A Recap of the 2024 Seed Talent Illinois Budtender’s Choice Awards

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Origins: The Seed Talent Budtender's Choice Awards

A one-of-a-kind consumption celebration for Seed Talent’s top-trained budtenders and Illinois’ best-voted brands!

Following a successful event last year, Seed Talent curated a more focused version of the Illinois Budtender’s Choice Awards 2024. The event hinges on a mission to give a voice to the thousands of budtenders that serve as the bedrock of the Midwest cannabis industry, highlight the best-in-class brands & products that drive us forward, and celebrate the budtenders who train every day with Seed Talent! 

This annual celebration of excellence places the outcome of the awards program in the hands of the budtenders themselves. These are the individuals who directly interact with customers and patients, providing firsthand experience and insights and personal recommendations. 

The Budtender’s Choice Awards are a unique opportunity for brands to be recognized for their dedication to quality and customer satisfaction, as seen through the eyes of those who interact with cannabis enthusiasts daily.

Key Values of the Budtender’s Choice Awards:

  • A Budtender-Driven Experience: This awards program puts the power of choice in the hands of budtenders, allowing them to cast their votes for their favorite cannabis brands through the Seed Talent platform. Their knowledge and expertise make their opinions invaluable. Seed Talent collected thousands of Illinois budtender votes in a survey to identify 20 category winners.
  • No Pay-to-Play: The Budtender’s Choice Awards maintain the highest levels of integrity by ensuring that the results are not influenced by financial interests. Brands cannot pay for an award; the results are solely based on merit and the genuine preference of budtenders.
  • Inclusive Community Celebration: The awards presentation is a live event that gathers the cannabis community to celebrate the brands that have earned the respect and trust of the individuals on the front lines of cannabis sales. It’s a moment of recognition for both the budtenders and the brands. A group of 200 top-trained Seed Talent budtenders (the top 10% of learners) from over 100 different dispensaries were invited to attend the upscale event, featuring infused product tastings, a dedicated awards show, guided and free consumption, positive vibes & music, photo opportunities, and meaningful connections with industry peers. 
  • Voting Transparency: The voting and category winner selection process is transparent and democratic with open text fill-in submissions. This transparency builds trust among consumers and industry professionals alike.

Celebrating a Highly-Engaged Cannabis Community

Cannabis is built on community, and to support that community, Seed Talent acts as a bridge between brands & retailers to engage budtenders in building a better, safer, smarter, and more successful industry.

The Budtender’s Choice Awards is curated for:

  • Budtenders: To celebrate the dedicated, top-trained budtenders from across the entire state of Illinois who put in the hours to learn and grow with Seed Talent every week. 
  • Brands: To elevate the best-voted brands to the forefront and connect them with the retail agents who sell their products every day.  
  • Community: To bring together a show-stopping community to normalize consumption gatherings and foster a stronger sense of connection in our Illinois cannabis culture.  

Invited budtenders travelled from far and wide, from Southern, Central and Northern Illinois to attend this special evening. These individuals completed the most courses on Seed Talent last year, landing in the top 10% of users!

It’s increasingly important to provide recognition about the true grit and dedication it takes to thrive in cannabis today. The countless learning hours budtenders spend training and upskilling with Seed Talent have contributed to infinitely better patient and customer experiences.

Exhibiting brands understand the simple fact that budtenders are their best advocates at retail. When they succeed, brands succeed. They hold the influential power to help brands catch fire across the community, serving thousands of people each week by endorsing the products they believe in.    


Highlights & Featured Experiences

Brands provided an outstanding array of experiential activations for budtenders to explore!

Each sponsor’s experience engaged and delighted our budtenders like never before in a curated show of community, offering onsite education and exciting rewards! 

Attendees indulged in infused cannabis products of all forms (beverages, edibles, concentrates, and flower) at the experiential consumption stations, supported by the event pro’s at High Minded Events!

Congratulations to the Winning Brands!

The Budtender Impact Award

The Budtender Impact Award is dedicated to recognizing the individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in their role to support progress in cannabis. Here’s what popular opinion and the Illinois budtender community said about Matt Lester of The Dispensary East Dubuque

“He truly is for the people and does the most to help others fulfill their cannabis needs through education and personal experience. He is a huge advocate for the industry in and outside of work. In December of last year, he started a donation fund from all the tips he made on certain days with the help & generosity of others and raised $1,500 for Operation Empower of Dubuque IA.”

Seed Talent's Promise to Fan the Flames of Tradition

All the budtenders in attendance this year brought uncharted energy, passion and enthusiasm! Events like these are what make the cannabis industry so incredible and steadfast.

Thank you Phil Cooper and High Minded Events for continuing to normalize cannabis consumption experiences across the nation! 

And to those who couldn’t make it, fear not! We totally get it, life happens. But guess what? We’re already cooking up plans for an even bigger bash next year.

Keep crushing courses on Seed Talent and you could land in the top 10% invited to join us in 2025.

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