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Lux Pot Shops’ David Clare

"I think our jobs as budtenders are to help remove the stigma around the plant."

He’s a brilliant macro-photographer who showcases his amazing images on his IG page. Also an accomplished saxophonist who’s been playing for 27 years, David Clare sees budtending similar to the freeform of playing jazz music when it comes to recommending the best products from behind the counter. 

You’ve been budtending for about six years now, so this notoriety is well-deserved!
Yes, I enjoy the front-facing customer role. Helping people get the right product is important to me. 

You seem to have an intuitive love for the medical side of Cannabis.
I’m intuitive to the educational aspect. I think our jobs as budtenders are to help remove the stigma around the plant by helping people understand that Cannabis is different for each person. I believe that buying Cannabis should be more like buying fine wine – just like a sommelier learns your taste in wine, your budtender should learn your taste in Cannabis. 

We both know that the stigma is a glacier that is going to slowly melt with time. How much of that stigma do you still see coming in through the doors of the beautiful Lux?
Every day. It’s a continuing conversation we’re going to have to have for a long time, as you mentioned. There’s no traditional documentation that explains the scientific aspect of Cannabis well – there’s still just the word of mouth of the living history of pot. It’s an uphill battle and one I love to do every day. There are sativas that aren’t going to make you anxious, there are indicas that will be relaxing without throttling you. It’s simple, there are different types of highs within those categories. Once you start breaking down the differences, people begin to understand that the plant is multi-faceted.

What’s the difference between a good budtender and a great budtender?
One of the things that a lot of budtenders don’t do is look directly at the customer when they are making suggestions. That’s the big tell. If I’m describing something to a person and I get an eye roll, or I’m not being engaged upon with eye contact, then I know that’s probably not the strain they’re looking for due to my description. It’s easy to get distracted in the shop, but the customer must come first. They are the ones paying the bills. 

If you could smoke a joint with any musician, who would be the lucky player?
Dave Brubeck, bar none. ‘Time Out’ is one of my favorite jazz albums of all time. Most jazz is written in 4/4 of course, but all his is written in different time signatures. For instance, the famous song ‘Take Five’ is written in 5/4, so there are five beats per measure as opposed to four. And ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk,’ which is the first song on the album, is written in 6/8 – typically a time signature that most jazz composers stay away from, but Brubeck proved it can be done.

Photos by @nwleaf

About Mike Ricker

The first time Ricker smoked weed was at a Santana concert at the age of 12. He then followed in his footsteps as an award-winning radio personality who became notorious for offering a stage for bong toking listeners in 9 different markets over 20 years. In 2016, the Cannabis industry came calling and the rest is history.

This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of Northwest Leaf.

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