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Getting Happy with Zara Smelcer

“You have to be personable … caring is a big part of the job.”

After three years working as a budtender, Zara Smelcer has earned her position as Canna Get Happy Anchorage’s store manager. Despite her promotion, Smelcer says her favorite part of the job is getting behind the counter and serving customers. We caught up with the former psychology major to talk about selling flower, self-care and what makes a great budtender.

How did you first enter the Cannabis industry?
Honestly? I was going through a divorce and was looking for a second job to make sure I could keep my house. Although I had just started using Cannabis, I thought it would be a cool job. When I went to my first dispensary, they were cool as fuck and I immediately felt comfortable there. So, I just kept going back and bugged the manager to hire me.

You first tried Cannabis at the tender age of 27. What was it like getting high for the first time as an adult?
Well, I was definitely using it kind of badly at first. Like, I would just smoke and then lay on the couch and snack. But then I learned about sativas and how they could be mood and energy boosters. I started using them to help get me to the gym and I ended up becoming a whole lot hotter (laughs).

You know what they say – Cannabis heals.
For sure!

What is your go-to flower?
Definitely Fuzzy Bear and Lemon Ice Pucker from Greengo. They’re both light and happy strains that give me the energy to power through the day.

Now that you’re a manager, what are you looking for in a good budtender?
You have to be personable. Ultimately, weed sells itself. People who come to the dispensary are there to buy weed, so you don’t have to convince them to do anything. But to make sure they come back, you have to create a fun vibe and genuinely listen to them. Caring is a big part of the job. I feel like that’s something I do well, so I still spend about 80% of my day working with customers. I really love it!

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long workday?
Right now, I am really focused on learning how to podcast. I’m actually going for another degree in media and journalism, just so I can learn how to run a successful podcast.

What is your future podcast going to be about?
I want it to be me and Joe Rogan just talking about nothing. Like the Seinfeld of the podcast world (laughs).

Photos by @ShipeShots

About OHara Shipe

OHara was born in the frigid north with skates on her feet and a hockey stick in her hand. Now a retired pro athlete, she has found her passion for covering all things Cannabis in her home state of Alaska.

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of Alaska Leaf.

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