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Tether bud-tenders' new social, professional network

Cannabis industry regs and info struggles got you down? Bummer, but Tether's here to help front-line cannabis professionals get the inside buzz to help the consumer and the industry together. Cool.
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Kieley Beaudry and Dustan McLean at their successful microcultivation business called Parkland Flowers. They hosted a special event on Friday for Tether, a network for cannabis retail frontliners - budtenders in the parlance. SCOTT HAYES/Photo

Every cannabis store relies on the expertise of its staff members who work behind the counters. These bud-tenders are passionate consumers and educators who have vast stores of knowledge of both the ever-expanding array of cannabis strains and products, as well as government regulations on this still-budding industry.

Tether is a new program being offered for bud-tenders to share their stories and their knowledge base.

It’s a social community with a professional purpose, explained Danielle McKay, trade marketing and public relations executive with Marigold PR, a cannabis-focused public relations firm. It’s an online membership area with periodic in-person events.

“We like to say that cannabis came to us,” she said. “A few clients came and then we realized there was this really big need in the industry, and that's really how Tether came to us.”

Marigold has another program called Canndora Club, which focuses on events for women working in the cannabis industry. Tether is based off that connection/collaboration template.

“We noticed that a lot of the events that we were going to, retailers weren't bringing their staff along. They weren't inviting them to be really a part of the community,” she said.

“It was really interesting, because we were like, ‘Where are the bud-tenders? We want to connect with them.’ They're the people that have the biggest impact on customers. They're the ones talking to people every single day, figuring out what they're looking for, what they need.”

McKay said the certificate a person is required to have to sell cannabis offers minimal education.

“We wanted to create a space for bud-tenders to be able to come together to meet each other and to network, but more importantly, just to have fun and really bring that sense of community that's quite strong in the cannabis industry, and invite the bud-tenders to join in.”

That couldn’t be more welcome to cannabis producers, sellers, and consumers, said St. Albert’s Kieley Beaudry who, along with being the president of the Alberta Cannabis Micro Licence Association, partnered with Morinville’s Dustan McLean to create Parkland Flower, a small micro-cultivation facility.

She said bud-tenders are customers’ first contact and the industry’s “bread and butter” despite how they get left to the wayside when it comes to cannabis education.

“Getting information out to them can be challenging because of the highly regulated industry that we're in. For example, when we sell a product into the [Alberta Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis], we don't get a list of who purchases our product. I have no idea what retail stores have our product. This is a way for bud-tenders to learn about different brands, local brands, and get more of that information out there,” she explained, adding Tether is vital to help nurture such a new industry, especially one with so many regulatory and other demands.

“Every day is different and we get hit with challenges that no other industry has to deal with. We are in a very fast-paced sales environment, yet we cannot operate the same as other industries: we can't do online sales, online marketing … we're very handcuffed when it comes to promotional information, getting our getting brand out there. It's a very difficult market.”

To help promote the new network, Parkland played host to a bounty of bud-tenders on Friday evening. A formal national launch of the program is anticipated later this year.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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