We are Spiritleaf: Meet Ambrose!
We believe in connecting people in a world which is deeply divided. We believe that everyone matters equally, regardless of status, age, ethnicity or creed.
Diversity in the workplace has both internal and external benefits such as greater career satisfaction and better community acceptance. A diverse workforce can provide a fresh perspective, allowing for better creativity and innovation. Employing a wide range of diverse individuals gives companies an opportunity to outperform their competitors, elevating their overall brand.
Our employees stem from a wide range of professional backgrounds; each bringing their own unique skills and talents to the table, working together to continue our incredible momentum of growth! Learn about the individuals behind the Spiritleaf brand, in this ongoing series.
This first interview is with our staff member from the Spiritleaf Robertson Centre, Ottawa location, below.
- Tell the audience your first name and a bit about your background. Like where you are currently located and what past profession or schooling you have taken etc.
My name is Ambrose. I am a dual US/Canadian citizen who returned to Canada after 40 years, nearly 5 years ago. I was finally able to sponsor my wife and we reside outside of Ottawa. During the Harper Era it was extremely difficult for a Transgender couple to get acceptance. I have a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Texas Women’s University. I’ve worked as a children’s librarian in Bronx, New York City and as an academic librarian running a small library in West Palm Beach, Florida. When we moved to Ottawa, I discovered my lack of French made employment difficult; so, I had to change my perspective. Not related to the library world, I’ve had other education too: I hold a level 3 teacher certificate in Qigong (Chinese Yoga) and I spent a month training in Zen Buddhist meditation at a monastery.
- What inspired you to work in the cannabis industry?
As a stop-gap measure, while looking for library work, I took a security guard job at a cannabis retailer in Ottawa. The more I was around knowledgeable people the more I fell in love with cannabis. I started learning on my own and decided to take the Cansell test despite my job not requiring it. After that, the love just kept on growing.
- What position do you currently have with Spiritleaf and what do you like best about working for the company?
I’m a key holder. The fact that I can be part of educating customers and staff delights me. I consider myself a Weed Librarian helping people find the knowledge and product that best meets their needs.
- In your opinion, what are the main responsibilities of a Cannabis Concierge or Budtender?
Without a doubt, the main responsibility is removing the stigma and treating cannabis as a historically important and normal part of life.
- What question do you get asked the most either at work or when people learn about your career?
The first most asked question “Is it safe?”, followed by “What’s the highest THC?” and last, “Will CBD help me with…?”.
- The stigma surrounding cannabis consumption is still present in society. How do you help normalize its use day-to-day? Do you educate people on social media or some other way?
I use myself. The cannabis stigma comes with baggage, with the iconic image of a stoner or a drug dealer. By not hiding what I do, and leading a normal life connected to others, I want to lead by example.
- Working in a regulated industry can be challenging. Give an example of how you overcame a particular restriction and give some advice to newcomers to the industry.
The hardest part is when people ask about cannabis use and medical conditions. It is hard when you want to help someone. It’s important to show you are listening while remaining firm. I usually do something along these lines: We are a recreational store not medical so I can’t answer medical questions. I always suggest talking to your doctor or pharmacist. I can show you things that help with overall senses of well being and calmness.
- Was there a certain ‘transferable skill’ that helped you to be successful in the industry? If so, tell us more about it.
Definitely being a librarian. A librarian has to listen to what a person says and then by asking relevant questions to discover what a person is looking for and fill that need as much as possible.
- Do you have a story to tell about a fav cannabis brand or strain?
Pink Kush by Pure Sunfarms: The first time I tried it in my flower vaporizer I felt like I was in a vanilla-infused healing sauna. I recommend it to people all the time, and without fail they come back and thank me. Some of my customers now only buy it, no other brand. That recommendation is why some customers make a beeline to me when I’m on the floor. I’ve gained their trust.
- If you had some advice about responsible consumption or consuming with intent, what would it be?
You can always add later, but you can’t remove!
- You clearly have a deep passion for educating people about cannabis, tell us more about the projects you are currently working on.
My current project is a Quick and Easy Strain Library. Each entry will cover one strain and provide a quick synopsis covering name, LP, type, taste/aroma, terpenes, pros and cons. Click this link to view this resource. I’m also still adding to an education binder I created that covers all aspects of cannabis from strain genetics to winterization of BHO extracts and everything in between.
We are Spiritleaf. Find out what makes Spiritleaf’s office culture unique in this previous article on The LEAF, follow this link here!