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Photo by Wyatt Early

Budtender of the Month: Ellie Mckenna

The patients have become really good friends of mine. We can talk about anything, from Cannabis to life itself.

Originally from Baltimore, off to Florida for a few years, and now right back to her roots here in the 410 – Ellie Mckenna brings a lot more than a smiling face to the Blair Wellness Center storefront. You know when you have that favorite budtender, someone you genuinely look forward to seeing and talking to when in the dispensary? That’s Ellie. She takes pride in being able to give patients and adult-use customers the knowledge they crave, while making them feel comfortable exploring new territory in the Cannabis field. From EDM shows all the way to the dispensary floor, Ellie is bringing an exciting and welcoming energy that creates an environment everyone wants to be a part of.

From a health and wellness perspective, what is your reason for using medical Cannabis?
I definitely use Cannabis for anxiety and elevating my mood. It helps regulate my day-to-day life, making me able to be a normal person and do normal things. It really helps me to regulate my emotions and eat correctly. I am a big believer in Cannabis being used for health and wellness.

How did you get your start in the Cannabis industry?
I started in 2021, basically after lockdown wasn’t so harsh anymore. I was a licensed cosmetologist previously and started to get burned out on that. Cannabis has always been a passion of mine, so I started at Herbiculture in Montgomery County. In 2022 I came here to Blair, and I’ve been here ever since. 

What do you like about working at Blair Wellness?
I love the culture here … the fact that we’re really just a huge family, more than anything. It’s not just work – I get to come in and see my best friends every day. It makes work a lot easier and more enjoyable when you get to be surrounded by people you know and love. Also, the patients have become really good friends of mine since I have been here for so long. We can talk about anything, from Cannabis to life itself.

What are your goals in this industry?
I love being a budtender because I am a people person – that’s what I liked so much about cosmetology. I really enjoy being able to help people. I’d like to continue to promote the health and wellness aspect, and educate people about products from that standpoint. 

If you could smoke with any celebrity, who would it be and why?
Mac Miller. I feel like he is somebody that I could sit down and smoke with, listen to some of his music, and become the best of friends. He is one of my favorite people. If it wasn’t Mac, it would be Taylor Swift.

What is your favorite movie genre to watch while stoned?
As morbid as it sounds, I like horror. Like ‘48 Hour’ mystery things that make my brain work a little bit while I’m watching. I am not too big of a TV person, but if I’m not watching that genre, ‘Bob’s Burgers’ is definitely my go-to.

What kind of energy do you bring to the dispensary?
The impression I try to make on customers is being personable. A lot of people are anxious about purchasing Cannabis and feel like they are doing something wrong. I like to help people feel more comfortable in the store, and put a smile on their face. Even with recreational customers, I feel like people are still using Cannabis medicinally whether they know it or not. I don’t want to make it seem like I know more than anybody, but I want to make purchasing Cannabis more approachable for the everyday smoker.

Photos by @errlywyatt

About Wyatt Early

Wyatt is a Maryland native, stoner by nature, obsessor of hash rosin. After getting his start in the printing industry with a family company, he took on the role as state director for Maryland Leaf, and frequently contributes to the magazine with photos and articles.

This article was originally published in the January 2024 issue of Maryland Leaf.

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