A kushy job: Meet Edmonton's new cannabis connoisseur
'I saw the application online and it didn't seem real'
Edmonton's Amanda Bladon is readying herself for the high life as a professional cannabis connoisseur.
Over the next 12 months, Bladon will be toking different strains produced by Toronto-based cannabis firm AHLOT and getting paid to do it.
"Consuming cannabis was nothing new to me," Bladon said in an interview with CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.
"Getting paid to consume cannabis? That's a different story."
Bladon, 31, was among eight pot aficionados from across the country selected to join the ranks of the AHLOT's inaugural Cannabis Curation Committee.
"It was definitely a job application but I definitely feel like a contest winner," Bladon said.
"I was speechless. Usually I have a lot to say and I had absolutely nothing to say."
'Is this real?'
AHLOT, which markets itself as a "curation company," launched a recruitment campaign a few weeks shy of legalization last fall. It triggered a massive response.
More than 25,000 people applied for the gig. Bladon thought the entire thing might be too good to be true.
"I saw the application online and it didn't seem real," Bladon said "I thought, is this real, is this legitimate?
"I filled out the application and sent it in and six months later, here we are."
While the competition is fierce, some would say Bladon has landed a "kushy" job.
I have a habit of turning a hobby into a job.- Amanda Bladon
Over the course of a one-year contract, Bladon will earn up to $1,000 per month.
She will get paid $50 per hour for up to 16 hours per month, on top of a $200 expense account.
Each month she will receive a sample pack in the mail and evaluate its contents.
Her evaluations will directly shape AHLOT's sample packs with strains from a variety of producers.
A career in cannabis seemed a natural fit, Bladon said. She already uses pot to manage anxiety and "spark creativity" in her work.
"I have a habit of turning a hobby into a job," she said. "I work in film and publishing, and sometimes I just turn my passion into profit.
"This just coincided with that and ended up working out in the same way."
Bladon won't be quitting her day job.
When the Edmonton-based actor, publisher and photographer isn't sampling strains, she will continue managing Wolf & Eagle Media, a publishing company she owns with her mom.
"I would not consider myself a cannabis connoisseur yet, but I'm on a journey."