I must admit it is quite disturbing to me just to type the words, “Worldwide Pandemic”. The reactions and responses around me have the potential to strike so much anxiety and fear, that at times I have to leave conversations, locations, and simply turn off the radio. And the TV. And the computer. And work on my “virtual hugs and handshakes”. Whatever those are.

I am a dispensary agent in southern Arizona, I quite literally work next to a retirement community of thousands of elderly retirees. The average age of the patients we serve is 71. Many are even older. Considering all the facts from the CDC and of the virus ravaging the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions (read Medical Marijuana patient here) I’m not afraid of Covid-19 killing or hurting me or any family member of mine. Am I concerned? Absolutely. But it’s not the virus that has been getting most of my focus lately. It’s my response to the hysteria happening all around this incredible event. It’s the only thing I can control.

As a budtender, it’s my responsibility to give every patient honest, up-to-date and reliable information. And along with all the scientific information of which terpenes do what, how to do proper dosing, and which delivery method is best that I give, one of the greatest things I can share with every patient is Hope. I have the opportunity to give Hope to patients everyday I work. Whether it’s questions from a new patient who’s trying to stop using opioids or a young person looking to decrease anxiety, it’s imperative that along with their medication, they leave with hope. Hope that their meds will do what they want, hope that we will have more medication in stock, hope that they know they can expect at the very least, my smile, my factual knowledge and my positive attitude. Hope. Now is the time for us all to rise to the occasion and provide every patient with the best and exact information we have, and with that give Hope. However, I have no right to share my emotional response to this crisis or any other that I might be going through with a patient who already has their own worries and health issues. Piling on my worries only adds to the chaos. Their chaos. This is the time to show and share with every patient, potential-patient and every vendor, congressman, stoner and soccer mom we care and we’ll make it through this. I want to keep doing what I’m doing and bring Hope, in whatever measure, into everyone’s life. It’s important. It’s right.

Trite? Self-righteous? No. I don’t think so. Considering many patients have their medical marijuana card for chronic pain, cancer and PTSD among the qualifying conditions listed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, this time of uncertainty is especially hard on them. They need reassurance. They need to know we’re there for them. I’ve seen this now for the last week or so in the eyes of my patients. And after I answer every question truthfully, “will you stay open”?, “Do you have enough in stock”?, “Can you deliver”?, I remember to trim off their stems and seeds of worry and uncertainty I find and replace it with a large bud of Hope. “It’ll be ok” I say, “What strain can I suggest to help reduce your stress”? Even the suggestion and recognition of everything everyone is going through opens the door for dialogue, a smile and medicine that relieves his ailment and yes, provides Hope.

With the world changing every few minutes, more than ever, I find the respite of ten minutes with my thoughts and prayers, with or without my medication, and I have better perspective on things. I also operate with intelligence and wisdom rather than fear.

I’ve seen this reality-based behavior happening as other industry leaders set aside the hysteria, the ridiculous, irrational toilet paper buying and medical mask price gouging mentality and take a moment to inhale and come up with ideas. Lord knows we need it! In Oregon the police are asking the public to stop calling them about “toilet paper issues”. But in the midst of it all, I see our vendors responding amazingly. Stopping their vendor days, utilizing strict cleaning policies and supporting their staff. One of my favorite vendors and friend, is Nick with Select. His infectious smile, er, make that cheery and encouraging smile, is truly a reflection


of those above him in the company. Focused like a laser, but chill like a Friday afternoon ice cube. In the middle of all this, while they’ve cut out all their vendor days at dispensaries to reduce viral exposure to their patients and employees, they’ve moved Nick into packaging. Something of which Nick will pick up quickly. Nice job Select.Nick with Select

I applaud the many companies and dispensaries responses way too numerous to mention here and now. The small company I work for has taken broad steps with best practices updates, emails to managers and employees that detail their responses and agent requirements in response to the Virus. So far. Our delivery capabilities have been more than doubled, and you’ll see that our lobby layout now holds only a few people spread far apart. If you’re like me, you’ll instantly notice when you walk in, instead of that familiar “dispensary” smell that patients and visitors always comment on, the building emanates the odor of a neighborhood hospital. And sales are steady. Less patients are buying more product.

In the next few days and weeks as our lives are turned upside down, I may be in the store working, or maybe at home, hunkering down with my family and practicing Frisbee catch with the dog. But amidst all the hand-washing, mouth-covering and social distancing, I will share hope in a manner that is received well and executed through whatever media there is, with or without my physical handshake. For now, *{HUGS}*.


2 thoughts on “Covid-19, Cannabis, and Hope

  1. I’m absolutely loving your blog posts Bob! Your kindness, knowledge, smile and friendliness, always makes me want to keep coming back to the dispensary, and I always hope I get you! You feel like an old friend when you walk up to me with your smile and sarcastic goofiness…you’re just an awesome guy…you even make my husband laugh!

    On this pandemic…UGH yes, the fear and anxiety that comes on strong. My fibromyalgia pain and anxiety has been through the roof because of all this stress. Thank you for being that person who ALWAYS greets me/us with a smile and has us leaving laughing our butts off!! your kindness never goes unnoticed, and helps us through these crazy times.

    You’re the best Bob…please don’t ever stop being your wonderful self my friend ♥️

  2. Cheryl Boyles says:

    Hi Bobtender! Regarding your question asked earlier today (through windows and masks) regarding whether to speak or to type; go where the river flows, bro. Love and sparkles!

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