Many of our readers will already recognize High Desert Relief as one of the best dispensaries to buy cannabis in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The wonderful shopping experience that customers enjoy there doesn’t just happen without a little help. We spoke with Alex Smith, the manager of High Desert Relief’s West Side Albuquerque location (3320 Coors NW) about her time in the cannabis industry and what prospective cannabis workers need to do to get ahead in the business.
The Paper: What attracted you to a job in the cannabis industry?
Alex Smith: Well, personally, I started with no experience. I got a job in 2017 at PurLife. And I really just grew an appreciation and love for cannabis—just in general. I was really interested in this growing industry, and how it’s so new. Just trying to navigate all the changes that occur—this really interested me.
I really like being part of something that is so new.
Have you worked in any other industry before?
No, no. I started in 2017 with PurLife and then I’ve been with High Desert Relief since 2020.
With the legalization of adult-use cannabis in New Mexico, the job opportunities have really opened up out there. Have you noticed any expansion in the industry?
Most definitely. There are dispensaries popping up everywhere in Albuquerque. It definitely gives everyone a chance to get their foot into the door. But the dispensaries that attract clients—that bring more people in—are the ones that have educated staff that are willing to educate others about the product in general.
Does High Desert Relief sell adult-use cannabis as well as medical?
We provide to both adult-use and medical clients now. We try to maintain the same educational level for both medical and recreational clients, especially if recreational clients ask about the products. But I’d say that we are definitely the most fair dispensary when it comes to medical cannabis. We offer lower prices on edibles and concentrates and med pens compared to other dispensaries. We’re able to provide ver reasonable prices for recreational as well.
Do you have any advice for women looking to get into the industry?
Just put forth your best effort. If you work hard, and if it’s something that really interests you, someone will take notice and you will move up in this industry pretty quickly—especially for women. Do not feel discouraged, especially in certain aspects of the industry like growing or manufacturing. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t give them any reason to think that you’re any less just because you’re a woman.
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