, please tell us about your wildest and/or favorite experience working in the cannabis industry thus far.”

Experiences working with the cannabis consuming public can range from blissful to severe annoyance – much like any general public-facing position. However, the large difference that sets working in a cannabis milieu apart is that we, as a society, don’t really have as much of a base of knowledge or grasp of what these products are and are not – and what they can do or not do.  While I coach that no matter the person you’re serving, they are always to be treated with respect and they are to be given as much of a “white-glove” experience as one can muster..

Sometimes – even that simple ideal can be trying.

It isn’t very often that I am able to work “the front lines” behind the counter as a budtender, because training and building curriculum hold the lion’s share of my duties, but it is an experience that I relish and one that fulfills a very special need I have to interact with the cannabis consuming public to get an idea for what their needs are and how current products made available to them are meeting their needs.  

Protip: If you have the chance to serve as a budtender in your organization, take that opportunity any time you can get it – it will give you a new perspective on how the rest of the world views us and the products we are so passionate about.  That perspective will serve you well in any capacity and oftentimes I reach back and use the experiences I’ve had 1:1 with the cannabis consuming public to inform important decisions I am faced with in my current capacity.

One such experience I use to illustrate how important it is to provide great service to ALL guests is also one of my favorites to share around the campfire when people in my social circles ask me what it’s like to work in the burgeoning cannabis industry.

The retail cannabis dispensary I was working for at the time had somewhere in the vicinity of 30 strains of flower on tap at any given time, so it was not uncommon for our guests to succumb to “analysis paralysis” while trying to navigate the menu and gather the words they needed to describe the effects they were looking for – often times standing there like a “wook caught in the deadlights”.  

This exact situation was happening to a young lady I was helping on her first-ever trip to an above-board cannabis retailer.  She was visiting us from one of the most rural parts of the American Midwest and to say that she was completely bowled over in awe would be an understatement.

I get it, we all have nervous tics that we execute when our brains are overstimulated with information – clicking pens, twiddling thumbs, tapping on counters, incessant chatting – but the pacifier this woman landed on was a first for me.

She took one of her well-manicured dreadlocks and began twirling it while she perused the menu and it wasn’t until she got about halfway through the entire list when she took that dreadlock that she had been so carefully toying and put it in her mouth like a Camelbak mouthpiece.


“Can I take a look at the New York Sour Diesel…”


“…and maybe that Golden Goat too”


I, very professionally and stoically, obliged her request without my face giving away the horrors of what I just saw.

Mind you, good relations with the Wookies I have (like Yoda in Star Wars: Episode 3).  In fact, there was a time in my life where I shared a residence with a dready trumpeter in an Afro-Jazz fusion band who kept a sugar-glider in his locks – but this was on a whole new level for me.

Great service triumphed that day – she ended up coming back for multiple visits throughout her entire stay in Colorado and wrote our dispensary a couple really glowing reviews.  Had I faltered in my service or given up the ghost on what was going through my mind as she stood there and nervously masticated her locks, those dividends would not have paid off.




Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 2.37.06 PMTony Tarbox
SellSmart Facilitator| Cannabis Trainers

Tony is a 5 year veteran of the legal cannabis industry in Colorado and a 15-year veteran radio broadcast professional.  Tony uses his disarming demeanor and communication skill set to train cannabis staff all over the state in the intersection of compliance and service.  He lives in Boulder with his wife, dog and cat and most recently caught his first trout on a fly! Here’s to more trout and more cannabis, Tony!




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