An Open Letter to Weed Tourists

Note: Compiled and reworded based on interviews with Denver budtenders.

You’re on Spring Break? Vacation? Really. It’s your first time in a dispensary? No kidding.

I’ve heard that 800 times today. Yes, I understand that having to answer the same dumb question is common to many jobs, especially retail.  However, being a budtender is different.

You the weed tourist are of course enthusiastic. Weed stores? Wow! Exciting. Yes, but guess what? You have no clue how to avoid acting like a complete idiot. You just don’t know. But isn’t it time you learned? If you don’t know that you must be 21 to buy legal weed, then you don’t need to be ingesting weed at all. But you say that you sell weed in your home state? Sorry, I don’t care. You’re not old enough to purchase it here. See you later. Next customer.

Hello. Thanks for telling me that you have been smoking since before I was born and therefore that you are a weed expert. But if you’re such an expert, why do I have to tell you all about THC content versus CDB, various blends, edibles, and so on for over an hour. And you still need reminders about the difference between indica and sativia? And for some reason, you still consider yourself more knowledgeable?

I love sharing my time and knowledge with anyone, including you the weed tourist. However, in return, I expect you to show at least a little respect, to accept that I know my job, our products, and the marijuana industry. Unfortunately, I have too often been on the receiving end of  ungrateful stupidity. I do not understand why it is so hard to educate yourself about legal marijuana.  Look up the laws before you come into the shop. If it is SO ILLEGAL in your state why did you think it would be okay to ask your budtender if you could bring it back on a plane to said illegal state? No I’m not your drug dealer, and no I’m not a doctor, and I am most certainly not a lawyer. I’m a marijuana enthusiast. I’m a budtender. Ask me about weed please. Not about the best way to vacuum seal it and ship it FedEx and how much prison time you will get if you got caught.

Yeah, I’m talking to you, weed tourist, and your fascination with weed chap stick and your inability to grasp that its a topical and has such a low dose of TCH you would have to eat the whole stick to get even remotely high, as you discuss with your friend how to get the weed on a plane, and then I have to ask you to leave, for the sake of my job, because budtenders legally cannot advise customers on how  to break the law.

I understand the excitement. It’s legal weed. How could you not be excited? But do you walk into a bar, ask about every liquor and beer concoction ever created, buy a PBR and then leave? Guess what? After spending an hour educating you, we budtenders would be enormously grateful if you left a tip. Contrary to what you might believe, budtenders are not paid any more, and sometimes less, than any other retail worker. Not everyone in the marijuana industry is getting rich.

Most people are breaking the rules because they simply don’t know. Budtenders have become industry regulators. They aren’t paid for this. I don’t get much satisfaction from enforcing the rules. And I’m tired of you weed tourists laughing at my tip jar because it says budtender, and not bartender, when I was probably more informative than any bartender you’ve ever had.

My point is, don’t be dumb. Take some time to do at least some research before you come into a shop. All it takes is a few Google minutes. No dispensary wants hang a giant sign saying all the things you can’t do. No one would want to shop there.

So, it’s your first time in a dispensary? Walk with confidence America. Ask what you need to know and stop fangirling.


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