Getting to know your dispensary staff isn’t always easy, dispensaries are fast paced and busy throughout the day. Much of what is learned comes from quick conversations. Like any business, there are people behind the scenes that you might never get to know, who work hard to provide medical cannabis. Working at a dispensary, learning about and observing my new coworkers has allowed me to better understand what drives them to continue to improve. Like most, cannabis has changed their lives for the better and may have helped them personally or people close to them in a life changing way. I talk with some of my fellow Mint colleagues about what they learn in their interactions and how they focus themselves on bettering the lives of patients. The time they put into learning more, finding empathy, and solving problems gives me comfort knowing that the people we serve are getting the best care from quality people of the High-est caliber.
The ability to work with cannabis is a dream realized, but it is a job nonetheless. The daily routines and work that these new friends perform is a new challenge every day, but they all will step up to meet that challenge, then best it. I am always left with feelings of pride in the quality of these new people in my life. Their humor, good will, and kindness make work a joy as well as provides me a chance to learn so I might better myself. I have taken the opportunity to share some of what I’ve learned from my new coworkers and what guides their path, both in career and in life. My hope is that you carry on with the conscious knowledge that these are real people working to help, and that they have thoughts, experiences, as well as feelings that might change your perceptions in a profound manner.
“Stoney” Tony Lorazo
“[my mom] is my biggest motivation when it comes to my career and to why I strive so hard to give people the best customer service they can receive.”
Tony is known on our crew as being well versed in all forms of medicating, and he’d be the first to say medical marijuana is the best solution when it comes to finding a treatment for anything. His life story is doctors filling him up with pharmaceutical drugs that did nothing but negatively affect his body while changing his habits for the worst. Born and raised in Chicago, IL; he experienced poverty and violence first hand. As a target his whole life in Chicago, he was consistently being frisked by the 24th district police because the police believed he was the “supplier” because of his skin color. From heroin flooding the streets, to the opioid epidemic, to bullets flying, he felt as if it were a reality filled with darkness. As a young kid, he found himself very passionate about cannabis, his father was a smoker his whole life. He taught him that marijuana wasn’t a drug, but in the eyes of the government it was still illegal. Never once when he lived in Chicago was he thinking Marijuana was equivalent to half the drugs he was seeing in the streets. Back in 2017, t-boned In a critical car accident that left him with a lifetime of permanent injuries. He was again a statistic, this time for the government as they treated him with Tramadol, Vicodin and Hydrocodone. He knew if he took these prescriptions that it would only mess up his life, in possibly becoming addicted to pills. He ended up flushing all that medicine and continued to smoke marijuana, for the pain.
A year later, to start a new journey, he moved to Arizona without ever being in the state before, leaving all his friends and family 1400 miles away. On September 17th, 2018 he was hired at The Mint Dispensary as a Budtender. His mother at the time was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer which made it very difficult time for him to understand and accept.
“She is my biggest motivation when it comes to my career and to why I strive so hard to give people the best customer service they can receive. I understand that the patients are looking for someone to actually listen to what they have to say and understand what is going on with them. Any of my patients know that I’m here for them and I will always try my best to better them in any way possible.“
Tony is a good person looking to be a better person, and is being led by someone of similar mindset and character. echo adrotate_ad(45);
“At the time I felt my cannabis knowledge was impeccable; little did I know I had barely scratched the surface.“
The journey for Gasman in the industry began with The Mint Dispensary administration department in November 2017.
“At the time I felt my cannabis knowledge was impeccable; little did I know I had barely scratched the surface. I soon found myself in environments where I was undermined due to my lack of knowledge and experience in the industry. However, it did not deter my motivation as I sought to make my career a passion and focused on making a name in the cannabis industry.“
Nick is sales manager, and has owned the role for over a year now. The love for cannabis has only grown stronger, along with his knowledge which has grown along with it. Watching his interactions with his crew or with patients, he now has the skills and experience to create a name in the industry. He has been taking all the steps to do so, he runs an Instagram, and founded an e-commerce clothing company called Gasman Gear in April of 2019. The impact of Nick Gasman is everywhere at The Mint, including a shirt he collaborated with the Mint, which was probably the most awesome thing that The Mint has done for him! He loves the people, the patients, and the community that cannabis has brought him together with. This is an industry that he made a passion, and what cannabis has done for him, and so many other people will always be important, so I had to ask him some questions.
How has your perception of cannabis changed since entering the industry?
The biggest change of outlook that I had while working in cannabis is the vast amount of diversity that makes cannabis use so unique. People from all walks of life have patient cards, and regardless of who you are, cannabis has brought all of us together. There are so few industries that can do that.
How has your own medical habits changed since entering the cannabis industry?
My cannabis use has undergone quite the transformation; High quality cannabis is a MUST for me. It is part of my niche, so it defines my respect for quality cultivators and extractors who put all of their effort into their craft while also refusing to cut corners. My favorite phrase (which is soon to be trademarked) is “GAS ONLY” which symbolizes the quality you should have not just for cannabis but the way you live your life. Never settle for less, and always get the best out of life.
What are some of your top recommendations for medicine available here in Arizona, what is the GasMan smoking?
I’ve been all over Arizona in search for the best strains, vendors, and cultivators that really kick out the heat. Grow Sciences, and Tru-med is top for me when it comes to flower, with AZ Nectar Farms (Love that Chronic Thunder!) and Aeriz getting honorable mentions. I’ve also developed a growing adoration for concentrates, specifically solventless concentrates. In that realm, DRIP reigns supreme along with Grow Sciences, and WTF Extracts has been a rising favorite of mine! I believe that they will be a household name in the concentrate market in due time.
“I am extremely passionate about cannabis and how much it actually helps, not hurts, so many different people in so many different generations.“
“My name is Maya I have been with The Mint for a year-and-a-half. I am a mother of two boys 7 and 4. I have been a part of the Cannabis community for about three years I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about a lot of different products and a lot of different ingestion methods, infusion methods, as well as extraction methods. I am extremely passionate about cannabis and how much it actually helps, not hurts, so many different people in so many different generations. I’m trying to become more of an influencer in the community as a mother. I feel we need more maternal cannabis influencers so that other mothers know it is okay having a joint instead of a glass of wine is okay.”
Maya is so well spoken, and kind, I am both intrigued and genuine in my asking of her opinions. I know she speaks from a place of knowledge with an understanding of the industry that few will ever know; I look forward to a possible chance to write with her in the future.
How has your perspective of cannabis changed since working in the cannabis industry?
My perspective on cannabis has changed greatly, “the cannabis industry”… I just figured you smoke it, you eat it, that’s all there is to it, but realistically there’s so much more that we are just now coming to realize. There are so many ways that you can use cannabis for medicinal purposes now, compared to let’s say 20 years ago, there’s more research being done, and there’s more knowledge going out to the people. It is not just “Oh, I’m getting high on the side of this building with my friends.” It is becoming more of a community. That helps, more than just a community that sits on Pete’s couch. They’re actively embracing this plant that is saving lives. I didn’t know that before, but now that I know, I am so happy to be a part of saving one life, one mind, or one body, at a time.
As a mother of two, how has cannabis helped you as a parent?
Cannabis helps me in so many different aspects of parenting. I am a mother with a disease that is incurable, I have endometriosis, and it causes me an intense amount of pain. As a parent, you don’t have time to be in pain, you don’t have time to be sick, so if it wasn’t for cannabis; I wouldn’t have the patience to deal with the everyday pitfalls, or I would miss the upsides of being a parent if it wasn’t for cannabis. I wouldn’t be able to play with my kids because of my endometriosis, so cannabis has helped me be a better parent because it actively helps me be an active parent, and not just a parent; it helps me be a mother to my children.
Is there any parental wisdom that you would pass to others?
Normalcy, is the one thing I say to other parents who are looking into or who are cannabis users. Make sure your kids know what you’re doing. You want to know what they’re doing, so don’t hide what you’re doing from them. They are not dumb, they are you, and they are just as smart as you. I have created a normalcy for my kids, so they ask if something has cannabis in it before they decide they want to eat it. They know what comes from the dispensary is not for them in any way, and that’s because of the normalcy that I’ve created in my home with this plant based medicine. There is a book that I do suggest, it is called It’s just a plant by Ricardo Cortez. This book helps explain to children what might be going on with their parent, their ailments, and how the cannabis plant is helping their mommy or daddy.
Any favorite strains, products, or dispensaries that you would recommend?
One of my favorite strains for sleep is GMO cookies, it has a very pungent garlic petrol smell with notes of berries and coffee. Any time that I feel that I can’t sleep, I can take a few dabs or smoke a joint of some GMO and I am out like a light. Another great strain that I love first thing in the morning, sometimes all day if I have a lot to do, is Jack Herer which has this lemony citrus “goodness” with earthy floral undertones. This strain helps with my nausea, abdominal pain, as well as my grogginess. One dispensary that I love and that I frequent quite a bit is Nova dispensary, off of Broadway and Dobson. They always have the Jack Herer crosses that I’m looking for, as well as some brands that we don’t carry at my job that I enjoy like Hana Meds, Dutchie Pre-rolls.
“If you only focus on those other two factors. You will ultimately lose. Patients are becoming more savvy, so either you lead the trends, or others will.“
He has been in the medical cannabis industry for more than two years. However, he has been using cannabis regularly, since age 16. He didn’t know its true medicinal value until suffering a horrific car accident his senior year. The injury was a brain hemorrhage in the cisterna magna, simply put, his brain was bleeding. It was so severe that he couldn’t use certain medicine because it could cause him to have a seizure so he turned to cannabis.
Now his take on cannabis is that: “It is a valuable resource. Although, my thoughts on the industry itself is that it is in new hands. It is a young industry in need of an enormous amount of innovation & refinement; which is ironic because most people believe America, or even themselves as the leaders in cannabis research & knowledge which couldn’t be further from the truth. Cannabis is so intrinsic that there are over 500 different compounds within it, each with their own medicinal value.”
He has not a single problem with people making money, or just going for the highest THC. However, he feels it is up to companies to set the right standard & educate their patients.
Trevor has an online handle, known as @cannabis_scholar and his content is amazing. You will learn his views and hear an honest opinion, which is what you get if you see Trevor in person. He is at The Mint most weekdays, and will hopefully be at the café counter when we start serving full spectrum brownies. If you have questions or just want to see his content, look him up on Instagram.
“I’m a person who has a love of making other people smile, and I just try to be the happiest I can be in life and life to the fullest.“
Miranda Jones is 24 and an Arizona native. She went to school for strategic communication/advertising up at Northern Arizona University (NAU). Her favorite hobbies include photography, graphic design, painting and watching the newest shows on Netflix.
“I’m a person who has a love of making other people smile, and I just try to be the happiest I can be in life and life to the fullest. I’ve been with the Mint fam for a little over a year and I couldn’t be happier with where I am.”
How has cannabis helped to make your life better?
Cannabis has helped my life in multiple ways. I did use recreationally before I even got a card but once I was introduced to the medical community, I was really able to be more educated in my choices and the different impacts I can make. I’ve had a bad back for years after injuring it when I was younger. Cannabis provides relief to my back pain when I’m feeling it the most (mornings!!!). Also, cannabis has helped me with my sleeping. I’m able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep! I looove it.
What are your thoughts on cannabis and its impact on people socially?
My thoughts on cannabis are pretty open. I think that socially, cannabis went through the same kind of stigma as alcohol in a way. During the ‘war on drugs’ era, cannabis was seen just as bad as heroin and, looking back at that compared to now, it shows how crazy that sounds. I think people are definitely becoming more aware of it and the positive effects on people. Speaking in a non-medical way, cannabis has the power to bring people together socially and that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.
Do you think public opinion will shift about views on cannabis? Why?
I do think the public opinion about cannabis will definitely change. It already has changed greatly in some states, which is amazing. But I think there’s still too many states with the same attitude/views of when the war on drugs was happening. I think we are slowly making headway, especially with the federal government, since new bills were introduced recently. It’s going to take time, like most things, but I think in a few more years, the public opinion will be even better. The main thing that could push things along is more education! There is too much misinformation that can spread like wildfire about cannabis that few people are willing to do the extra research. Once more and more people are educated about the benefits cannabis can provide, I think we can really shift public opinion.
I speak to my fellow patients, new friends, medical advisors, or whatever role these people choose to have in my life. I learn, and am able to see the good nature they carry, but also to experience the culture they help cultivate. I would advise anyone looking for a fresh experience with outstanding perspective to try The Mint. They want you to find relief because the entire staff is actively looking for their own relief, and are happy to share what they know.
Adrian Ryan was born in New Mexico and attended school since elementary in Arizona, his time growing up split between the two states. He hopes to work towards recreational cannabis, enjoys reading, writing, film, music, and also writing music.