WALKING INTO A CANNABIS DISPENSARY one is faced with the sensation that there are so many choices. Depending on what state or whether it is a medical or an adult use dispensary, the options are so vast with no clearly defined etiquette or common policy as to how to know what to choose. There are flowers, concentrates, edibles, topicals, candies, pens and tanks. Some are branded and some are sold out of jars that are stocked in bulk and weighed out per order. 

Personally speaking, I consider myself pretty familiar within the world of cannabis and the particulars of cultural etiquette with relation to the consumption and trade of its products. I come from the era when head shops were far and few between and when you found one of these discreet shops with the smell of Nag Champa wafting out the door there was a very particular language that was spoken. After all, this was pre-medical laws and the smallest amount of cannabis was still a felony, even in the San Fernando Valley where I grew up in Southern California. If the word ‘bong’ was mentioned it was an immediate ejection out of the store. Water pipes were the accepted term though you didn’t know this unless you were “in the know.”

This brings me back to the experience of a seasoned or even “green” consumer that walks into a modern day cannabis dispensary. What are the proper things to say and ask? Am I allowed to be on my phone or take pictures? Can I consume the product on the premises? What about the more detailed questions about the product like who are the people that produced it and how was it grown? To me, these last questions become some of the more important and draws my attention to the fact that most consumers don’t know what questions to ask and don’t even know that they don’t even know what questions they should ask. 

 

In this still taboo-ish experience the two predominant questions that seem to be asked are “what is the THC content” and “how does it smell.” Both are very important questions although it is uncertain how relevant are they to the complete experience of consuming the product and how it will affect your overall health. Not to mention what was the impact of this product on the environment and the community in which it was grown. 

Other questions like “what is the terpene profile” and “was it tested for containing any pesticides or fungicides” are more immediate questions that pop into my head. 

This breathes life into the possibilities of other inquiries that are potentially as important to understanding the source and process from which the product came. Who is the grower? What are their cultivation practices? What are the values of the company and brand they have created? 

An educated consumer is the best friend to any responsible, conscientious cannabis cultivator. A knowledgeable consumer has the power to make educated choices as to what they are going to consume and who they want to support with their purchases. It is this educated consumer that drives the market to provide responsibly grown products and guides the dispensaries to purchasing products that are ethically created.

For instance, this is an example of the difference between an educated consumer and one that has not learned what questions to ask as well as been shown the impact of the products they are purchasing. I hear a lot of people say “I prefer indoor grown cannabis.” Okay, seems like a fair enough statement. After all, so much cannabis on the market labeled as “outdoor” or “light dep” doesn’t seem to be of the highest quality.  One of the reasons this is so is because most people that grow and sell high quality sun grown cannabis call it indoor to get a higher price per pound and appeal to the market that is just looking for that bling. 

Going back to that person that prefers the indoor grown there are a few questions I like to propose to them. I ask, “what is it about indoor that you like so much?” Is it that the carbon footprint to produce it is at an increasingly alarming rate of impact? Currently the state of California focuses about 9% of its energy use towards the production of indoor cannabis and that about 1.5% of the US’ energy use is also focused on this venture. What about that it takes about a half gallon of gasoline to produce one joint of indoor grown flowers? Maybe it is that a photosynthesizing cannabis plant can’t produce the complex terpenes and cannabinoids that require the full spectrum of the sun under artificial lighting. Suddenly this indoor preference may no longer align with the values of said consumer.  You see where I am going with this. 

 

So how do we know what these questions are that should be asked? I believe there are a few basic questions that every budtender should know the answer to and if they don’t your inquiries will inspire them to start asking the appropriate questions. Has this product been lab tested for pesticide usage? Was this product produced using organic methods? Was this product sun grown or lamp grown? These are the most basic questions that anyone should know about the product they are consuming. 

For those of us that want to know more about the source of what we consume there seem to be larger gaps as to how to access this type of information. How do we know what went into the cannabis being purchased? What does “MYGrow” look like? I thought you’d never ask. Though I’m so glad that you are realizing how empowering it is to ask and how powerful you, the consumer, are in guiding the industrial world toward a future we can leave to our grandkid’s grandkids. 

The Cannabis Conservancy (TCC) is a third-party certification for sustainability and best practices for the regulated Cannabis market. TCC’s Standards are based on the five pillars of Policy, Procedure, Energy Use, Water Use and Waste Streams. 

As part of TCC certification, a farmer gets their own unique QR code in our MYGrow program. Within this code is a template the farmer can self-populate telling their whole story of how they cultivate their cannabis, the values of their company and every other nuance they’d like to convey including things like what products they use so they can further create this co-branded superior product that is worth a premium. 

When a consumer walks into a dispensary and sees this seal on the product they are looking at they can simply click on the QR and have an immediate relationship with the farmer. They are now able to make an educated choice as to what they want to consume and who they want to support and know why this product is worth a premium.

This brings up a very important point. When someone walks into a grocery store and they see a conventionally grown tomato next to an organically grown tomato there is no question in their mind that the organic one will cost more. At this point it is obvious organic tomatoes cost more to produce and that having an assurance certification also costs money to maintain. 

 

In today’s cannabis market, people are still learning that this same principal applies to the cultivation of cannabis. Without a premium the certification has no value to the grower so it is very important that farms get recognized and rewarded for the efforts they make to create a sustainable and potentially even regenerative product.

Even at a $1 per gram of premium TCC certified flower, there is enough “‘extra” money to pay the farmer a premium and award the dispensary owner an added margin for offering a responsible, sustainable and ethically grown medicine. Because, after all, its all medicine, whether it is healing physically, socially, mentally, spiritually or environmentally. With TCC sustainable certification EVERYONE wins.

Don’t only ask for it.  Insist on TCC certified product from a purveyor of fine Cannabis products near you. Want more information about TCC certified products?

Check it out at cannabisconservancy.com