At Vermont Bud Barn, ‘Weed is Us’
As I pull into the gravel parking lot off Route 9 in West Brattleboro, the tips of the trees in the distance are shrouded by a misty December rain. The brick-colored wood siding of the sprawling building that houses Vermont Bud Barn, Vermont Hempicurean and Vermont Grow Barn is a shock of color against the gloomy, gray day.
Flanked by a seafood restaurant, a farmstand, and a home improvement store, this spot on Marlboro Road had everything owner Scott Sparks was looking for: a well-traveled thoroughfare, plenty of parking, distance from schools and churches, and a healthy dose of rustic Green Mountain ambience.
“To me, the building just says Vermont all over it — just a big old red barn in a field in Vermont,” Sparks tells me later that morning.
After being buzzed into the dispensary side of the building, I’m greeted by a collection of suspended window panes decorated with artistic renderings of cannabis buds. The warmly-lit, high-ceilinged room is punctuated with splashes of color, from the neon glow of the display cases to the bright menu screens behind the counter.
The screens list a variety of indoor- and outdoor-grown flower and pre-rolls, as gummies, vape cartridges, and tinctures, with an expanded selection of edible products coming soon. Sparks notes that questions about the offerings are encouraged, and Bud Barn welcomes everyone, whether they’re brand-new to cannabis or a longtime consumer.
The budtender first asks about my experience with cannabis and my THC tolerance before running through the pre-roll and flower options.
“We have a very relaxed atmosphere, I think. We try to make everyone feel comfortable,” Sparks says. “We don’t want anyone to be intimidated — we want them to feel they’re able to engage.”
In that regard, the budtenders’ expertise goes a long way, he says. The staff receive samples of each product so they can advise clients based on personal experience, and many document their thoughts through journaling and discuss their takeaways with other employees.
When I reach the counter, I tell budtender Heath Woods of Guilford that I’m looking for something to promote quality sleep. He first asks about my experience with cannabis and my THC tolerance before running through the pre-roll and flower options.
The Sunshine #4 is a solid indica-leaning strain, he tells me, while the Mansfield Mints and the Cherry Snacks are headier hybrids. In the end, I opt for the Grease Monkey, a sungrown indica-dominant hybrid from Family Tree Cannabis Co. in Sheldon Springs.
For connoisseurs who prefer to browse on their own, the illuminated bud bar in the corner of the space offers an up-close look — and sniff — at the flower available for purchase.
In the end, I opt for the Grease Monkey, a sungrown indica-dominant hybrid from Family Tree Cannabis Co.
Those who prefer CBD to THC can head next door to Vermont Hempicurean, or patrons can wander over to the Grow Barn, where they can learn how to cultivate their own. There’s even a separately-managed art gallery and shop tucked into the complex.
With all these businesses under one roof, it’s like a one-stop-shop for the cannabis enthusiast.
“They feed off each other,” Sparks says. “I kind of think of it as ‘Weed is Us.'”
Pre-roll purchase in hand, I say my goodbyes and march back out into the dreariness. Despite the rain, my day is looking a little brighter.