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18 Things I Learned Working In A Legal Pot Shop

Here's what it's like working at San Francisco's Bloom Room as a "cannabis consultant."

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Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

After making a trip to visit Bloom Room as part of my tour of upscale San Francisco dispensaries, I thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes to see what it was really like working in the medical marijuana field. Fortunately, manager Stephen Rechif liked the idea, and invited me to spend a Friday afternoon with him and his team of cannabis consultants.

Here's what I learned:

1. Everyone was stoned.

The policy at Bloom Room is that employees can medicate as they please, and Stephen trusts that his employees know their own tolerance levels. Now, you might be thinking that everyone is just sitting around stoned and laughing, but that’s definitely not the case. Testing the medications is part of the job. Consultants need to be familiar with the strains that Bloom Room sells so that they can offer recommendations and advice to patients.

But yeah. Everyone was stoned.


2. Budtenders get free nugs for showing up to work on time.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

Stephen finds that free herb gives employees extra incentive to be punctual. Plus, it allows consultants stay familiar with strains currently being offered at the dispensary. Unfortunately, I was about 20 minutes late to my shift, so no nug for me. 😕

3. And the incentive program seems to work.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

While I was chatting with Eric, one of the cannabis consultant working that day, he said that he appreciates getting herb for showing up on time, but didn't personally need any extra incentive. "I can't stand it when people waste my time," he said, "I always try to be on time."

4. Most consultants got their jobs through Craigslist, or a referral from a friend who already worked at Bloom Room.

Bloom Room relies on employee referrals and the occasional Craigslist ad for recruitment. In fact, they're currently hiring. So spending hours stoned, browsing through Craigslist ads CAN be a good way to find a job!

5. Unlike Colorado, in San Francisco there are no tests or certifications in order to work as a cannabis consultant.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

You will need to have an active medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor, but there aren't as many legal hoops to jump through.

6. Processing the weed takes forever.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

Processing is the act of weighing new shipments of flowers, then bagging and labeling them, and keeping detailed documentation on the medications.


7. But the conversations and background music kept things from getting too boring.

Michelle Rial /BuzzFeed

Bagging weed seemed exciting when we got started, but after a few minutes it quickly became another monotonous task reminiscent of folding clothes or rolling napkin with silverware in them. Fortunately, the music was good, and the consultants were friendly and chatty.

8. And the medication is beautiful and fragrant.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

The above shot isn't one of their more premium flowers. Nugs called "littles" usually sell for a bit less than the top shelf strains. But even so, these little nugs were gorgeous to look at and heavenly to smell.

9. It takes less time labeling dime sacks if you put the sticker on BEFORE you stuff the bag with herb.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

Something I learned after struggling to get labels onto oddly shaped bags that I'd already filled with weed.

10. Every few minutes someone calls to ask how late they’re open.

Michelle Rial /BuzzFeed

While we were processing, Eric answered about two dozen phone calls, nearly all of which were pretty much the exact same: "What time do you close?" Apparently it's become a joke among the budtenders, who wonder why someone would take the time to call ON AN ACTUAL TELEPHONE when their hours are listed online.

11. Patient privacy is always a priority.

Most of my time at Bloom Room was spent in the back of the dispensary, away from the patients. I was able to spend a little time in their vape lounge, but for the most part I tried to respect the privacy of the patients and avoided eavesdropping on their consultations. Plus, hanging in the back processing product and talking about Wendy Williams was more fun anyway.


12. Budtenders take consultations seriously.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

When I asked another consultant Rachel what her favorite part about working at Bloom Room was, her response was almost instant. "Consulting with patients," she said. "Being able to help them find the right medication that hopefully helps them cut back on pharmaceuticals."

13. The consultants are proud of the work they do.

Michelle Rial /BuzzFeed

I also asked Eric what he enjoyed most about working at Bloom Room. His response? "Not having to be fake," he said, meaning he doesn't lie to his friends or family about his job. "We all get to do something we're proud of."

14. Every inch of the store is under constant supervision.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

Although you can't really tell, there are security cameras that capture every corner of the dispensary.

15. Below par concentrates are employee freebies.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

The shatter in the above photo apparently didn't meet Bloom Room's quality standards. Instead of throwing it away, Stephen puts below par concentrates out in the back so that employees can medicate.

17. Online and 24 hour phone verification has made first time patient processing a breeze.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

I remember waiting for like fifteen or twenty minutes to get verified as new patient back when I first got my recommendation. These days most doctors have systems that allow for online verification, which is a task that takes maybe thirty seconds tops.

18. Bloom Room is pretty much just like any other retail business. You know, except for the fact that they sell marijuana and employees are frequently blazed.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

"I wish I could tell people how normal it is," Stephen told me towards the end of my tenure as a temporary budtender. "We're just like every other business." Except instead of clothes, they sell medical marijuana.


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