Budtender Spotlight – Erin Brenner, The Citizen by Klutch – Lorain, OH

Written by ochbs.com
August 1, 2023
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Erin Brenner is a dispensary agent at The Citizen by Klutch, a medical cannabis dispensary in Lorain, Ohio. She is an Executive Program alumnus of the Cleveland School of Cannabis, a passionate advocate for cannabis education, and one of the hardest-working, most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I sat down with Erin recently to discuss her thoughts on the industry and how she navigates working in the cannabis space.

So, I always begin with: How did you find yourself in the cannabis space? I’m forever intrigued by everyone’s backstory and how they ended up here.

So it’s kind of a long story, but basically, I was in college, studying abroad in Greece, when the pandemic started and the borders shut down everywhere. I couldn’t get a flight back to the United States because I’d find the cheapest flight at like $800 and by the time I was ready to checkout, it had jumped to $3,000. My roommate’s mom ended up having to call the airline and explain the situation that we needed to get back home. Finally, I was able to get a flight to Oklahoma and a friend of mine there owned a cultivation facility, so I figured since I was stuck there for the time being, I might as well work on a pot farm.

I worked there for several months, then I ended up coming back home to Ohio and telling people about my experiences. That’s how I found out about the Cleveland School of Cannabis. I enrolled in their Executive Program, and after graduating, I landed a job at Klutch in Akron, Ohio as a part-time Harvest Technician in their cultivation facility. I worked there until December of 2022 when I found out that Klutch was opening a dispensary in Lorain, which was much closer to my house. I asked the operations director if I could transfer there since it was so much closer to me.

I knew the products, I had the educational background and they agreed so I started working as a full-time Dispensary Agent at The Citizen in December.

What is your favorite aspect of budtending?

I enjoy educating patients. It’s important to me that people understand their medicine and our store in particular really emphasizes the terpene profiles and medicinal value of the minor cannabinoids.

What comments have you heard from patients about The Citizen and the Ohio MMCP in general?

Pricing is always a big concern for people. When The Citizen first opened, our prices were already lower than most others, especially for Klutch brand products. However, we were still getting feedback that they were too high, so earlier this year Klutch completely slashed prices across the board.
Now, for example, 0.8g of concentrate, like our live resins, is $25. All 0.84g Klutch vape cartridges and specialty pods are $20 or less. We run sales often too, like 15% off, so that helps lower costs for patients even more.

Our staff is also very knowledgeable, which keeps patients returning. A patient came in recently, after driving for an hour, because she said she likes our lower prices. But she said she also came because she’s never had a bad experience with anyone at our store.

She said she’d rather drive the extra distance to get the education and products she needs at a more affordable price point versus being upsold on things she doesn’t want or need and not understanding her medicine. It’s experiences like this that make it a cool feeling to work here.

How do you handle interactions with patients only looking for high THC content products and not necessarily interested in hearing about terpene profiles and cannabinoid content?

When we have products with a THC percentage around 35-37%, you’ll definitely get patients who just want those and nothing else. But there are times our highest THC product might be around 30% and that’s usually when we as budtenders have an opportunity to educate them on things other than THC content and open that conversation up to them.

Of course, there will always be people who want high THC content, and for those individuals, I try to just drop small tidbits of information each time I talk with them since we do have a great patient retention rate. So I continue to try and educate them little by little and hope that they’ll want to ask more about it or be open to learning more about other beneficial aspects of the plant besides just the THC.

What is something you wish more people understood about your job?

Being a budtender is a super fun job, but you’re also on your feet for 10 hours a day and working in different parts of the retail area. You can easily see 100 patients a day and just trying to maintain those relationships with them, staying informed on inventory levels, products, and new items coming down the pipe – it can get stressful at times. It’s not easy being a good budtender, but it’s rewarding.

So, how do you stay up to date on new products, research, and cannabis news in general?

Our inventory manager is great about keeping the staff updated on what’s coming in, what’s selling out, and all the information we need about the products in order to help the patients. Personally, I love to read so I read books and search Google a lot regarding terpenes and the lesser-known cannabinoids. I also use PubMed a lot to stay informed on different research being done. I took the Cannabis Research Studies course at CSC and that taught me how to break down these studies and understand the data and how it applies to all of this.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

That’s a hard question. Ideally, I’d love to stay with Klutch and work my way up to helping develop their standard operating procedures (SOPs), train staff and educate others. I like educating and I like creating so finding something where I can do both would be great.

Guest Post by LeeAnne Crawford

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