Because marijuana has been illegal for almost all of recent history, its consumers have always been social outliers. With legalization comes a cultural shift in that regard, but as far as the people working in the industry now — based on enthusiasm that pre-dates legalization — it seems like you’re still dealing with a lot of weirdos. This has been of great comfort to me. I’ve always looked for work where freaks are accepted and when I started working in legal weed I was worried I would have to stop being weird.
I hadn’t been a budtender long when I realized this was not the case. I quickly found myself immersed in a culture of peculiar individuals. To get a look at the unique people working in cannabis I talked with a few that I have met.
Marley Guerrero was a regular at the first pot shop I worked at, and then a coworker at Hollyweed 907. Marley works at The Green Room now.
What makes you a unique fixture in the local cannabis industry?
I definitely feel like I’m very memorable. As soon as you walk in I’m like normally one of the first people you see in most shops, and I’ve worked at a lot of different shops so that probably helps too. So they’re like “Oh, well you’re here now,” and so it’s just like that. There’s just something about me that like, grabs people’s attention, I guess, I dunno, a lot of people do remember me and I think that could be my customer service, or, I dunno, just, how I dress.
Do you find you run into a lot of like minded people working in cannabis?
Of course. Everyone. There’s a lot of great people in the industry and even just customers in general. That’s what draws me into the industry, cause like, people have a lot of different stories and it’s interesting to listen to them and once you interact with the customers, and the other employees it just is like, wow. You know, it’s so diverse.
Do you find people in the cannabis industry to be pretty welcoming?
Of course. I mean, like, it’s weed, we all just wanna hang out and chill, at the end of the day. I don’t see how it couldn’t be, really.
AJ Colding is a gregarious and exceedingly popular member of the crew at Hollyweed 907. A part time budtender, technically I work with him but like most of the staff I see him as some kind of phantom, just a really fun one. A lot of customers know him from his YouTube channel (AJ Colding) where he posts entertainment commentary. One of the funniest things about having AJ on staff is, he’s the only budtender I’ve ever met who doesn’t smoke weed.
Why does everybody love you, AJ?
Oh Shit. Um, I will say I think it’s because a what you see is what you get kind of thing, if there’s no like hidden agendas, then it’s just a fun time being with me, so people love, they love fuckin’ witch ya boy.
What kind of presence do you bring to the cannabis industry?
I think it’s just a fun time. Like, I mean, those short minutes that you’re in there buying, I’m gonna crack a joke. The regulars, we do our regular bullshitting and, even though it’s a short interaction, like I would say Jane, I know her daughter, so when her daughter comes in I’m asking how Jane’s doing if Jane’s not there, ask me how grandma’s doing with COVID and all that stuff. So it’s just like building rapport with regulars.
What’s something fun for you working in a shop?
I guess the only thing that brings a lot of good memories is just people noticing me from videos, even with the mask on, getting compliments and stuff. I think me and Jane started bonding over that, other than that, I’m not really excited about working [laughs].
Lindsey Worner is a maelstrom of mermaid hair, Adventure Time tattoos, and clothes with unicorns, rainbows, and dinosaurs.
All right, Lindsey, why are you so weird?
I dunno, I feel like everyone’s weird in their own way. I’m just, colorful, and bright, I don’t know, that’s the thing people notice about me. Is that I’m colorful.
Do you think that there are a lot of unique people in the cannabis industry?
Yes. You meet all kinds of people in the cannabis industry.
And why do you think there are so many unique people in the industry?
I think that stoners are unique, because, smoking weed brings out more of our personality, more of our creative side, the weirdness about us. I think we all embrace our weirdness, and that’s why you find weird people in the cannabis industry.
Do you think it’s important to be a little bit peculiar to work in cannabis?
I think it’s important to be a little bit peculiar all the time, in any job, because you can relate to all different people that way.
Jack Kerouac has a flowery and elaborate quote about how the only people for him are "the mad ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”
For a while, wherever I went I had a poster with that quote on my wall so I’d see it on waking. I was moving around a lot and racking up strange friends everywhere I went, and fearful of the time I would lose that. But I realize now I don’t have to ride a Greyhound Bus 15 hours to see what interesting people I’ll find.
I just drive to work.