Aspen eyes mandatory training for budtenders
City leaders plan to instill the same training required of Aspen alcohol servers for those who sell legal marijuana.
Those servers, known as “budtenders” in the world-of-weed vernacular, pay $75 to the state for a “support employee” license, and the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division has a responsible vending program that is offered to budtenders. That program is not, however, mandatory, according to Linda Manning, Aspen’s city clerk.
Speaking at a work session Tuesday between members of Aspen City Council and the Local Licensing Authority, the body charged with reviewing and approving license permit applications for both alcohol and marijuana, Manning said the Valley Marijuana Council is calling for budtenders to undergo the same training received by Aspen bartenders and servers.
“One of the things the VMC (Valley Marijuana Council) would like to do is to make that training mandatory,” said Manning.
The VMC — a community organization with an emphasis on cannabis safety, awareness and education — has been crafting a vendor training program that’s ready for implementation, according to Manning.
The training would be similar to the city’s TIPS program, an alcohol-awareness program that is required every three years for at least 75 percent of servers of liquor at Aspen bars and restaurants.
Liquor licenses are contingent on bars and restaurants meeting that requirement. Under the proposal, the city also would require 75 percent of those selling pot from medical and retail cannabis dispensaries to be trained within 30 days of winning license approval from the LLA.
LLA member Phil Golden also suggested budtenders and bartenders get on the same page when it comes to over-serving a patron or compromising public safety.
“I think there needs to be overlap between marijuana training that we’re talking about doing, and the TIPS training,” Golden said. “I don’t think anyone who is drunk should buy a bud, and I don’t think anyone who is stoned should be able to buy a beer. And I think the two different groups of servers need to have some familiarity with what each other is doing.”
The combination of the two could put people in harm’s way, he said.
“Not everything that is intuitive to some is intuitive to others,” Golden said. “I just don’t want somebody wandering out of a particular bar and seeing there’s a bud shop open and grabbing something for the road, or vice versa.”
He added: “The two drugs are both dangerous separately, and together, even more so, perhaps. And one of our main objectives is to make sure of safe service of any intoxicant.”
There are 93 liquor licenses within city limits and 11 marijuana licenses, which comprise eight for retail and three for medical, according to Manning.
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