A few days ago I returned to The WEED dispensary in Studio City for the first time in nearly a year and was very happy to see the store thriving in the new post-legalization reality. The WEED was the first cannabis storefront with which I had a long term relationship and served me well as a medical patient in the years prior to legalization. I took leave of The WEED last summer because the transition to legal/recreational regulatory sales initially was plagued by diminished supplies of legal, tested, safe products (particularly extracts) and because the taxes were high enough to price The WEED’s stock out of my budget. In other words, there was very little for me to choose from. It was
Leaving The WEED was a logical economic decision for me at the time and it allowed me to explore the ways in which legalization was affecting the industry on a larger scale. My foray into the constellation of local North Hollywood cannabis dispensaries (some legal, some not) revealed a variegated yet abundant supply of cannabis extracts and other products. No one dispensary carried large supplies of extracts, but the dispensaries were clustered in close proximity making it easy to visit one or another to find a desired product or selection. Experiencing a greater cannabis industry depth and breadth also provided much blogging content and inspiration while enabling me to judge my past experiences at The WEED against those I was usually, but not always, enjoying at other storefronts.
Returning to The WEED this week reminded me of everything I loved about the dispensary as a medical patient in the pre-legalization days but hadn’t appreciated. During my hiatus, I would discover one quality or another lacking in my new dispensary customer experiences, but rather than return to the past, I marshaled on in search of what I’d left behind. I began to imagine the kind of dispensary I would run if I could and composed reviews more reflective of what I wanted dispensaries to be than what they truly were. More than anything else, I missed The WEED’s knowledgeable budtenders, their congeniality and willingness to chat. Although I’d met some kind and experienced budtenders in my diaspora, none of them was willing to talk shop for more than a minute or two. I’ve blogged about this subject and about my unrequited search for a more congenial and engaging, and markedly less transactional, budtender-patient experience.
I was spoiled in my pre-legalization The WEED patronage. The willingness of budtenders there to spend time talking shop with me gave my cannabis buying experience a decidedly heimish quality. It wasn’t a place where “everyone knows your name”, but I had become acquainted, if not friends, with budtenders like Gary, Alena (Elena?), Paul (or was it Pete?), Cindy and others whose names I can’t recall and I looked forward to seeing them on my weekly visits. The well-rounded budtenders were just as comfortable talking music, hiking, parenting, and sports as they were discussing cannabis. There also seemed to be a thoughtful balance between male and female budtenders, a dynamic not found very often at local dispensaries. In hindsight, The WEED provided the closest experience there is to a cannabis club, where consumers and professionals engage their cannabis curiosity and develop their cannabis IQ. I learned much from The WEED’s informed budtenders and hope to match their superlative customer service skills once I find the budtender job that is right for me.
The WEED hosts an extensive clutch of multi-strain cannabis extracts with plentiful grams and half grams ranging in prices fitting both limited and unlimited budgets. None of the NoHo dispensaries I’ve frequented have been able to maintain a decent stock of extracts in terms of quantity, variety or price. The WEED on Tuesday had seemingly 20, maybe 30, different extracts on their shelves giving me for the first time in recent memory the ability to compare, contrast & deliberate options before making a final decision. This engaged deliberation was made possible by my budtender’s willingness to conduct business at my pace, waiting patiently until I was finished asking questions while offering as many helpful answers as possible. The customer-centered approach is truly a win-win for The WEED and its patrons because satisfied patients are able to take a more active and dynamic role in choosing their meds, and satisfied customers are almost always returning customers.
I surveyed The WEED’s many extracts with the dynamic and enthusiastic help of my experienced and engaged budtender who gladly pulled out samples for my scrutiny, identified strains and varieties for me, gave suggestions that fit my budget & chatted for a bit about the cannabis industry. Without feeling rushed, I confidently chose three grams of live resin sugar – Apex Extracts‘ Kosher Kush and TerpBoys Killer Fruit & White Fire OG – and a gram of Chong’s Choice
In a still inchoate California cannabis industry, The WEED is far ahead of the many other dispensaries I’ve patronized. To its credit, The WEED began assimilating the new rules early on and demonstrated an unwavering commitment to selling legal, safe, quality cannabis products. My first visit to The WEED after almost a year revealed a thriving cannabis storefront populated by smart, friendly and helpful staff. When I left The WEED last year their shelves were near barren compared to the proliferation of products they formerly hawked. On Tuesday’s return, I was greeted by welcoming staff, (including their very affable security guard who remembered me), and was bedazzled by an abundant array of products, varieties and strains (some I’d never seen before). It truly was The WEED renewed!
The WEED is now part of a dispensary conglomerate called Product Cannabis, which also includes Project Cannabis NoHo (formerly Green Valley Collective) and DTLA Project Cannabis. I was relieved to find that although now under a larger corporate umbrella, The WEED has maintained and even enriched the qualities that made it such a welcome stand-alone dispensary in the past. Management was wise to incorporate the new industry regulations proactively, taking a long term approach to business. They may have lost (temporarily) a short-sighted customer or two (like me) during the challenging transition, but they must’ve known that we straying customers would return once the dust began to settle and the industry regained its legs. Whether a prodigal customer like myself or a newbie in search of a reliable dispensary with excellent customer service, The WEED has all you NEED!