Andrew is the store manager at Curaleaf in Deerfield, IL. Andrew has been a part of the cannabis industry and Curaleaf for nearly two years. His professional background is in retail and consumer product goods. He is passionate about this plant and how it enhances the quality of lives for individuals in a variety of ways. Outside of work his passions are kayak fishing, listening to all kinds of musical genres, strong coffee, Chicago sports (and Iowa football), anything involving the natural world and science, pug culture, and spending time with his wife and 7-year-old daughter.
What is the most important aspect of a dispensary?
From my perspective, the customer experience. While I know our customers and patients seem well in tune with the products on our menu, and the weekly promotions we offer, there is nothing more satisfying than providing individuals with the right solution (products) for their medical ailment, wellness routine, or recreational experience.
How did you get into the cannabis industry?
I had been eyeing the industry for over a year or so, began networking, and based on my retail and consumer product good background, I was fortunate enough to land the General Manager position with Curaleaf (formerly Grassroots).
What do you think are the biggest advantages to being a medical cannabis patient versus a rec buyer?
If you’re a regular cannabis consumer, financially, it makes sense to register and purchase your medical card. Medical cannabis patients pay 2.25% in taxes on the product, as opposed to 20%-30%. Additionally, our medical locations tend to focus on a more holistic and therapeutic approach when consulting our patients; specifically targeting their medical ailments and finding the appropriate products/solutions.
Do you offer consultation to both your patients and to your rec consumers?
If our recreational, or adult-use customers require a deeper consultation; absolutely. We have several locations in the Chicago area that offer recreational cannabis, and as a company, Curaleaf is united in our commitment to finding the right products for our customers’ needs.
Tell me a story about a strain you love.
I’m quite easy to please. I’d describe and classify my cannabis usage as more of a “wellness routine”, as I use cannabis to both relax at the end of a long day as well as to enhance certain experiences in my life. Therefore, I tend to stick to strains that are often classified as Sativa.
How do you help medical patients with the product that’s right for them?
Whether they’re a new patient or a regular customer, we have trained and knowledgeable cannabis employees devoted to providing as deep of a consultation as needed. We come in contact with patients who have a variety of health ailments including cancer, sleep deprivation, anxiety, PTSD, joint pain, and so on. Our experienced teams take time and care in assessing and addressing these issues, with cannabis, as many of our employees are medical cannabis patients as well.
What’s appealing to you about the marijuana industry?
So many things. Beyond the numerous career opportunities and booming industry, ultimately, it goes back to being a part of an industry dedicated to improving and enhancing the quality of lives with this natural and magical plant. Cannabis can alleviate pain, ease one’s mental state and often bring much needed joy to those who consume.
What do you think is the hardest part about being a budtender?
Continuing to absorb the immense amount of information surrounding the plant, its intricacies and all the product knowledge that’s out there. Whether it’s learning about terpenes, the chemical compounds in the plant (cannabinoids), the vast variety of strains (their attributes and what ailments they tend to target), ancillary products on the market, industry trends, etc. This industry is moving so quickly and there’s a lot of data and information to absorb. How can we continue to effectively and efficiently pass that on to our customers, is to me, the biggest challenge for our Budtenders.
What’s something cool you learned recently about the marijuana industry?
Just hoping that the momentum for Federal legalization continues to move in a positive direction, and, I find it so cool that cannabis continues to be socially destigmatized.
What are the advantages of working with one of the country’s biggest and most successful dispensaries?
So many. From great resources and robust support departments that include marketing, store operations, compliance, etc. We have experienced leadership, strong purchasing power and have highly visible brands in our product portfolio that include Grassroots, Wana, and Select.
Tell me a success story you had with one of your medical cannabis patients.
I feel there are so many, to be honest. Specifically, when onboarding new patients, it’s just inspiring to see the beginning of their medical cannabis journey, no matter their story or personal course, by playing an integral role in being a part of their healing solution is incredibly enriching for me.
Tell us about Curaleaf and its core Mission?
Our mission is to improve lives by providing clarity around cannabis, and confidence around consumption. Our values encompass our passionate commitment, drive to deliver exceptional experiences, respect for all, product and process innovation as well as focusing on creating a cohesive, collaborative community.
What is a first visit like for a new medical patient?
We want to understand their medical ailment (why they’re here), how they want to consume, get an understanding of their familiarity with cannabis and ultimately know their intent and end goal when it comes to usage. New patients fill out a simple, one-time-only patient profile, they earn 15% off on their first three visits and we typically call them back after a week in order to get feedback on their experience.
How does your consultant work with patients to determine the appropriate medication if a patient is coming in with no Knowledge?
We have to create a discrete experience with patients and will take as much time needed in any consultation; whether it’s an avid cannabis user or someone new to the plant. Often, even more, experienced patients, continue to have engaging interactions with our employees if they’re looking for new products, exploring new categories, trends, or are merely looking for a different cannabis experience beyond their normal routine. It’s often a one-on-one engagement, but all our employees have their own strengths, preferences, and personal experiences, so we’re fully committed to helping find the right solution for our patients.
What sets Curaleaf apart from other medical dispensaries?
We don’t want to just direct you to a tablet and have you place your order; that’s just too transactional. We want to listen, interact with you, but also respect your privacy. We want to treat you like a friendly neighbor and have you enjoy the same cannabis journey as many of us are already a part of; continuing to emphasize the normalization and de-stigmatization of this natural plant.
How many locations does Curaleaf have? What other states is curaleaf in?
Curaleaf operates in 22 states in the US, with 109 dispensaries, 22 cultivation sites and over 30 processing sites. We employ over 5,000 team members in AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, KT, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, ND, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, UT & VT.
Do you have a loyalty program?
Yep, and pretty certain it’s the most aggressive in Illinois. We offer patients $5 for every $100 they spend (essentially 5% cashback). Patients can accumulate as many points ($) as they wish, use them at any time against their total order, or accrue them for as long as they wish, as these $ never expire.
Do you have any special offers for first time patients?
As mentioned prior, those who are new to any Curaleaf dispensary will earn 15% off their first three visits.
How often do you have specials?
Weekly. Sometimes it’s one special for an entire week, on other occasions we may have two specials that split the week.
Do you offer discounts for Seniors, Veterans, disability?
All Veterans get 10% off their entire order.