We are Spiritleaf: Meet Brandon!
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.
Our next interview is with a staff member from the Spiritleaf Beltline location. Read more about this true Calgarian 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 Brandon. I am 26 years old. Scorpio. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. I took to travel and tourism at SAIT for two years!
What inspired you to work in the cannabis industry?
I’ve been using Cannabis for a while before legalization. I love Cannabis, it was a big part of my life and I thought, why not get paid to work with something I’m super passionate about!
What position do you currently have with Spiritleaf and what do you like best about working for the company?
Currently, I am the Store Manager at the Beltline location in Calgary, Alberta (link). I’m not sure I can pinpoint the best part about working for the company, but it’s refreshing to work on a team with like-minded folks who are passionate and humble. The company has such a family feel to it, and I love the collaborative environment.
In your opinion, what are the main responsibilities of a Cannabis Concierge or Budtender?
Cannabis Concierges are a vital part of our stores. They are the main point of contact for most customers and help guests navigate their way through the menus, help them pick out products for the situation & build relationships with our guests that transcend an exchange of money. They are an integral part of the company; the smiling faces guests see when walking in.
What question do you get asked the most either at work or when people learn about your career?
Usually, folks will ask me if it’s mandatory to test every single product that comes into the store. We try, but it’s difficult! Between our team, I’d say we try almost everything that comes in.
Do you have a story to tell about a fav cannabis brand or strain?
I love seeing new cannabis users come into the market. My dad has recently started getting into edibles, so now anytime he comes to visit I have to have a bag of new edibles ready. Kolab Project Cherry Cola Pop Chocolates are his favourite since he has not had pop rocks in ages.
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?
There is still a stigma around cannabis consumption in society. The path to normalizing the day-to-day use of Cannabis is a tough one! In my personal life, it’s being open and honest with folks about Cannabis. The media has given us so many bad interpretations of what Cannabis users look like. Just having stores that go against the traditional idea of how dispensaries have been portrayed is a huge first step. Having conversations with people in your life is a really great way to educate them on the incredible eclectic and vast uses for Cannabis, like topicals, edibles, beverages, and more!
Working in a regulated industry can be challenging. Give an example of how you overcame a particular restriction and give some advice for newcomers to the industry.
Working in Cannabis for the last 2.5 years has definitely been a challenging but exciting opportunity. We have been navigating the regulations and they have been challenging at times. Regulations around IDing are stricter than liquor and with Covid, IDing has been even more challenging with masks. My advice to newcomers in the industry is: be patient, stay calm, ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to jump in! It’s an exciting and bold new industry that is changing monthly.
Was there a certain ‘transferable skill’ that helped you to be successful in the industry? If so, tell us more about it.
Sales & communication are key! Before working in Cannabis, I worked in the beauty industry. There were a lot of transferable skills related to terpenes and correlation with different lotions & what folks wanted to use it for. Communication is a huge one when trying to determine what a guest is looking for and recommending the proper products!
If you had some advice about responsible consumption or consuming with intent, what would it be?
‘Go low and slow’ is always my motto for responsible consumption.
Are you currently working on any personal projects that you would like to promote?
I do a lot of volunteering in my personal time. Currently, I am elected as the co-chair for the Gender & Sexual diversity Caucus with Alberta’s NDP (see link). We fundraise for LGBTQ2S+ candidates for the upcoming Provincial Election in 2023 & advocate for the issues still affecting the queer community. See more from CBC, here.
I’ve also done a lot of work around Conversion Therapy. As a survivor of conversion therapy, it’s vital that we ban this abhorrent and cruel practice to change who somebody is. I was honoured to speak at Calgary City Council in 2020 in support of the bylaw banning conversion therapy. We still have a long way to go to get it banned fully in Alberta & Canada.
*Due to government regulations, we are unable to show images of our staff and encourage you to check out their personal links for more. Connect with Brandon at the store on Instagram, here.