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Budtender Awards Announces Finalists for First Ever Event in Las Vegas

45 Finalists Chosen from More Than 11,000 Nominations; New Nominations Open for "Your Choice" Awards

First-Ever CBD Sales, Distribution and Sampling Event and Cannabis Exposition at an MGM Property

Welcome Party Takes Place Off-Premises to Kick off Program October 10


Las Vegas, NV - September 23, 2019 ( Newswire) The votes are in for the finalists in the first-ever Budtender Awards, which pays homage to the world's top Budtenders and cannabis culture. Sponsored by Canna Paid, the event honors the Budtenders and promotes their efforts by acknowledging their influence on the industry, and the communities they impact in addition to raising awareness about cannabis and providing a robust education program from Clover Leaf University, the first accredited university specializing in phytotechnology.

Organizers selected 45 finalists from over 700 publicly nominated candidates. There are five nominees for each of the nine award categories the Budtender Awards created: community; social acceptance; personality; creativity; medicinal; overall knowledge; CBD; concentrates; and edibles.

"We've been amazed by the outpouring of public and cannabis industry support for the world's greatest budtenders," says Budtender Awards founder Keith Allen. "While the sheer number of nominations and the high standards of excellence in each category made the selection process arduous and daunting, consensus eventually emerged. We salute the finalists as they go on to the judging in Las Vegas next month."

Hailing from across the United States and Canada, the Budtender Awards finalists are:

Medallion Award (Community)

  • William Brown (Harborside-Oakland, CA)
  • Matt Brandhagen (Kind Leaf Pendleton-Pendleton, OR)
  • Safiyah (Sofi) Kadoura (Mankind Dispensary-San Diego, CA)
  • Micahela Vindiola (Zen Garden Wellness-Stockton, CA)
  • Rocky Hernandez (Planet 13-Las Vegas, NV)

Ambassador Award (Social Acceptance)

  • Adrianna Burden (Small Town Buds-Canada)
  • Hope Paez (Blackjack Collective-Las Vegas, NV)
  • Tara Berger (Atrium-Woodland Hills, CA)
  • Emily Rios (TJs on Powell-Portland, OR)
  • Melvin William (Nirvana Center Apache Junction-Apache Junction, AZ)

Spotlight Award (Personality)

  • Adam Fleisher (Atrium-Woodland Hills, CA)
  • Meital Anderson (Top Shelf Budz-Milwaukie, OR)
  • Riley Travers (805 Beach Breaks-Grover Beach, CA)
  • LaVeda Woodfork (Planet 13-Las Vegas, NV)
  • Kristin Gordon (Wicked Flower Shop-Medford, OR)

In The Arts Award (Creativity)

  • Crystal Bascon (Mankind Dispensary-San Diego, CA)
  • Jazziymn West (Captain Jacks- San Bernardino, CA)
  • Amber Fleming (White River Wellness-White Cloud, MI)
  • Kate Enright (Silver Sage Wellness-Las Vegas, NV)
  • Ashley Cardenas (Happy Time LLC- Yakima, WA)

Dr. Cannabis Award (Medical)

  • Brandon Agustin (Essence Dispensary-Las Vegas, NV)
  • Michael Nulf (Columbia Care-Chicago, IL)
  • Joe "SleepyJo" Nelson (Buddha's Wellness Center LLC-Port Orford, OR)
  • Ankit Vasavda (PDI MEDICAL-Buffalo Grove, IL)
  • Shaylene Weaver (Giving Tree Dispensary-Phoenix, AZ)

Mastermind Award (Overall Knowledge)

  • Chris Cheffer (Sol Cannabis-New Washoe City, NV)
  • Katrina Rizzo (HerbaFi-Silver Spring, MD)
  • Brandon Scott (Mission-Chicago South Side, IL)
  • Sarah Luckeroth (Strains-Perris, CA)
  • Andrew Morris (Terrasana-Columbus, OH)

CBD Award (CBD)

  • Ana Hill (Atrium-Woodland Hills, CA)
  • Zulema Lino (Essence Dispensary-Las Vegas, NV)
  • Candra Pennington (Chesapeake Apothecary-White Plains, MD)
  • Shawna Bare (Emerald Haze-Renton, WA)
  • Lenexa Cole (Strawberry Fields-Pueblo, CO)

710 Master Award (Concentrates)

  • Alex Almadova (Apothecary 420-Sherman Oaks, CA)
  • Kelly Elizabeth (The Botanist-Baltimore, MD)
  • Ashley Skuban (Showgrow-Las Vegas, NV)
  • Lukas Previn (Mission Glenmont-Silver Spring, MD)
  • Torey Dorrell (Loud Pharmaceuticals-Midwest City, OK)

Dazed & Infused (Edibles)

  • Lydell Francisco (R.Greenleaf-Albuquerque, NM)
  • Dane Kim (Cannazone-Bellingham, WA)
  • Jordan Edwards (The Mint Dispensary-Guadalupe, AZ)
  • Roxy Gilbert (Pueblo West Organics-Pueblo West, CO)
  • LaRain Miller (Kind Leaf Pendleton-Pendleton, OR)

While these candidates have already been recognized for their achievements in the industry as nominees, voting has not ended. You can continue to engage the cannabis community and recognize exceptional members, the Budtender Awards have opened nominations for a new series of awards: The "Your Choice" Awards. These awards allow the public to create an award of their choice for any budtender; nominations are now open here with new award categories being added to the website daily with some being "Jack of All Strains," "Always Prepared," "Most Sophisticated," "Heart of Gold," and more. There have been over 12,000 nominations since voting opened this past summer, with the number growing by hundreds each day.

Several thousand members of the cannabis community will head to Las Vegas October 10th-12th from leading cannabis influencers Koala Puffs and Silenced Hippie to sponsors and delegates from Canna Paid, Clover Leaf University, Alternative Medicine Association, Canna Hemp, Dr. Greenthumb, Hillhouse Reserve, Remedium CBD, Royal Blunts, Rove Brand, and Skinny Weed. The Budtender Awards is the first-ever cannabis event on an MGM property (the dominant hospitality and gaming group on the Strip), and the Budtender Awards and Expo is the first hemp-based CBD opportunity to buy, sell and sample on an MGM property. The Budtender Awards will also hold a pre-expo cannabis experience at a private location off the Strip the evening of October 10th.

The two-plus day event promises panel discussions, a product and service expo, a closing night awards program, and after-party culminating in a performance by legendary hip hop artists Cypress Hill, who will also be receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Tickets are available now and offers four distinct attendee tiers ranging from one or two day General Admission, Budtender Special, Budtender Education Special and VIP, which includes a meet and greet with Cypress Hill.


The world of cannabis and CBD is changing daily. Over the last several years, the world of cannabis and CBD has catapulted itself from counterculture pariah to mainstream consumer culture, and most important to America, to an economy. Stitched into the fabric of this economy are the people who carry the message from plant to consumer: The Budtenders. Budtenders help the less experienced make educated and informational choices and help the pros learn about updates and new offerings. They are the frontline. The Budtender Awards recognizes the pioneers and professionals of this new and budding landscape. These are the incredibly skilled and talented personalities who are paving the road of this ever-growing industry. These are the architects; these are the Budtenders.

The Budtender Awards aims to educate and entertain the public as well as dispensary owners, their employees and other cannabis industry professionals on the rapidly growing medical and recreational industry as well as entertain visitors with panels and parties.

For more information follow @budtenderawards and visit the Budtender website.


Founded by prolific entrepreneur Keith Allen, Canna Paid is a premier banking and merchant services solution provider for cannabis and CBD. Canna Paid utilizes a unique and proprietary compliance technology which enables consumers to swipe their credit cards the same way as they do at any other business. The Canna Paid transaction process meets all technological and regulatory requirements, as well as securing the merchant and transaction from liability. Canna Paid serves dispensary owners with a competitive, industry-standard retail banking solution.

The Canna Paid platform enables the cannabis industry to be taken seriously in the world as a legitimate business following robust best practices. Canna Paid is establishing itself as an industry-standard resource for all facets of the industry including cultivators, distributors, dispensary owners, budtenders and the end consumer for ALL products in the cannabis space.


Clover Leaf University is the first accredited university specializing in phytotechnology to be approved, regulated and licensed by the Colorado Department of Higher Education's Private Occupational School Board. CLU provides the highest quality industry training and the most comprehensive curriculum available today. Clover Leaf University's faculty includes the industry's top-level executives, professionals, attorneys, instructors, cultivators, manufacturers and industry leaders from all over the world. For more Information, visit the Clover Leaf University website.

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