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Green Ridge Apothecary’s Michael Adamson

"Making people feel comfortable and creating a community was my first job."

Fletcher Wold

“From a young age, I have always taken care of people,” says Budtender of the Month Michael Adamson. “I was raised in Sheridan, Oregon around the funeral industry. So I saw a lot of loss due to alcoholism and drug abuse. What affected me most was seeing the people left behind. Generations of families had no way to cope without doing more harm to themselves. In my twenties, after my Grandmother passed away, I had a complete breakdown and hid from the world. Cannabis helped me socialize again and then I began selling it to afford my medicine. Although it was illegal at the time, I felt taking the risk to get it into the hands of people that needed it was more important. This was until I was robbed and had to rethink my future. I decided to go into caregiving. I worked for PCL for 11 years.” 

“My specialty was crisis stabilization. I stayed with it for years, despite experiencing burnout, because I didn’t see any other opportunity to help people. Then October 2016 came and I started working at Greenridge Apothecary, a dispensary. This was the opportunity I was looking for. I loved learning about Cannabis and being surrounded by passionate people. Making people feel comfortable and creating a community was my first job. Matching people up with the medicine that takes away their suffering – helping a Marine vet sleep throughout the night or enticing a cancer patient to eat.”

“This was my calling as a healer. As I get older, I would like to help more people. I love the community I’ve formed in McMinnville – but I’d like to help change the taboos around Cannabis in places that need it.”

In what ways has Cannabis been instrumental in helping your overall quality of life?

Cannabis helps me move and stretch. I also use it when I feel anxious around large groups of people. I could get through life without it, but at that point, I would just be surviving instead of living a quality life.

How have you helped make sure that medical patients have had access to Cannabis in the past?

I would make a lot of edibles and experiment with different processing methods to make the cannabinoids more bioavailable. A pickle is a lot more acceptable than a cloud of smoke when a patient lives in an apartment.

Why is it important to educate yourself as a budtender?

The destruction and pain I still see when I look outside at people shooting up fentanyl and tweaking on meth. People that can’t live their life outside without anxiety attacks. When a customer brings me a marionberry pie to thank me for helping her husband get out of bed and live his life after chemo. This is why I do what I do.

Why is it important to educate yourself as a budtender?

I feel like there are three types of people helping you at a dispensary these days…

1. Weed Barista: They were just hired to take the money and hand the products out. They know very little about Cannabis and many of them don’t even use it. It’s just a retail job for them.

2. Budtender: They use Cannabis, they love Cannabis. They have some customer service skills. They know the differences between strains and can help match you with what you need if you can answer their questions, like – how do you want to feel, how much would you like to spend, how would you like to imbibe?

3. Cannabis Sommelier: This person has a mastery of customer service skills. They take their time to talk with you and even counsel if needed. They know the endocannabinoid system. They can read a terp profile and know what the high will be before even smelling the flower or concentrate. They have an understanding of all the products in the shop, because they have experimented with them or have anecdotal evidence from customers. They are reading research papers on new studies about cannabinoids. I think no matter what you do in life, you should be passionate about it and try to be the best to your abilities – educating yourself is the most important tool in doing that.

Photos by @fwold_photography

About Max Early

Max Early is the State Director of Oregon Leaf Magazine. In this role, Max looks after/coordinates/manages/leads a team providing insight into all aspects of the cannabis industry, including processing and producing knowledge. Solventless concentrates are a quintessential part of his day-to-day life and help him stay balanced. Cannabis has impacted his existence and many close loved ones in such a positive way that he can't imagine life without it!

This article was originally published in the October 2021 issue of Oregon Leaf.

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