I lead a life that’s different than most, and I think that most of the budtenders or cannabis industry workers know live that life too. You get up early to go trim, or you go to a retail job that feels more like a medical position to advise patients as best you can. You have work samples you take home to better serve those that depend on you to stay current on product, but afterward, you may only have the energy to climb in bed. Work is important, but so is taking care of yourself and managing stress to make good choices that keep you working with cannabis. Being prepared for the future and whatever changes might come with tomorrow’s laws or the actions of the businesses your dispensary interacts with. Learning how to keep yourself safe according to laws where you live and working to remain in good standing with your community is an often overlooked skill. It’s been difficult to see those who mismanage their stress, anxiety, or life changes to lose their progress in the cannabis industry.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

The stress is real because cannabis is still illegal at a federal level, and at any moment our jobs could disappear at the whim of the government. Some of the best advice I’ve handed out to those I work with is to start building a nest egg. If you’re taking home a paycheck, take a bit out to save in case the job goes awry or a great B1G1 comes up. The same can be said about any samples you might take home, save for when times are hard. The idea is to prepare for the worst as you would for the best, treat abundance with tomorrow in mind. I’ve coasted on samples when I’ve been in a difficult situation or leaned on savings when I had to a break. Staying current on the news, local activism, and your cannabis community is valuable. Preparing yourself against potential difficulties can help you to be ready to move past adversity with a smile.

Use Common Sense and Connect with Community

I find that taking the time to focus on self-care and developing common sense are essential to protecting my career. Learning and knowing my boundaries is especially important. I love to eat my edibles, but I also don’t want to be a frazzled mess when doing my grocery shopping in public. I keep within my comfort zone and listen to my body when it comes to self-medicating because I want to hold myself accountable for my behavior. I don’t want to be drowsy on the job any more than I would when not at work. I try new products at my own pace and remember when best to use them for my own needs. I try to use common sense for when and how I medicate as I don’t want to light up in public or risk a DUI. If you’re going to keep working in a dispensary, medicating in public is not your wisest move. I’m aware of how and when I medicate and conduct myself so that I can avoid the ire of those who don’t approve; it comes down to practicing common sense.

Create the Space You Need to Protect Yourself from Negativity

In our industry, like in any, self-care can mean taking some time off to enjoy a vacation. Saving some money and enjoying some products at home by making it a stay-cation. Take part in your local community and develop your personal image as much as your professional image by volunteering is a great way to refresh yourself. How the outside world views you will help you drive forward into success. Protecting that success as well as yourself is the smartest thing you can do for your career. It’s possible to face bias or to forget outside perception of yourself as part of the cannabis industry. The cannabis community, as well as the local community, needs you to stay current and put your best foot forward. Care for yourself starting with developing healthy habits to control stress, use common sense when medicating, and maintain a positive sense of self-worth, then extend that to your surroundings. In doing so, you will keep a healthy balance of work and life, while also maintaining your own balance to live in the present as well as preparing for your future.