t's been over two years since Oregonians first began to enjoy the benefits of recreational marijuana in our state—and with it has come a populace that's a lot more informed than we used to be, back when we got our ganja through more nefarious means.
Whether we're talking about strain types, the effects of indica versus sativa, terpenes, extracts, edibles, or the ideal devices with which to consume all of that cannabis love, these days, Oregonians tend to know their stuff.
How did we get all that knowledge?
Well, the friendly budtenders at local dispensaries, for one.
A term dubbed in the modern age of legal cannabis, your "budtender" is the person who greets you when you enter the product room of a dispensary, and then dishes out the knowledge as prolifically as Emeril Lagasse dishes out yummy plates.
"Budtender" is a term so relatively new to the social lexicon that it was only this year, in the Source's 2017 Best Of Central Oregon issue, that our readers started getting the pleasure of voting in the new "Best Budtender" category. (In case you're wondering, Source readers voted Justin McCune of Miracle Greens their fave this year.)
BUT—because this is a new industry that we're pretty stoked about, we didn't want to stop at just having Source readers vote the best. We wanted a chance to put our local budtenders to the test—to find out what they know about terpenes, extracts and all that other fun stuff.
That's where the inaugural Source Weekly Budtender Olympics came in. New industry, new contests! This fall, we asked each of our local dispensaries to send a budtender our way to show us what they know. Ten budtenders answered the call, coming in hyped to share their knowledge.
Read on to find out what feats of budtender strength we put them through in order to crown a winner in the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics.
And if you're a budtender who missed out on the fun, come on by next year! We'll tell you when.
Competing in the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics were 10 brave souls, who—very much unlike the competitors at the actual Winter and Summer Olympics—had no freakin' idea what they were getting themselves into.
We invited them, but all we told them was, 'show up with joint rolling materials and 1 gram of a common strain of flower from your dispensary.' These ninja Central Oregon budtenders answered the call.
- Alex Hall, Diamond Tree, Natalie Walheim, Dr. Jolly's; Fernando Teson, Cannabend; Jake Myerers, Jenny's; Alex Perez, Plantae, Travis McClaister, Plantae; Curtis Duke, Substance; Dax Poboisk, The Herb Center; Alecia Wright, Substance; Zane Aylett, Diamond Tree;
n Round One of the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics, competitors took this quiz on general cannabis industry knowledge. Winners in this round: a tie between Curtis Duke from Substance and Dax Poboisk from The Herb Center, both with just two wrong answers.
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I.D. THE STRAIN
- We be rollin,' rollin,' rollin....
n Round Two of the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics, competitors had to identify strains by look, feel and scent. We asked each 'tender to bring in a common strain from their own dispensary—so if you have your smart-cap on, you'll realize that means each budtender ostensibly should have known at least one of the strains in the bunch.
Entries included multiple versions of Organic Sour Diesel, Gorilla Glue and Blue Dream, as well as OG Kush, Golden Pineapple, J1 and Bruce Banner.
We passed out bags labeled with A, B, C and so on, having each budtender name the strain.
Was this a tough round? Fo sho.
Emerging victorious in this round was Fernando Tesón of Cannabend, with five—yes, five correct answers, pretty much blowing everyone else out of the water. Get your olfactories in shape for next year, budtenders!
Scent Test Strain List
Cherry Pie OG
- The Runner Up Best Joints
Gorilla Glue #4 (x2)
OG Sour Diesel (x2)
Blue Dream (x2)
IMPRESS US WITH YOUR JOINT ROLLING
- Magdalena Bokowa
While not exactly a skill required of budtenders on the job, we figured a joint rolling round would demonstrate a budtender's overall commitment and love for all things cannabis. Because passionate people are great at their jobs, right?
Round Three of the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics involved the more subjective task of impressing us with a joint displaying the trifecta of creativity, craft and smokability. In other words, if it looked good, yet wouldn't stand up to the test of actually being consumed... well...
Oh, and they had just 15 minutes to get it done.
IMHO, all of the budtenders brought it in this round. Finalists included Natalie Walheim of Dr. Jolly's with a pot-leaf shaped joint, a Cheshire cat-themed, striped joint from Curtis Duke of Substance, an octopus joint by Dax Poboisk from The Herb Center and a cannon-type joint from Fernando Tesón of Cannabend.
Each of the joints had some creativity, craft and smokability—but when it came down to it, the heart-shaped joint from Zane Aylett of Diamond Tree was voted top by our crack team of Source judges. But no, we didn't smoke it on site to find out if it really held up; Zane wanted to enjoy the love he put into this J on his own time. One love, Zane.
Walk into any dispensary and chances are there will be a host of scales and other tools of measurement there, helping budtenders weigh out just the right amount.
These pros aren't likely to find themselves with dead batteries or other calamities that don't allow them to weigh out the right amount, but still, they see enough product cross their scales that they should at least be able to get a feel for a strain's weight, simply by look and feel.
For the final round of the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics, we brought out our test strain—a couple ounces of organic homegrown Blue Dream, and asked each budtender to weigh out ½ ounce just by eyeballing it. Then we popped it onto a scale to find out who got the closest.
Again, Zane Aylett of Diamond Tree emerged the winner.
- Zane Aylett of Diamond Tree
WHERE THE WINNER AT?
Honorable mentions overall include Fernando Tesón of Cannabend for winning the Strain I.D. round and being a finalist in the joint rolling round, as well as Curtis Duke of Substance and Dax Poboisk of The Herb Center for tying the Quiz round and being finalists in the Joint round.
But the overall winner of the Source Weekly's 2017 Budtender Olympics was
Zane Aylett of Diamond Tree,winning bragging rights and some cool swag from us.
See ya'll back here for the 2018 Budtender Olympics!