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Mothers in the 1920’s were fearful of the legalization of alcohol and having to raise their children in a drunk-ridden country.  Now it isn’t uncommon for mothers to meet in clusters and correlate over bottles of wine.

 In Opinion

Last calls that turned to sunrises, friends became family, shot infused stories; the nightlife industry yields a lifestyle as intoxicating as the libations that fuel it.  I recently traded in my bar key and shaker tins for terpene homework and medical marijuana.  Now I am full time in the cannabis industry.  For eight years I worked in nightlife and the promising parallels between the two industries are incredible.

Bartenders and budtenders alike are not just in service to sell a product.  There is a rapport we share with our patrons/patients that is beyond salesmanship.  Where we take pride in what we do.  Recreationally or medically, people look to us to feel better, for our knowledge, and entrust in us a piece of them.  Overtime we create bonds that are immensely special with regulars we see day after day.  I believe all bartenders and budtenders could agree both alcohol, and cannabis share an underrated desire to unify.   A bottle of booze gets passed around a circle of stories just as a joint does.  In times of celebration, mourning, stress, we come together with a drink or a smoke.

The lifestyle of a bartender is contagious.  Mornings usually begin in the afternoon, the same time the prior evening’s decisions are pieced together.  Followed by copious amounts of carbs and laughter, recapping the hilarity of our nocturnal nature.  I loved being a bartender.  Some of my most fun memories are behind a bar with my friends, seeing who can ring the most in sales, then late night venting about the peaks and pits of our shift over cold brews and warm shots.  My bar regulars were my friends but my coworkers were my family and when alcohol tore us apart it also brought us back together.  In the wake of loss due to our similar lifestyles we would come together and vow to make wiser choices, we would look out for each other and take taxi cabs.  Leaving this industry was not an easy decision but if I was going to take on this new venture, I had to give it my all and trade the nightlife in for the nuglife.    

There is something speakeasy about being a budtender.  And something about that brings us budtenders together the same way alcohol common denominates bartenders.  We are working the frontlines of a historically exciting time.  I believe my favorite part about being a budtender is the organic connection I feel between cannabis and my patients.  A middleman, if you will.  Instead of coaching people through pop culture with whiskey & coke and calling cabs, I am hearing success stories of former pill side effects now replaced by the medically ground breaking benefits of cannabis.  I have seen plants over pills help settle anxiety; focus attention deficits, calm seizures, and PTSD patients are sleeping better at night.  My job now is more than my passion and I am grateful to be in a working position that offers historically malleable opportunities.  Senior citizens, who I thought once were convinced marijuana couldn’t be used as medicine, are now the fastest growing demographic of cannabis consumers in the country.  It is exciting to be in the midst of history, legally being some of the first people to grow, sell, and consume marijuana.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to replace happy hour with making homemade moonshine at the hopes of not getting caught.  Or being one of the first bartenders ever to tend bar, paving the way for the ones who now run the nightlife. Colorado’s medical marijuana shops have seen an immense increase in the form of underage teenagers buying marijuana & weed intend for medicinal purposes with the help of fake ids. learn more:

We need the legalization of cannabis right now.  Mothers in the 1920’s were fearful of the legalization of alcohol and having to raise their children in a drunk-ridden country.  Now it isn’t uncommon for mothers to meet in clusters and correlate over bottles of wine.  What wasn’t normal then is normal now. What isn’t normal now, can become normal.   We the people have the control to exercise our kosher Bill of Rights and come together to legalize cannabis and create a positive wave of change for mankind.  And I think as budtenders we have a great opportunity to become the next happy hour.  It excites me to dream about the potential reality that I will be able to see the cannabis taboos diminish, the rise of our economy and well being of humankind enhance.  It isn’t just about convincing legislation to make marijuana legal, it is about holding elected people accountable for giving the people what they want, the people that pay their salaries.

Rebecka Snell is a budtender at Shango.  With Texas roots and Vegas buds, she is currently pursuing what sets her soul on fire.


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