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Nation's 1st Marijuana 'Budtender' Certified In Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- A Sacramento woman was recently certified as California's and the nation's first cannabis pharmacy technician or "budtender."

Shayna Schonouer isn't just an expert on all things cannabis-related when it comes to using marijuana products to treat a medical condition. She is now the only person in the nation to hold the state-sanctioned title of "budtender."

Sacramento woman certified as "budtender"
Sacramento woman becomes first state-certified cannabis pharmacy technician (CBS)

"I'm very excited!" said Schonouer.

Schonouer has just wrapped-up a two-year program making her the first graduate apprentice in the field of pharmacy cannabis technician.

"She's not a doctor, she's not a pharmacist -- but she has in this industry enough expertise to help people make informed decisions on their choices to self-medicate," explained Don Merrill, who works for the state's Department of Industrial Relations and helps run the program.

With an increasing number of patients looking to marijuana to treat ailments,

Schonouer's job is to make sure they do it safely and are well-informed.

"It's good to make sure that everyone working in our industry knows the ins and outs," said Schonouer. "Knows the dosing, knows the milligrams, knows how long it'll take the medicine to take effect."

She will now work with pharmacists who offer cannabis products to patients coping with cancer or any chronic condition.

"So if a person seeking pain relief, she can direct them toward a product that would help their pain relief," explained Merrill. "If it's neurological seizures--she can direct them toward a product that would help them."

It will also be her job to make sure the cannabis products coming in to shops and pharmacies are properly tested.

"It's really important in our industry to know how this medicine is going to affect every individual patient," said Schonouer.

Because every patients needs are different, they will now have a different kind of advocate in their corner.

"So she has enough knowledge now to lead people toward good choices," said Merrill.

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