By Matt Nagle
At Green Token, budtender Jonathan (a.k.a. Jon Jon) brings with him a wealth of knowledge. Very friendly and easy to talk to, his experience in cannabis reaches back seven years to the medical marijuana movement, and he has never stopped learning. Today, he gifts Green Token customers with honest information on anything they’d like to know such that they keep coming back to enjoy interacting with him again.
It was around 2012 when Jon Jon’s mom was suffering with ovarian cancer and he was there beside her as her advocate and provider. He took it upon himself to get educated on ways that cannabis could help her, and he shared what he learned with his mom as well.
“It really helped her to use edibles and topicals – digesting cannabis rather than inhaling it,” he told the Weekly Weedly. “It has kept my mom around to this day – I know it has.”
During this time, and up to the present day, Jon Jon received a lot of support from Green Token co-worker and friend Warren (a.k.a. Boss Man). “He gave me the chance to further my education in cannabis, teaching me about different strains and cultivating.” Once I-502 passed, the two naturally moved to the recreational aspect of cannabis and now they both enjoy working together at Green Token.
Their knowledge of medical marijuana continues to serve them well. Green Token has been medically endorsed by the State of Washington and just about everyone on staff is a medical marijuana consultant. To achieve this, Jon Jon and other Green Token budtenders took hours of classes and testing. Jon Jon himself has benefitted from his own education in medical marijuana in that he turned to cannabis to help with his ADHD.
Having the Weekly Weedly available at Green Token also helps spread education in a unique way, as Jon Jon said that customers talk about it and enjoy picking up a few copies when they’re in the shop.
“On the way out, people will grab a couple copies and we get feedback and a lot of inquires about who started it and how it has so much information on different topics,” he said. “It gives people options. We tell people that it comes from the Tacoma Weekly and that the Tacoma Weekly is really cannabis friendly.”
With the walls of Green Token covered in what looks like hundreds of products, how does a budtender like Jon Jon keep up with it all? “We have a lot of vendor days, and in between we have a lot of product coming in Monday through Friday and we can talk to the vendor and get to know their products,” he explained. The budtenders also have access to educational samples to try themselves so that they can share their experience with customers. Budtenders share information with each other too, which helps to get a broader view of products.
“Everybody is different in what affects them,” Jon Jon said. “I can smoke sativas and have a reverse effect, whereas I can smoke an indica and be functional. It really just depends on the person and what they want.”
Pure strains of sativa or indica are not as prevalent as they were decades ago, so consulting with a budtender like Jon Jon can help one navigate through all the product choices. “Nowadays, I would say that 85 to 90 percent of all strains are hybrid because everyone is cross-breeding different strains to get new genetics and therefore you’re crossing one plant with another. We don’t see as many pure strains as we should.”
Cannabis customers are still learning about compounds as well, like CBD and CBN. “There are a lot more components than just THC. THC drives the whole experience but the other ones help guide you through the experience besides the euphoria,” as Jon Jon explained it.
Whereas sometimes it’s difficult for customers to stay with the same budtender due to budtenders moving on to work elsewhere, Jon Jon feels loyalty to Green Token, and plans to stay there. He loves Green Token because the company values family, which fits in well with his own life. He is a husband and father, with one on the way, so he enjoys an atmosphere in which his way of life is respected and celebrated.
In short, this is his dream job. “I’m blessed to be here,” he said. “When I walk through these doors, I try to learn something new every day. With all the research on cannabis that’s going on these days, there always something to learn.”