BOZEMAN - On New Years Day, customers came to a downtown Bozeman marijuana shop to buy recreational marijuana on the first day it was legal in Montana.
The owner of Juniper Cannabis, Adam Ryder, was in a bit of shock when he heard that recreational marijuana was becoming legal. The months leading up to New Years Day were filled with hiring new employees, organizing more cultivation, and planning out how the first day of sales would go.
Juniper customer, Zach Bodeman explains his support for the legislative change.
“I think it’s pretty nice, I lived in Oregon before this, so I was very used to having it so accessible,” Bodeman said, “I voted for it, and I think it’s a good idea…it’s all about supporting local business, that’s the best way to do it.”
Developing a system with his employees, or ‘Budtenders’, to place people on a waitlist, limit occupancy in the store to eight people, and provide menus to expedite the process.
“We mostly wanted to be prepared and have these things in place to limit the stress on our employees,” Ryder said, “It’s hard to say a number of how many people will come here, but we wanted to be as prepared as we could be.”
Once Juniper opened its doors, a steady stream of customers entered. Employees said that they have been answering phone calls throughout the week regarding New Years Day, and what the process will be.
“We get new customers nearly every day,” Luisa Frankenburg, a Budtender, said.
Ryder elaborates that on Friday, it had been one of the busiest days in terms of sales, likely due to medical patients getting their products before the rush of recreational users.
The team at Ryder stresses education and asking questions when discussing marijuana with current and new customers, especially with new legislative changes.
“We take it very seriously to educate the public to what’s going on, not only legally, but in terms of product safety and what to expect,” Ryder said.