Ploy Lorenz has worked at Sweet Relief in Northport, Maine since it first opened in early 2018 as a medical dispensary. In October of 2020, Sweet Relief was among the first stores in Maine to open its doors to adult-use consumers, and Ploy was right there taking care of a growing clientele of Cannabis connoisseurs and patients. It’s a long way from her home country of Thailand, but her connection to the plant world has proven to be a constant and sustaining presence in her life.
What was your first experience with Cannabis, and how did you become involved in this industry?
My husband first introduced it to me over 12 years ago, after we met. ‘Ganja,’ as it’s known in Thailand, had been made out to be an evil drug and I never used it growing up. I first began helping my husband on his medical farm when he decided to make a go at the craft Cannabis industry. We have been running our medical store for two and a half years now and our recreational store for the last eight months.
You grew up working on a family farm in Thailand. How does that experience and your Asian heritage influence the way you work?
My aunt owns a large longan plantation. When the fruit season hits and the longans are ripe, everyone works from dawn till dusk harvesting. We all pitch in and the harvest is always a success. Most of the longan are canned for storage and out-of-season enjoyment. There is only one harvest season per year – much like growing Cannabis in Maine. So when our buds ripen, it’s not a problem for me to help with long days of harvest.
What are the qualities of a good budtender?
I think that a good budtender needs to get a feel for the customer as quickly as possible. I need to be able to understand what they are looking for and what may help them better. If they provide me with some information, I can go from there, and help them choose the right item for their needs.
What are some of the common mistakes a budtender should never make?
Haha! It’s hard to say. A good budtender remains in compliance at all times – for the store and the customers. Any inventory oversight is a serious problem in this industry, so focus and being meticulous are a must. You must always be friendly and prepared to help, or else be prepared for the bad reviews!
When a new customer walks in the door, how will you help them decide what to select?
I try my best to ask them what they look for, and what helps them the most. If they have had some experience with Cannabis before, I will surely be able to help them make a good choice. It can be challenging introducing edibles to a first-time user, and trying to help them understand dosing and the awkward edible time lag.
Maine just became legal recreationally. What advice do you give to the first-time Cannabis user who doesn’t know where to start?
I can assure them that they will be experts before the first jar of gummies is gone, as long as they start low and go slow. Respect the gummies, respect the time lag, and don’t re-up beyond 10mg – no matter what, for the first one to two occasions. That will keep them safe. As far as smoking and vaping, they’ll know when they have had enough! I recommend one to two hits, and to wait three to five minutes before any more puffs.
What is one of the highlights of your job?
Meeting new people and helping to improve their day. And seeing them return again with a big smile!
Is there a specific day or customer that really stands out in your experience as a budtender?
The Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve and 4/20 are really great days as a budtender. I am prepared for them to be busy and extra fun. Everyone is looking to have a great time and feel good. It makes my job fun!
What is your favorite way to consume and what are your favorite varieties/straquestionins?
I like the GG4 that I grow myself, and then my own OG Kush. I like to use a small clean bubbler, and I like to have just one or two nice fresh green hits. Edibles usually put me to sleep.
Address: 1 Priest Rd, Northport, ME 04849
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