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A photo of james mccormick with a squiggly frame


Inspired to join the cannabis industry through their longtime love for the plant and helping others through it, James McCormick is a Dispensary Associate (also known as a budtender) at The Travel Agency who is passionate about working in a space that makes a positive impact on its patrons. Throughout the past nine months working in the industry, James has helped with leadership initiatives, store organization, and assisting customers in finding the right products for their needs. Contributing to the jovial dispensary space, James is one of the many important pieces of the puzzle that keeps USQTA running smoothly and compliantly.


Q&A With James


Can you share a personal story or a memorable interaction related to the positive effects of cannabis on yourself or a customer at USQTA?

I had a customer come in for something to help with his sleep. He was trying to get off of sleeping pills and prescriptions. He turned out to be a favorite celebrity of mine and we had a great chat about his work, and he was really genuine and cool!


What kind of guidance or recommendations do you typically provide to customers seeking advice on what strains or products to purchase?

I ask them what they’ve tried or the mood they’re going for while high and tell them what strains taste like and what effects I’ve felt using them. I make it a personal interaction so it’s clear I’m like a friend helping them out.



What has been your favorite brand to learn about during staff training? What sets it apart?

I liked learning about Smokiez Gummies. They use a one-hundred-year-old candy recipe, which is why their gummies taste so good!



What are some things you’ve learned since working at USQTA that you would like to share?

I’ve learned that despite whatever differences we may have, in cities and countries all over the world, we all love weed. Weed is for everyone, and it’s for whatever reason each person chooses to use it.


What is your favorite type of music or artists to listen to while high?

I’m a huge metalhead, so mostly all the many subgenres of metal. I’ve been fixed on power metal/heavy metal bands like Beast in Black, Battle Beast, and Powerwolf. It’s so epic while high on edibles. I’ve also discovered bands while high, such as Hanabie, a Japanese J-pop metalcore band, and Fox Lake, a hardcore hip-pop band from Denver, which, in a cosmic coincidence, ended up touring together and playing in NYC, so I ended up seeing these two bands that I discovered whilst high in concert while also high and experiencing them in real life in a new way and medium. I also love synthwave-horror-themed music by Dance With The Dead, who I also was able to see live with Beast in Black— another cosmic coincidence! God and the universe are giving me opportunities to experience while high!


What are your favorite NYC activities to enjoy after consuming cannabis?

I like to just walk around Union Square or ride the subway, which is so much more pleasant with cannabis.



If you were stranded on an island, what three cannabis products and what three accessories would you bring?

I’d bring some THC mints because the high lasts longer, gummies because they taste good, and a good sativa that I could grow more weed from. As for accessories, I’d bring a stash box to keep the weed dry, a comically large bong, and a very large box of matches.

an image showing james preferences

A Little Bit More…


“The atmosphere is really zen in a way. Even if it gets busy and hectic in the store, we always get it done. We work together to help each other stay calm and not get too overwhelmed. What sets USQTA apart is the professional presentation. It doesn’t look like a smoke shop bodega or a bland, boring store.”


What drives James in their day-to-day is helping and truly making an impact on others through the safe and legal products that USQTA offers to its community. Even in a new market that consistently sees brands and stores (legal and illegal) pop up, the extensive training that each budtender goes through allows the team to make accurate and effective recommendations for any preference.


“I enjoy working in an industry that actually helps its customers. Plus, having premium access to legal and safe weed is awesome!”


And though “it isn’t a hard job… it does take hard work.” Even when the familiar chaos of the city creeps in, which isn’t uncommon at the prime Union Square location, James stays focused on making sure “customers feel addressed and taken care of.”

The store’s environment certainly plays a role in keeping its team happy and unruffled, as well as maintaining smooth operations. Partnered with The Doe Fund, USQTA is a social equity-focused space that welcomes folks of any race, sexual orientation, or identification.


“It’s cool that the store has so many queer employees, and the environment is super queer-friendly. Learning that our dispensary is partnered with a non-profit that’s doing so much for the community made the job seem even more perfect!”


While James is still figuring out their exact goals in the industry, they’re dedicated to their current position and figuring out what they most align with.


“For now, I just want to progress into whatever is best for me and that can help the store run as smoothly as possible,” states James, adding, “There’s so much potential for the cannabis industry to work with the LGBTQIA+ community. As someone who’s asexual, I’d love to be involved with that somehow.”


With almost a year under their belt in the legal NYC cannabis industry, James has noticed a common trend amongst consumers’ preferences. Through truly understanding their customers by asking questions and connecting on a personal level, they have noticed that “New York really loves disposable vapes and sativa-heavy strains. Customers really want sativa-heavy everything! Flower, vapes, gummies, you name it!”


James’ recommendations commonly include Smokiez Gummies and THC mints, and rarely are focused on THC percentages.



“People still have misconceptions about THC percentages in products. I usually let them know that THC and other cannabinoids get processed differently in the different forms.”


James prefers to chill and consume cannabis alone, usually eating sweet edibles while listening to their favorite metal music and munching on Choco-Banana Pocky, Pizzeria Pretzel Combos, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Skittles Gummies, and white cheddar popcorn. On special occasions, they enjoy experiencing the blessing of live music while high. And realized that, similarly to concerts, “the subway is so much more pleasant with cannabis.”

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