Matthew Davis is a Dispensary Agent at Wyld Skye in Toledo, Ohio, an advocate for cannabis legalization and a big believer in lifelong learning. I recently caught up with Matthew to discuss his experiences working in an Ohio dispensary and to get his take on navigating patient relationships.
Thank you for speaking with me today. I always start with how you began in the cannabis industry. So, how did you become a budtender in Ohio?
I kind of always saw myself in this field, ever since I heard about a medical program coming to Ohio. I was in high school at the time and had a big interest in it, so I spent time reading up on it and researching as much as I could. I joined the industry when I turned 21 and worked in Michigan for about a year. I recently moved to Ohio. I’m originally from Ohio and have been back about three months. I’m also a medical cannabis patient and was a patient before I started working here.
That’s awesome. Welcome back! So, what would you say is your favorite part of the job?
I like seeing the relief I can help bring to people when I can find a product that really helps them. A lot of times they come back and let me know how it worked for them. Hearing positive reviews is great.
I bet that must be such an amazing feeling. Do you feel like it’s fairly easy to establish a rapport and trust with patients?
Usually, I start with a few questions to gauge what they’re interested in and learn more about their prior experience before coming to see me. Then I can determine what would benefit them the most. A lot of times, they come in asking me for recommendations and that’s easy because then I can guide them to products I know could be really helpful for their particular situation.
So, how do you stay informed on new products and research developments in cannabis so you can educate patients?
I research half my day, every day! Look at new products, and check out cultivator websites to learn what new varieties they’re coming out with. It also helps that many brands have patient education days where they come into the dispensary and provide the staff and patients information on new products so then we can use that to help guide them.
All the agents help each other out too, so if I’ve tried a product that another budtender hasn’t and they have a patient asking about it, I can come over and talk about it with them, and vice versa, so the patient will get a firsthand account and can decide if they want to try it.
I love that sense of teamwork and everyone wanting to help educate the patients they serve. Speaking of educating, what is something you wish more people knew about what you do?
I wish that more people knew that it’s not just cannabis, it’s medical cannabis and there’s a complete difference between the two. Also, we’re here to help people, we’re not here to just push cannabis on anybody.
What advice do you have for someone starting out in a position like this?
Listen! Listen to everything everybody has to tell you. There are people you work with who are going to know more than you. There are patients who have been in the program a long time and will know more than you. Just listen and learn. Reinforce that knowledge, and then use it to teach other people.
I couldn’t agree more! What are some comments you hear from patients about the Ohio MMCP and Wyld Skye specifically?
We get a lot of compliments on our variety and product offerings, as well as how affordable our prices are for Ohio. A complaint we often get is that despite our more affordable prices, the prices in Ohio in general are just too expensive.
But, Ohio has very, very good products. The flower grown here is highly regulated and tested to ensure patient safety and product quality. If something goes wrong with a grow cycle, the plants are properly disposed of, not sold to patients, and a new cycle is started. As a patient myself, that makes me feel better about what I’m putting in my body and what I’m selling to patients.
As a patient myself, I appreciate your perspective on this. Safety should always be first. So now I’ll switch gears a bit and just ask a few things about you personally if that’s ok? Outside of cannabis, what are some other passions and hobbies you have?
I like to go out and adventure and see new things. I love to golf and hang out with friends. Cedar Point is one of my favorite places. I also like learning, so I’m looking to continue my education soon.
I had to take a step back from school a while ago and now I’m looking to finish my Biochemistry degree and add a plant genetics specialty to it. I’m checking out the University of Michigan because they offer genetics courses. I’m also interested in taking the Executive Program at the Cleveland School of Cannabis.
That’s wonderful to hear! As a CSC alum, I have nothing but great things to say about the school and its programs. That would be really cool if you did that. Lastly, a very open-ended question, I know, but where do you see yourself five years from now?
I would like to have my own product line – flower, hash, edibles, oils, tinctures. I’d love to have a smaller facility on my own to grow craft cannabis and establish my product offerings that way.
Wyld Skye is located at 3534 Dorr St. in Toledo and their current hours are Monday through Saturday 10 am until 6 pm. To learn more, visit www.wyldskye.com.