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Featured Budtender: Hez

Hez is deeply involved in the cannabis industry as a budtender. They are also a member of the Tether B-week Advisory Committee and recently co-founded a non-profit to support 2SLGBTQIA+ members in the cannabis industry.

Hez is trans/nonbinary and loves being active, collecting tattoos, going to concerts with their wife, and playing with their cat Sailor Moon. Currently, you can find Hez working at Edition X on Dupont in Toronto, a very queer-friendly shop.

Before legalization, Hez tried a bunch of careers, but couldn’t find anything they were passionate about other than cannabis. They had gone to school for HR and PR, but didn’t have it in their heart. After they were let go from their restaurant job—for taking time off to have a gender affirming procedure—Hez decided that the time was right to enter the cannabis industry. They got their CannSell and haven’t looked back.

Job Highs

For Hez the job highs are all about the customers, when newer customers come back to the store and bring someone who’s been hesitant to try cannabis. Meeting and helping them makes Hez feel all warm and fuzzy, knowing that people trust them to guide them towards products that will be just right. People letting their guard down and actually opening up about their experiences is also a massive plus. “It helps me steer them towards the products that are right for them and keeps them coming in to see me,” says Hez.

Hez’s current favourites right now include cannabis-infused beverages and CBG gummies. Hez encourages brands to think outside the binary box and don’t alienate their customer base. Think about the intended market for the product and the intended sales driver.

“Every Flower Deserves to Bloom”

Trans spaces in the cannabis community are a priority for Hez; “Imagine being a queer budtender in a town with limited cannabis industry options and the founder at the only place you can work regularly tweets violently transphobic things. Too many queer folks face that hurdle, or leave the industry altogether because of unsafe workplaces. Ultimately, cannabis is a plant that brings folks together; it’s a plant that is inherently queer. We’ve had enough gatekeeping in the industry—the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is going to thrive in the cannabis space, we’re here because every flower deserves to bloom.”

House of Flowers is a non-profit co-founded by Hez that is dedicated to helping the 2SLGBTQIA+ members of the cannabis industry bloom. They’re committed to providing members of the community with services through the four pillars of support: local programming, internal service development, provincial and federal support. Their initial focus is on local programming and internal services. They provide a place for licensed producers and retailers to put their money where their mouths are all year-round, Pride 365.

Hopes for the Industry

What is Hez’s biggest hope for the future of the industry? It is that we can move towards actually supporting the folks who carry it on their backs. “Queer people are here. They’re your supervisors, your new hires, the co-worker you asked to cover your shift last weekend. We’re here supporting you all the time, all we’re asking is for a little reciprocity. Also, I’d like to say thank you to the people I’ve met over my time in this industry who HAVE been supportive—you’ve made such a difference.”

The first House of Flowers event will be during Pride Kickoff in partnership with GreenMerchant Danforth and Flowr.

We need more people like Hez in the cannabis industry. Follow Hez on Instagram at @apocalypstick_now and @houseofflowerscan.

Tags: 2SLGBTQIA+ (1), budtender (11), Cannabis Industry (138), Cannabis Retail (294), cannabis staff (14), Edition X (2), Hez (1), House of Flowers (1), Toronto (2)