Ever wondered what it’s like to be a budtender? To spend your days discussing the finer points of cannabis with customers from all walks of life? If so, you’re in for a treat. Recently, cannabisseur and budtender extraordinaire, Riley Brittingham, of 2020 Solutions, was gracious enough to talk about what he does for a living and offer his unique perspective on the Bellingham cannabis scene.
What do you like most about your job?
“Honestly, what I like most about my job is sharing my knowledge. I love it when our guests say things like ‘Thanks for the help—I feel so much smarter!’ And the atmosphere we have at 2020 is spot on, too. We talk about cannabis all day long, listen to great music, and joke around like a big happy family. With a setting like that it’s hard to have a bad day!”
What has surprised you about the cannabis industry now that you’re part of it?
“The professionalism we have. Before I ever visited a recreational cannabis retailer, I thought it would be like ‘going to see my bro.’ He would call me dude, and have a J hanging from the corner of his mouth, with eyes so red you'd almost swear you saw them glow.
Instead, it was almost the opposite. Everyone behind the counter was alert and attentive, asking me what kind of experience I was looking for, and answering all my questions without scoffing at me for not knowing everything. It wasn't at all what I had expected.”
What types of people do you see walking through the door? Is there a typical customer?
“I don't think there is a typical guest that walks through the doors. People of all walks of life come to 2020. It doesn't really surprise me anymore when I see a man in a suit driving a B’mer, pull up to our store. Or, when I see a mini van pull up and a normal-looking Mom pops out to pick up some bud.
Our guests are just as diverse as any other business, and its very refreshing to see. I feel like the common ‘stoner’ stereotype is totally invalid nowadays.”
What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis?
“My favorite way to smoke is by rolling my own joints or spliffs. Not to brag, but I'm kind of the house rolling expert. Freshly rolled joints and spliffs always taste better than a bowl, in my opinion. Plus, you can walk around your house or yard smoking a J—way easier than with a pipe or bong.”
Cinex is my go-to daytime strain. For me, it has a clear-headed high with a good amount of energy, and just a bit of the giggles. The flavor profile is really nice too—fresh pine, with earth, and hints of citrus.
9 lb. Hammer is my favorite Indica because it hits you in the face like a 9 lb. Hammer! One minute, I'm wondering when it’s going to hit me, and before I know it, I'm stoned. The stony head high and heavy body high make it a great strain for evenings or slipping off to sleep. If you smoke 9 lb. Hammer during the day, prepare to do a whole lot of nothing!”
What’s on the horizon for the cannabis industry?
I'm looking forward to this industry being seen as more of a normal thing. I think we've come a long way—most of the people that come in nowadays say they love how it feels just like going to any other store. There's no pressure or awkwardness, or waiting 3 hours for your guy to come through.
But even though we’ve made quite a bit of progress, there's still a long way to go before cannabis users can be fully open about smoking—and that’s what I'm most excited about. I'm excited for all the people who’ll no longer have to hide the fact that they smoke for fear of judgement, because in the future there won't be a need for that.
What’s been your most memorable budtending experience?
I once helped out a group of like 6 guys. They were all looking at edibles and getting everything I suggested—they obviously didn't have much of a budget limit. As I helped them one by one, we all talked about what they were doing in town. They mentioned they were on tour, and at that point they started to look familiar. Then they dropped the bomb: ‘Have you heard of [really awesome, famous band that we can’t mention here]?’ At this point, I had to reign it in so I wouldn’t scare them away.
I was like, ‘Of course! Your new album was great!’ I got them situated with their edibles, and they asked if I wanted to go out to their touring trailer. How could I say no? They gave me a copy of their newest album on vinyl and an herb grinder with their group name engraved on it.
The free stuff was really cool, but the most memorable part for me was just how down to earth they were. And getting to talk to them for that long about cannabis was just awesome. I got to share knowledge about my favorite plant with one of my favorite chill music groups—mark that one off the bucket list!
Have any questions for Riley? Wondering which strain is right for you? How about the pros and cons of vaping vs. smoking? Better yet, find out who that amazing band was! Go pick his brain—he works at the 2020 Solutions Iron St. Store, and he loves to share his knowledge and passion for cannabis.