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Cannabis Industry Worker Avatar

Finally, Get Clear On WHO Is Training! It’s a huge mistake. And yet, I see it happen all the time. A cannabis industry professional or business owner gets so focused on WHAT they’re training on that they forget to think about WHO they’re teaching it to. This is the kiss of death for any training

The post Cannabis Industry Worker Avatar appeared first on Green CulturED.



Retail Dispensary

It’s a huge mistake.

And yet, I see it happen all the time.

A cannabis industry professional or business owner gets so focused on WHAT they’re training on that they forget to think about WHO they’re teaching it to.

This is the kiss of death for any training program, and sometimes even an entire business.

You could have the greatest training on earth, but if you’re trying to train the wrong person – you’re never going to hit your goals.

That’s why understanding your “Worker Avatar” (AKA persona) is so important.

That’s also why we created the Cannabis Worker Avatar Worksheet (that you can download for FREE), to help you document everything about your “Worker Avatar.”

Before you can train anything effectively, you need to understand…

  • WHO your ideal worker is
  • HOW they’ll make an impact
  • WHAT their challenges are

But how do you actually do all that? Don’t worry – I’ll dig into the details later on in this post.

First, I want to make sure you understand why “Worker Avatars” are so important, and why I refer to them as the “Swiss Army Knife” of cannabis industry training.

The Swiss Army Knife Of Cannabis Training

Cannabis training is composed of a lot of different disciplines…

…and for them to be the smartest cannabis experts in the room, a Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy makes sense for “Worker Avatars,” right?

In order to be trained to work in the cannabis industry properly, the first thing you must do is get a clear picture on WHO is learning, HOW do they make an impact on their career or in your business, and WHAT their training requirements are…

Developing a cannabis training optimization strategy (in our Instructional Design process we call it “Training Evaluations”) will have a huge impact on professional development in the industry. But HOW?

We’ll get into the how-to in a second, but first, we need to understand who the cannabis industry worker is and ask some questions to optimize their training…

  • What are the barriers to training for workers right now?
  • Who are the promoters (government, business owners, etc.) of training and worker professional development?
  • How competent are workers from their training?
  • How satisfied is a cannabis business with their training?
  • How many workers need training (yourself or a team)?

This exercise will optimize virtually EVERY aspect of a worker’s training process and/or industry compliance required to get a job and operate legally, including…

  • Specialized Training – Do you need customized instruction to meet unique regulatory compliance requirements? We’re in the compliance business, if we do that right, then we’re lucky enough to sell cannabis.
  • Industry Certification – What training solutions are workers needing or businesses searching for? If there is proof of extended education, this demonstrates a drive for knowledge and a desire to succeed in the industry.
  • Retail Dispensary – What do you need to train dispensary staff on? Topics range from dispensary operations, sales skills, medicinal-use, customer relations and more… all based on best practices.
  • Cannabis Cultivation – Does your “Worker Avatar” need to plan on growing cannabis? You need to provide horticultural education to meet the cultivation standards for commercial production.
  • Soft Skills Knowledge – Which workers should receive specific soft skills training or not? Soft skills could be aspects of their professional development or could be required social or emotional intelligence.
  • Occupational Health – What workers should receive general occupational health training? If they are exposed to any critical hazards affecting health issues, then workers need to safeguard themselves.
  • Workplace Safety – Which workers should receive specific workplace safety training? You must take steps to protect everyone in the cannabis industry from all safety issues associated with their work.

…and that’s just scratching the surface. Any part of the industry process that “touches” workers’ training requirements (which is pretty much EVERYTHING) will be optimized when you get clear on your types of workers.

After all, it’s an industry worker that conducts the services and produces the results in business. It pays to get clear on the characteristics of different worker positions, so you can present them with training that moves them to action.

Let’s look at one of our “Worker Avatars” as an example…

(NOTE: Before you can optimize training, you must do is get a clear picture on WHO is learning, HOW do they make an impact, and WHAT their professional development requirements are. Download our proven Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy now and get clear on what’s needed to learn.)


“Worker Avatar” Example: Meet A Dispensary Technician

Let’s review more training evaluation questions before we look at some other “Worker Avatars,” but we will focus on the Dispensary Technician (aka “Budtender”) role…

  • What topics do workers need to be trained on?
  • Is training being recorded (certificates, assessments, etc.)? If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen…
  • How much training is there? The number of topics/hours?
  • Can you create new training quickly to respond to business needs or emerging regulatory requirements?

Evaluation should be an integral part of each activity in the training development process, including eLearning in its various forms, although many Instructional Designers often overlook it or leave it out!

If you’ve invested resources for yourself via professional development or training for your employees, with all that comes an expectation to measure its impact.

After all, if you can’t measure IMPACT, you can’t improve it.

The purpose of instructional and training optimization is to provide continuous feedback in order to improve training for our industry worker.

As an example, in 2015, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (or MED) created the first-ever compliance training in existence for the world’s cannabis industry – called the Responsible Vendor Program – expected to be completed by all workers in the state.

So, the industry began producing a new type of accredited training: “Specialized Certification.” These types of certifications include required training topics along with exams, certificates, and badges.

A new certification means a new skill for Colorado cannabis industry workers. And, a new required compliance training means a new “Worker Avatar” must be built.

We defined four (4) distinct Colorado “Worker Avatars” below that is impacted by this state-implemented compliance training (that’s expected):

  1. Dispensary Technician “Job-Seekers” – wants to complete the “Responsible Vendor” training beforehand so they’re employable. In addition, this helps to distinguish themselves from the other applicants competing for the same job.
  2. “Working” Dispensary Technicians – they’re already employed and working in Colorado’s cannabis industry but need the required “Responsible Vendor” training to maintain their job and to sharpen their skill set.
  3. The “Cannabis Consultant” – interested in the state’s compliance training to distinguish themselves from competitors and to be “in-compliance” to secure consulting gigs in the Colorado market.
  4. The “Business Owner” – expected to complete the state compliance training to improve their own expertise and to ensure “best practices” are implemented within their Colorado cannabis business.

As a result, we now have our “WHO” and four (4) new Colorado “Worker Avatars” were born. A couple of these avatars will work as Dispensary Technicians, but ALL workers are expected to complete the “Responsible Vendor” regulatory compliance training.

Let’s focus on our Dispensary Technician avatars working in Colorado, we need to determine what optimization their training requires (more than being “compliant”) …

  • How long does it take to get onboarded?
  • Is the Colorado compliance training applied?
  • What performance area needs improvement?
  • What major areas are lacking performance?
  • How is learning/training applied to operations?

It’s important to remember that when conducting a training optimization strategy for our Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatars,” it is a systematic process to analyze if training is effective and efficient.

During our training optimization, it will help with the discovery of training gaps and opportunities for developing industry workers. It will collect information that can help determine improvements in training and decide if certain programs should even be discontinued.

Dispensary owners are always in need of top talent. Let’s have a look at the different components of the Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatar,” as an example.

Members of a dispensary team are the front-line “faces” of the industry, and most of the time, the first person a customer will interact with during the retail experience.

Let’s walk through this Cannabis Worker Avatar Worksheet,” step by step.

“Worker Avatars” – What To Include

There are five (5) major components to the “Worker Avatar” strategy that you will need to consider:

  1. Goals and Values
  2. Training and Development Topics
  3. Demographic Information
  4. Challenges and Pain Points
  5. Qualifications and Requirements

In some cases, you’ll have government regulation requirements or need conversations with workers to completely flesh out avatar training needs.

In other cases, you’ll be intimately familiar with the requirements of your ideal “Worker Avatar.”

In any case, move forward.

Don’t wait for surveys or interviews to be conducted to create your avatar draft.

Make assumptions where you have no data or feedback and put it on your short list of to-do’s to complete your research. You’ll benefit from the worksheet to build a “Worker Avatar” from what you know, and IMPACT needed in the cannabis industry, such as…

  • Impact on specific worker performance indicators or other development outcomes
  • Benefits that can be ascribed a financial value
  • The benefits and risks identified
  • Overall assessment of the business impact
  • Other comments from “Worker Avatars”

Let’s look at sections of the “Worker Avatar” worksheet…

(NOTE: Before you can optimize training, you must get a clear picture on WHO is learning, HOW do they make an impact, and WHAT their professional development requirements are. Download our proven Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy now and get clear on what’s needed to learn.)


Goals & Values

We begin with the goals and values of your ideal “Worker Avatar” to determine if they’re a good fit…

Make note of the goals and values that are relevant to the training and professional development you may need.

You’ll use this information to drive training creation, business requirements, and best practices for career development or in your cannabis business (and more).

We know, for example, that an applicant for a Dispensary Technician job is typically interested in “getting their cannabis industry career started.”

As a result, we could draft a training outline for this “Worker Avatar” that promotes the knowledge needed for a Dispensary Technician to succeed in the industry…

What compliance training or professional development is required to be employable and SUCCEED?

That should get all Dispensary Technicians’ attention as you align their personal goals and values into their professional development to execute in their career.

Training & Development Topics

This section of the training optimization strategy is critical to determine “HOW” a Dispensary Technician learns about different aspects of the cannabis industry.

You will determine the best topics to continue training and the targeting development options to educate your “Worker Avatar” by providing sources of great knowledge… so they can continuously make an impact.

Use the “But no one else would” trick when filling out this section of the worksheet. You’ll simply complete sentences like these…

  • My ideal “Worker Avatar” would already have completed Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (or MED) “Responsible Vendor” compliance training.
  • My ideal “Worker Avatar” would read cannabis cultivation books, but no one else would.
  • My ideal “Worker Avatar” would have safety and health training, but no one else would.
  • My ideal “Worker Avatar” would attend cannabis conferences, but no one else would.

Are you getting the picture?

The idea is to find the niche books, magazines, blogs, conferences, gurus, etc. your ideal “Worker Avatar” would be attracted to learn more about the industry – but no one else would spend the time or even exert energy.

For example, if you are training how to determine valid identification (ex. Driver’s Licenses) – you wouldn’t want to only learn Colorado’s Driver Licenses (or DL) – since sales can be from people out-of-state (obviously they won’t have a Colorado DL).

Many different types of identification are legal to use that workers need familiar with – just like workers in other legal jurisdictions.

Instead, choosing a more niche training can create compliance risks, you need to hone-in all of the different types of identification your ideal worker needs to know…

When verifying someone’s identification you need to ensure they can legally purchase cannabis, the “Worker Avatar” needs to be able quickly to verify different types of identifications that are perfectly legal to use…

While NOT allowing sales to those who do not have a valid and legal form of identification available.

Demographic Information

Applying demographic information brings your “Worker Avatar” to life.

While demographics are critical, the exercise of filling in these fields is helpful to “identify minimum requirements” of your ideal worker.

The demographics are another useful part of the “Worker Avatar” to know what’s required to get the job and choosing targeted training options they need to succeed.

Don’t forget to get your “Cannabis Worker Avatar Worksheet” for FREE.

When creating training, reviewing compliance requirements, or other areas of professional development, it can be beneficial to simply write as though your avatar were sitting across the table from you.

Challenges & Pain Points

This section drives NEW training topics or professional development. In addition, you’ll identify learning needs you’ll use to compel ideal workers into action to make an impact.

When completing Colorado’s “Responsible Vendor” compliance training for a Dispensary Technician, for example, we would do well to build training to address challenges and pain points and use language that addresses their professional development requirements.

For example, compliance training should include benefits and risks working in the industry like…

Do you want to be fined by cannabis industry regulators, it could hurt your career or employer?


Are you tired of fearing not doing your job right – because you didn’t get the proper professional development to succeed in your job?


Do you want to certify yourself and work with certified teams to reduce the risk of being “non-compliant?”

Training like that will get a response from “Worker Avatars” because it is specific to their pain points.

Qualifications & Requirements

Why would a “Worker Avatar” NOT succeed with the Dispensary Technician role?

Do they meet the required experience to qualify or have the necessary requirements for the job?

These minimums must be addressed and met 100% in every business in the cannabis industry.

For example, if we know that a worker does NOT have any experience with out-of-state identifications (or ID) and other team members are be out-of-pocket to ask questions, it might be good to have a resource like…

Identification Checking Guide (ID’s from around the world)

You must also determine your Dispensary Technician’s role in the retail sales process. Are they the primary identification checkers in the retail dispensary?

Understanding your ideal worker’s decision-making process is paramount to the success of their career and any business operating in the cannabis industry.

Build Multiple “Worker Avatars”

Start by building a single avatar. But don’t stop there. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be churning out multiple avatars representing the different requirements of the industry jobs essential within a cannabis business.

Don’t go overboard, but any cannabis industry “Worker Avatar” with a distinct set of training, compliance requirements, professional development, etc. is deserving of having an avatar built for their training optimization.

Training optimization is an important process to determine the effectiveness and checking if training is indeed helping individuals become good at what they do.

Through strategic evaluation, you can find ways to improve the quality of training and achieve the goals set for employee success.

Use the “Cannabis Worker Avatar Worksheet” below to get clear on your ideal training needs and if implemented properly, you will get a return on your investment:

  • Training Costs and Financial Benefits
  • Return-on-Investment (or ROI) Percentage
  • Benefit-to-Cost Ratio
  • Payback Period

Click Image to Download and Fill in Your Worker Avatar!

Armed with the knowledge in this resource, you’re ready to put it to work for your career or business! But why stop here? There’s so much to learn about cannabis…

If you’re looking to kick it up a notch and become a better cannabis expert, you need systems and training that…

  • Consider the broader lessons from your training optimization strategy and list recommendations based on the findings. Recommendations should identify what should be maintained or expanded, and where changes to training and development seem necessary.
  • Also, consider the impact in relation to the costs and benefits of training Return-on-Investment (or ROI).

Let us know what you think.

(NOTE: Before you can optimize training, you must do is get a clear picture on WHO is learning, HOW do they make an impact, and WHAT their professional development requirements are. Download our proven Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy now and get clear on what’s needed to learn.)




I Love Bad Review: Hemp Socks and Underwear



Back in the day, hemp was used for all kinds of purposes, including clothing. Prohibition certainly changed this, but now, with a re-opening of cannabis industries, hemp clothing is making a comeback. One of the up-and-coming hemp clothing brands is I Love Bad Organics, a company geared toward natural fibers, and the use of hemp in clothing. Here is an I Love Bad review of the company’s hemp socks and underwear.

With the hemp market opening up, getting products like hemp socks and underwear is much easier to do. Same with compounds like delta-8 THC and THCA, which were never available to consumers before, but which now can be found on store shelves, thanks to the recent cannabis boom. What are these products? THCA is a precursor to delta-9, and has medical benefits with no high at all. Delta-8 THC is an alternate form of THC to delta-9 which provides similar medical benefits, but with slightly less high, less anxiety, and less couch locking. Take a look at our deals for Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OTHCPHHC and even on legal Delta-9 THC, to fully take advantage of today’s hemp market.

I Love Bad

I Love Bad Organics is a brand that specializes in underwear and socks, manufacturing its products from natural fibers like organic cotton and hemp. The company is vegan friendly, supports local manufacturing, uses sustainable fibers, and gives to charities. The name itself BAD, stands for ‘bridging all differences’, which the brand uses as a general philosophy of openness and acceptance.

I Love Bad specializes in socks and underwear for now, but does offer other products. Interested buyers can check out the company’s organic hemp face mask ($21), organic hemp U-neck tee-shirt ($42), organic hemp baby blanket ($54), organic hemp oil with crystals ($24), organic hemp fleece throw ($90), organic hemp pet bed ($180), organic hemp fleece blanket ($270) and mildew free organic hemp bath sheets ($60+).

For the men out there, I Love Bad provides hemp and organic cotton boxer briefs in black and natural ($27) that can fit men sized 7-39. The company also offers all-organic cotton crew socks in different colors ($15/each), as well as Shibori tie-dye hemp socks for $24/pair, but I did not try these socks.


As per the name, these socks are a blend. They are made of 66% organic cotton, 28% hemp, and 6% Lycra. The socks I got are ‘natural’ color, feel very thick and strong, with a cuff/leg that went up to about halfway to my knee. I admit I would have preferred a smaller cuff, but the store doesn’t offer that right now. The all-cotton crew socks sold by the company may or may not be shorter. As I do a lot of athletic activities, I find a shorter cuff is generally better. Even so, I used these socks while training.

I am a fan of cotton socks to begin with, though they are not very easy to find these days. I generally end up with mixes of cotton and unnatural fibers like polyester, nylon, or spandex, so I haven’t recently used socks made of all hemp and cotton (disregarding the small amount of Lycra for stretch ability). The synthetic blends do tend to make my feet hotter and sweatier. I found the cotton and hemp socks to be very breathable. Even though they’re thick, they didn’t feel too thick or heavy, even when doing athletic activities.

The socks feel extremely durable. Most of my socks wear down in the heel and the toe before too long, but I don’t expect that to happen very fast with these socks. They feel very strong, like they could easily make it through years of use. In today’s world of cheaply made products, its almost hard to remember that good quality clothing lasts much longer, and requires less replacing. Of course, in today’s world, it’s preferable to change things up constantly, which might itself be a result of the lessening quality of products.

I also like variety and switching things up, but I prefer if my socks don’t wear out quickly. I also prefer them to be thick and protective, and breathable. The only complaint I have in the end, is that I would have preferred shorter cuffs on the socks, which is better for athletics. A thinner material would also be preferable for athletics, but the thickness is good otherwise. When the weather gets colder, these socks should be fantastic in the winter.

The materials used to make the socks were sourced from the following places: hemp and organic cotton yarn was sourced from China’s Hemp Farming Cooperative. USDA certified organic cotton yarn came from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative. The socks were knit in North Carolina. Each pair of socks retails for $15, or a 3-pack for $39.


Much like with socks, it has become increasingly difficult to find underwear made of all natural fibers. Also like with socks, I prefer natural fibers, but generally end up with blends. Sometimes I can’t even find blends involving cotton at all. And again, as with the socks, these synthetics tend to make me feel hotter and sweatier. Over the years I’ve gotten used to these synthetic fabrics, like everyone else, but never found them comfortable.

I Love Bad’s hemp & organic cotton underwear comes in black or natural color, and is made from 60% organic cotton, 28% hemp, and 8% Lycra. The underwear has no elastic band, for maximum comfort, is sewn in California with Flat Lock Stitching, is made using organic cotton and hemp grown and processed without chemicals, and is low-impact dyed at a facility in Los Angeles. The company offers extra information on both the Flat Lock and low impact dying processes.

The underwear is hipster cut, so the sides are wide, but the back side shows a good bit of cheek. Definitely not the best underwear for athletics in terms of cut, but otherwise a comfortable fit. For ladies that like a bit more coverage in back, these would not be preferable. Right now, they are the only cut that I Love Bad sells. I am essentially a size zero, and I got the extra-small size, which fits perfectly. The company’s largest size is XL, which is for size 14-16.

I found the underwear to be very comfortable. Much like with the socks, I could feel that my skin could breathe better, and I didn’t feel as wet and sweaty after a workout. There was a generally airier feel to them. I think a larger selection in the styles would be nice, as hipster style is not great for all occasions. Nonetheless, they are a comfortable pair of underwear. The material feels strong, the underwear is made well, and does not give the impression it will fall apart quickly, as some of the newer synthetic ones tend to.

I’m not entirely sure how necessary the Lycra is with the underwear (or the socks). I have had 100% cotton socks and underwear in the past which did not use Lycra, and I wonder if the Lycra is really all that necessary, as it does add a synthetic fiber to the mix, albeit in small concentrations. In the case of these products, less than 10% is Lycra. The underwear retails for $15 a pair, or a 3-pack for $60.

Cons of I Love Bad’s hemp and cotton socks and underwear:

  • Not a lot of variety in styles.
  • The use of Lycra which keeps them from being made entirely of natural fibers.
  • How useful the hemp is vs the cotton is hard to know since they’re blended, though this is not really a detraction of overall product quality.
  • Not as cheap as products made with synthetic fibers and harsher chemicals.

In terms of pricing, I Love Bad’s products fit what I see as a general price point in the industry. Stores selling similar items are priced about the same. Prices for these products are way higher than cheaply made synthetic products, even though hemp itself should provide a cheaper alternative. As the market expands out more, more cultivation and processing is done, and more competition exists, I expect the price will go down.


I very much like this company and the products it makes. The company is definitely invested in creating durable products using quality materials, with an eye on the environment, spirituality, and personal health. I do hope they expand their offerings to include more colors and styles, but overall, I think I Love Bad is a great example of how hemp can be used alone, or in conjunction with cotton, to create sustainable, long-lasting, and comfortable products. This company is a great indication of where the hemp clothing market is going.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Did Shakespeare Use Cannabis for Creativity?



It’s long been known that cannabis and creativity go hand in hand: Hendrix, the Beatles and even Carl Sagan, the world famous cosmologist, all used Cannabis’ creative powers. But there is one name to add to that list that may surprise many people and that’s UK nation’s poet, world famous playwright and every school child’s nightmare: William Shakespeare.

In 2001, a South African Anthropologist called Francis Thackeray was given permission from Shakespeare’s birthplace to analyze a collection of pipe fragments found in the grounds of Shakespeare’s garden. The study found that on eight of the pipes there was the residue of cannabis and these were the pipes most closely associated with the Bard’s property itself. It seems that Shakespeare operated on a work hard, play bard routine, perhaps even using cannabis as a stimulant for his creativity. But what evidence is there from the Bard’s own words that he liked to use cannabis and how does cannabis increases creativity in general? In this article, we’ll examine how Shakespeare’s timeline crosses neatly with the large scale introduction of Cannabis plants to the United Kingdom, we’ll look at Thackeray’s study in depth and we’ll investigate the science behind Cannabis and creativity, all to examine if the man ‘of all time’ may have been high whilst writing his finest works.

Cannabis has been known to boost creativity for centuries. Some of our greatest artists throughout history were using cannabis and other psychedelics to reach new heightened new levels of connectivity. To learn more about these compounds, and for exclusive deals on Delta 8, Delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OTHCP, HHC and even on legal Delta-9 THC, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, your top source for all things cannabis related!

Cannabis and Shakespeare’s England

Before Cannabis was known and used as a recreational drug in Britain it was grown mostly as hemp, a crop used for medicinal reasons and to make fibre, clothes and rope. The earliest known usage of hemp seeds comes from Roman Britain as seeds were found in a well in York. Hemp was also used throughout Anglo-Saxon England as an important crop for the production of medicine, textiles and animal feed. Hemp very quickly became one of the most popular crops in Britain because of its many uses and indeed boomed in Elizabethan England, the time Shakespeare began to write.

Queen Elizabeth I even created a new law that meant every farmer with more than 60 acres of land had to grow hemp. The penalty of not carrying this out was a fine of 5 whole pounds (worth a lot more then than it is now). The medicinal properties of Cannabis were noted by many writers around Shakespeare’s era, John Gerard describes how many ailments Cannabis can cure in his book The Herball (1597). In a book titled ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ by Robert Burton, hemp seeds made into a drink are offered as a treatment of depression.

But what about the recreational use of cannabis? Cannabis was being smoked recreationally around the world in the form of Hashish, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, but it’s not easy to find evidence of its use in Britain. However, It is not hard to imagine that travelers from these areas of the world would have found themselves in London pubs or theatres and shown the locals that cannabis plants could be used for more than making ropes or curing ailments.

The Thackeray Study

To make the claim that Shakespeare was using cannabis to help him write, we first need evidence that he was actually smoking it. Francis Thackeray’s study does just this, but beyond Shakespeare it also shows us that Cannabis was being smoked in this era and most likely for recreational reasons. In The study, nicely described in an independent article  written by Thackeray himself, the team used state-of-the-art forensic technology to chemically analyse residue found on the pipe fragments. Interestingly, Cannabis was not the only chemical found. Coca leaves, the predecessor of cocaine, were also found on two of the pipes. This is also in line with the fact that many variations of new smokable leaves were brought back from ‘the new world’ by sailors such as Walter Raleigh (Including Tobacco). 

To make matters even more interesting, the pipes with Coca residue were the only pipes analysed not from Shakespeare’s garden, but near to it. Instead, the pipes from his garden contained the cannabis residue mentioned earlier. Thackeray even goes as far as to say that “Shakespeare may have been aware of the deleterious (damaging) effects of cocaine as a strange compound. Possibly, he preferred cannabis as a weed of mind stimulating properties.” That says it all. Shakespeare’s choice drug was cannabis, because it boosted his creativity. The Bard of Avon was ahead of his times in many ways.

There are of course some issues with the study and some aspects have to be taken with a pinch of tobacco. Though the pipes were found in Shakespeare’s garden, it’s rather tricky to tie them directly to The Bard himself. Even when dating the pipes, the study can only say that the pipes date to ‘the early 17th Century’, this is quite a broad time-frame, especially considering Shakespeare died in 1616. So we have to be a tiny bit cautious when using Thackeray’s study, but it is very interesting.

The ‘Noted weed’: Shakespeare’s References to Cannabis

Is there any evidence from the man himself about his preference for Cannabis, do we find any enlightenment from flicking through the folio?  Amazingly we do, Shakespeare seems to make multiple references to what could be his ‘other muse’. In the Merry Wives of Windsor, the character Ford tells the audience that he wants to drink “pipe wine”, a line usually linked with tobacco, but with the knowledge of Thackeray’s study and the quotes to follow, it could be referencing smoking a different leaf altogether. 

In Sonnet 76 we find arguably the most clear evidence of Shakespeare’s use of Cannabis for creativity: 

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?

We see here Shakespeare’s reference his ‘noted weed’, which some (including Thackeray) have taken to be a nod to cannabis being used as a method to help with his writing, or ‘invention’. It seems from this poem that Shakespeare indeed keeps his invention in his weed (cannabis) and uses it whenever he strives to find the right words, or even uses it to show him his character’s histories, fleshing them out (showing their birth and where they did proceed). Earlier in this poem he describes how he doesn’t want to be linked to any ‘compounds strange,’ which Thackeray has taken to mean strange new drugs, even cocaine. More evidence of Shakespeare’s preference to the more natural and ancient method of finding his buzz.

In sonnet 118 Shakespeare says : 

Like as, to make our appetites more keen,
With eager compounds we our palate urge

Perhaps a reference again using compounds or drugs to help increase the appetite, both a reference to appetite of life but perhaps also his attitude to writing.

A potentially even more cryptic, but fascinating reference occurs in Henry V where Pistol tries to save a man doomed to hanging he exclaims: ‘Let man go free and let not hemp his windpipe suffocate’. This line has been analysed as potentially having a double meaning. As we’ve discussed above Hemp was used to make fibres and ropes, so Pistol is referring to the rope of the noose, but it could also be a wry nod to the burning feeling cannabis gives the throat.

Shakespeare, Cannabis and Creativity

It’s clear that Shakespeare would at least have come into contact with the use of Cannabis recreationally, and indeed he may have even shown his readers that he liked to use it for inspiration, but what is the science behind cannabis’s link to creativity and how might we use this to further understand why Shakespeare may have relied on it to come up with his most complicated plots.

To understand, we must look at the neuroscience: Cannabis smoking produces a wealth of Dopamine in the brain, including an area known as the frontal cortex. In a study by Schaffer et al in 2011, they took two groups of participants, some with high and some with low levels of creativity and tested them in two conditions: High on Cannabis and non-intoxicated. What they found was that the low creativity group increased their verbal fluency to that of the high-creative group. Verbal fluency is a measure of how quickly and creatively a participant can speak. The authors argue that this increase in fluency was because of the increase of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex which may lead to a swifter ability to produce words.

What Schaffer’s study showed was that creativity in verbal fluency could be increased in those with low creativity. This would seem almost too perfect to a playwright with a mental block. Cannabis also increases blood flow to areas of the brain needed for creativity, including the amygdala, an area needed for emotional processing and empathy. This would perfectly help the playwright put himself in Romeo’s shoes whilst writing the balcony scene.

A Summary on Shakespeare and Cannabis

So it seems rather likely that Shakespeare had indeed found inspiration in his ‘Noted weed’. The fragments of pipe show us that people were smoking Cannabis and more than that, it was being smoked in Shakespeare’s garden, the many quotes and references in Shakespeare’s own works and of course the science behind Cannabis’ link to creativity all point towards the Nation’s bard using cannabis as his muse. Without Cannabis, we wouldn’t have had Hendrix, we wouldn’t have had some of the Beatles finest albums and now we can assume we wouldn’t have even had Hamlet. A rather strong case for Cannabis’s powers of productivity.

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Tetragram CEO reveals secrets of success to launching a start-up cannabis company



Through his years of business experience, Smith knows the keys to success are about having a regimen.


“Ultimately what motivates me, regardless of accolades or momentum, it is always hustling like it’s day No. 1. “


Smith’s day starts with meditation and a trip to the gym to organize his thoughts and clear his mind. This is his time to not think about Tetragram and to immerse himself in music with a workout playlist that is based on his tasks ahead. 


“If it’s a tough day of meetings, I listen to hard core rap, like Ice-T, Scarface, and Dave East. If it’s a more laid back day, I will listen to The Weeknd or J Cole – something more inspirational.”


Smith’s gym routine includes a 2-mile run in 14 minutes to get his heart rate going. 


After his 74-year-old father’s death of a brain aneurysm about six years ago, Smith realized he didn’t have any way of coping with his untimely passing so he started running and focusing on his own health. 



“I realized tomorrow is not promised. He worked out every day. He walked every day. He was in fantastic shape. His death was out of the blue. It made me realize, time is the most valuable commodity we have and I don’t waste a minute of it anymore.”



After years in development, Tetragram was officially born in 2020. In the first year, the app usage far exceeded the company’s projected goals especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, tax revenue generated from medical and adult recreational marijuana topped more than $2 billion. 



As medical and legal recreational cannabis usage increases, the spike in cannabis-related businesses has also jumped. That is where Smith sets Tetragram apart from other cannabis startups.



“We are part of the culture. We are grassroots and have credibility. We are tapped into the vibe of the real industry. We have the respect of the OGs in the industry. We are not building tech to get rich, we are building to improve people’s lives. We are here for the people. Our goals are for people who look like me to have a place in this industry.”



For Smith, the creation of Tetragram began after he nearly died in a 2003 car accident. After the crash that left him with severe head injuries, Smith was prescribed opioids for the pain he was suffering. He quickly knew that was not a solution for his pain and he turned to medical marijuana for relief.



Finding it difficult to remember what strains helped with types of pain and had what effects, Smith would again begin building another business. He and his fellow cannabis users and Tetragram co-founders, Lucas Roe and Julius Moore, created an easy-to-use app to track, rate, and discover cannabis. 



Tetragram was recently named one of the best cannabis apps by Cannigma.



Smith, who also happens to be a member of MENSA, talks about terpenes and cannabinoids like most discuss sports, movies, or music. Smith has truly educated himself about marijuna strains and their effects for pain relief. But more importantly, Smith understands the importance of data and sharing information between cannabis retailers, producers, medical marijuana professionals, and consumers.



Working with dispensaries, investors, and his team, Smith never stops taking the next steps to propel his cannabis start-up to a much higher level and provide cannabis users with a way to journal their marijuana experiences.



The next version of Tetragram is scheduled to launch by the Q1 of 2022 with added functionality, including integration with dispensary QR codes and visual data. 

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Cannacurio #48: Dispensary & Retailer Leaderboard September 2021 | Cannabiz Media



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Dispensaries and retailers have continued to come online this year. We count 1,846 licenses issued through the end of August. Six states issued 100 or more licenses so far with Oklahoma, as usual, taking the lead.  

Key Findings

  • Oklahoma continues its dominant position with 462 (25%) new licenses.
  • We now show Montana as a leader as their caretaker/provider licenses can now be classified as dispensaries.
  • Other leading states include Michigan at 208, Arizona at 125, and Missouri at 120.

The questions that invariably get asked by the market are about licenses not yet available: What about Illinois? Where are the New Jersey and New Mexico licenses? And Georgia!  

What we’ve all seen play out since we started tracking licenses is that there is often a sizable lag in time from when the law is passed to the licenses being awarded, and then for them to actually become active. While Oklahoma started issuing licenses after six months, the timeline in many other jurisdictions is 18-24 months.  

In the meantime, here’s our census of active cannabis dispensary/retail licenses. We currently estimate that 8,212 stores hold these 9,032 licenses since some stores hold a medical and adult license.


The year is still early, and we still believe that 2021 promises to be another year of license growth in some markets. Arizona unleashed 102 new retail licenses to existing dispensary license holders while West Virginia published their list of 100 permitted dispensaries. Georgia and Rhode Island are slated to issue licenses soon, and Illinois has teased their next round of license for quite some time. We’ll keep you posted in future Cannacurios.

In our last update on dispensaries and retailers back in March, we were looking ahead to new licenses coming on board from Rhode Island, Georgia, and Illinois. So far, Rhode Island has been a bust, Illinois decided who should get some of them but cannot issue them, and Georgia got theirs awarded. All eyes are still on New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Connecticut, so stay tuned!

Cannabiz Media customers can stay up-to-date on these and other new licenses through our newsletters, alerts, and reports modules. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive these weekly reports delivered to your inbox. Or you can schedule a demo for more information on how to access the Cannabiz Media License Database yourself to dive further into this data.

Cannacurio is a weekly column from Cannabiz Media featuring insights from the most comprehensive license data platform.

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