Budtender Chronicles with Alec Weston

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Alec, a Keylead from our Glebe shop. Alec brings a wealth of cannabis knowledge to his job and British humour we all know and love.

Sit back, light one up and say “Sup!” to your new BFF, Alec.

What location do you work at?

I work at the Glebe shop. I originally started at Wellington but transferred to Glebe due to its close proximity to my home. I love it, it’s probably the coolest and most unique store in Ottawa, obviously with some slight bias behind that opinion. We get that reaction a lot from customers saying “This shop is so much different from the others stores!”.

What is your role at Sup?

I am a Key Lead. I started out as a Budtender then moved up to Keylead. It’s great - we’ve got a great team at The Glebe. It’s a nice mix of veteran buds and new faces.

What attracted you to work at Sup?

Both the vibe and the aesthetic of the company. It’s very different from the corporate style store that I’ve worked at previously. And also the chance for internal growth and opportunity. I’m getting older and starting to look for less jobs and more career opportunities and Superette has those opportunities vs some of the other ones that have a ceiling that you may run into.

What’s your relationship with weed?

A close one. It’s something that I’ve been using for probably about half of my life now. It’s the one thing I’ve found that consistently helps with all of the little problems you run into in life, whether they’re big or small. There’s a product and an intent for every kind of situation.

What does a normal day at the shop look like for you?

We have a little chat with the team and get pumped for the day and see how everyone is doing. Throw on some tunes and open the doors to the public. It’s always a journey because you never really know who’s going to walk through the door.. There’s no monotonous routine to anything that I’ve experienced in other jobs. There’s always excitement when we hear the door start to open - we’re like “Who’s coming in next!”.

Favourite method of consumption? Favourite strain?

Definitely smoking. I’m a big smoker when it comes to cannabis. Bong is probably my number one preferred method. It’s how I get what I need out of cannabis. I’m starting to dabble in the dabs and concentrates now too as more of a treat and less of a full time option.

My favourite strain? It’s really hard to pick one. I really enjoy the Thumbs Up Pink Cookies x Kush Mints, and the Msiku Kush Mints x Ice Cream Cakes. You can see a theme around the Kush Mints there… I’ve always enjoyed products from so many different companies that getting put on the spot to pick one specifically is hands down almost too difficult.

Can you tell us a bit about what’s popular in terms of format at Glebe?

Glebe is a big location for edibles, pre-rolls and drinks. It’s more of a community that’s not necessarily the most cannabis advanced. We’re starting to get more people who are canna-curious and they tend to start off with edibles and drinks.

Since it’s a hustle and bustle neighbourhood, we get a lot of people who come in for a quick pre-roll on the way to the stadium or the movie theater. 

CBD based products are also huge here. We’re selling a lot of CBD drinks and edibles.

What do you predict will be the trend in weed this Fall/Winter?

True craft small batch cannabis. Big players are entering the market this fall; Cookies from California is entering via Gage Growth. We’re going to see genetics and quality that we’ve never seen before. I think people are really going to be able to see the difference between true craft quality vs some of the touted grass quality out there.

I think high quality concentrates will be a trend as well; we’ve seen an explosion in concentrates in the last year in regards to rosins, resins, waxes, diamonds and shatters. It’s only getting better.

As more and more legacy producers switch over to the recreational market, they’re bringing their methods and prized genetics along with them.

What’s something you did to keep busy during quarantine? How do you feel about being out of it now?

I got way too into TikTok. Once the stay at home order was lifted, I was out fishing almost every day. Just to be able to get out of the house and find a loophole to do something recreational was amazing. Obviously smoking weed the whole time.

It’s nice to be able to get back to doing things we enjoy as a collective. I think especially for the cannabis community, being so young as an industry, it was really unfortunate timing to have the lockdowns happen. It changed the industry in both good and bad ways I think. Now is the time for the industry to really jump back on its feet in regards to community events and being able to open back up to the public. Do the fun things we used to do - connecting with other cannabis enthusiasts!

What keeps you busy outside of Sup?

I play soccer and I’m big into sports in general. Manchester United recently signed Ronaldo again - makes me feel like a little kid again. They signed him the first time when I was 11.

Big fan of the local team here too, Athletico. It’s always fun to go watch them and support the local team.

Do you have any go-to terpenes?

I would say linalool and mercene as I tend to use cannabis to calm myself down more than anything else. I’m a bit of a hamster in a hamster wheel naturally. Those terpenes slow things down and keep things in the right order - keeps me on track. Anything that’s nice and relaxing. I’m also a big fan of lavender in general so linolu is an easy go-to for me.

You only smoke ___, why?

Indica hybrids. I mean everything is a hybrid if you want to be traditional about it. I’m able to find pleasure in all areas of the spectrum through personal research. It’s been nice to get back into some more uplifting hybrids recently. For a while I had to steer clear because they made me a little bit antsy.

Have you experienced any stigma working in cannabis?

Absolutely - it’s not everyone's cup of tea. I’ve definitely gone on a few dates where their faces change a bit after I tell them what I do.

I come from the UK where cannabis isn’t legal and it’s not viewed in the same way as it is in Canada. A few family members don’t necessarily enjoy it - it’s gotten a few cold shoulders from a some people. 

Besides that, it’s opening up more and it can only grow from here. People are really coming around that it’s a lot better for you than some of the legal substances that are out there. Eventually it will become part of our society just the way that alcohol is.

Do you have a tried, true and trusted cannabis brand? If so, why?

Simply Bare - you can’t go wrong with them. It’s one of the companies you don’t mind paying extra for to get their quality. It’s also organic. The way the world is going, we’re going to need to do more organic and sustainable practices. The cannabis industry is no different than any other industry when it comes to sustainable practice. 

I heard you’re a bit of a celebrity on Reddit…

Kind of.

I also hear you’re very humble about it.

When it comes down to it, I’m not afraid to correct people and try to change their minds. There’s almost a negative outlook towards brick and mortar dispensaries on Reddit. People are more favourable on ordering from the OCS website. 

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about how we operate as brick and mortar stores and how we choose to conduct ourselves. I’m not afraid to jump on there and educate people.

Is there anything else you want to add?

Just that I love working at Superette. It’s really cool to say you work for one of the OG, day 1 companies. Working with such an amazing team that’s predominantly female run is amazing to see in this industry.

I work with a great team - not just at a store level, but at a company level. And just being able to have fun and interact with people at different levels of the company without feeling like you’re not valued or that you can’t approach them.