Constructive Criticism In The Cannabis Industry

Constructive criticism is a gift, if only you know how to receive it


Consistently producing high-quality cannabis is an incredibly difficult task even for the most experienced cannabis growers.

There are so many factors that go into producing high-quality cannabis, and I won’t pretend for a moment that my own experiences would allow me to provide a breakdown of what it takes to produce high-quality cannabis.

That said, having previously managed two cannabis retail stores in Vancouver, I am quite accustomed to dealing with constructive feedback from customers when the cannabis products they purchased did not meet their expectations.

Some Context To Set The Stage

As I have mentioned on more than one occasion, budtenders have a significant amount of influence within the modern cannabis industry, however, many may be unaware that there are two types of budtenders.

1. There are in-store budtenders who help educate new customers on all of the complexity that is cannabis, and provide customers with product recommendations when they are asked for assistance.

2. There are online budtenders, such as WhatsMyPot, VapeMyBud, Randy Lahey & Pancakenap to name a few. These are people who purchase cannabis out of their own pocket, and post product reviews on platforms like Twitter to help other consumers like myself decide which cannabis products to purchase.

Every online budtender has their own approach, however, it’s crystal clear from all of my interactions with these people that they are posting these product reviews to help other consumers.

Sometimes this means posting a negative product review, however, I can assure you that none of these people take enjoyment from posting negative product reviews, however, it comes with the territory.

Bad reviews are the toughest to write, however, they are the most valuable to consumers - WhatsMyPot

How Not To Handle Constructive Criticism

Last last week I saw something on Twitter that really frustrated me.

One of my favorite online budtenders WhatsMyPot purchased 3.5/Grams of Space Cake produced by Delta 9 on the Ontario Cannabis Store.

As is always the case, they shared their thoughts / feedback across their social channels, and it was crystal clear from their product review that this product did NOT meet their expectations. Quite the opposite in fact.

Having dealt with my fair share of negative product reviews, I expected a response from Delta 9 outlining that there were sorry for the issues they experienced with a product they produced.

In my eyes, this is the very least any producer that finds themselves in this position should have communicated to any consumer, however, instead, they simply choose to block WhatsMyPot across all of their social channels.

If This Is Wrong, Then What Does Right Look Like?

When I managed two cannabis retail stores in Vancouver, it was not uncommon for customers to express that they were dissatisfied with the products they purchased.

In any of these situations, I implemented a three-step protocol.

1. Apologize to the customer for the negative experience they had with the product.

2. Assure the customer that the issue would be reported to the relevant stakeholder.

3. Maintain clear documentation to assure the issue doesn’t persist.

To give credit where credit is due, one cannabis producer that has always impressed within this area is Supreme Cannabis.

On more than one occasion, I have seen customers post negative product reviews online, however, in every one of these instances, their team swiftly apologized, and done whatever they could to resolve this complaint.

While I was helping run 7ACRES social media channels, it was a huge priority to answer every single comment, review, etc - even if the sentiment was negative. The digital team at Supreme fully supported that and I’m happy to see they are continuing that strategy - Colin Bambury, former social media manager @ Supreme

As they say, constructive criticism is a gift, if only you know how to receive it.

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