How and when did you become a budtender?
I started out in April of 2015 working for Joe and Chelsea Hopkins at The Greener Side. Bloom Hill Botanicals, my family’s cannabis farm, provided The Greener Side with some flower and I jumped at the opportunity to work one-on-one with patients. I’m indescribably grateful for them and the opportunity to work as a budtender just as adult-use legalization became a reality in Oregon. I wanted to broaden my experience within the cannabis industry, and because of that I’ve worked with several different brands. Over time, I took positions at Cannabliss’ the Sorority House and Green Health. All the while, I was still actively a part of Bloom Hill Botanicals. I finally found my fit for budtending in River Valley Remedies, and I really feel as though I’ve won the employment lottery working here.
What was it like the first time you got high?
I felt all the constantly incoming stimuli from my anxiety suddenly become very orderly and manageable. I was in a safe space with people I trusted. Because I grew up in the area, the cannabis was a really good quality too. It was like I went from staring at a Jackson Pollock to a fractal. Everything had a lot more order to it.
What’s one funny or weird customer interaction you’ve had?
I once had an older gentleman ask me where my ruderalis was at because all the real growers knew that was the best stuff out there. Ruderalis is another taxonomy of cannabis, like indica or sativa, and it’s usually associated with high fiber and low cannabinoid output.
How do you approach recommending a product to a customer?
Questions, questions, questions! I start by genuinely asking them how their day is going. Making the consumer feel welcome and connected with is essential to getting honest answers to questions relating to cannabis and how and why they use it. What’s your desired effect is probably the question I ask most behind the counter. Some consumers will have really specific end results they’re looking for and some are just looking for the current staff favorite. Budtending often requires unpacking incomplete information a consumer picked up online or from prohibition area, so getting to know the consumers baseline is really important. It all starts with being an engaged listener.
What’s one stereotype about cannabis users that’s true? What’s one that’s false?
If working in weed has taught me anything, it’s that the only guaranteed commonality between cannabis users is that they use cannabis. The people I get to help in a day represent such a wide array of life experiences I don’t think that there’s a particular stereotype that rings true for all or even most of them.
What do you look for in a strain?
Mostly smell. When I’m on the consumer side of the counter, I’m the person who wants to smell every jar. I also like to look into the producer and the genetic lineage of the strain. If a strain has a terpene profile available to look at that is always a huge plus for me. I make a note to look out for that producer at other shops in the future.
What’s special about this shop?
Education! There is a constant push for education of our staff which leads to education and empowerment of for our consumers. We aren’t just looking to push you into the trendiest product or highest THC. We really want you to be in control of your experience and getting the most out of using cannabis. Looking at cannabis not just as a single active ingredient but a medicinally beneficial plant containing thousands of compounds is at the heart of understanding cannabis’ full potential.
Best part about the job? Worst part?
I think the answer to both questions is the same, the people. Getting to know and help so many people is deeply rewarding; however, because cannabis is such a life-changing substance for people, the stories they share can be very emotional and even draining at times. However, hearing about someone being able to manage the side effects of their chemotherapy or the symptoms of their MS makes all of the emotional investment worth it.
Favorite way to consume?
I love a good clean bong rip, although a joint is my method of choice when in a group. I also have a medicine cabinet full of tinctures. The founder of Sativa Science Club, Mary Jane Poppins, has talked about how tinctures capture a particular strain at a particular harvest in a way that preserves it well for future enjoyment and I couldn’t agree more. Tinctures can almost be akin to vintages of wine in that way.
What’s your favorite munchie food or favorite thing to do while high?
My favorite activity for partaking is probably playing my ukulele or knitting. I really like to get creative when consuming.
What accessory or paraphanelia do you like to use?
My bong and I have been together for a while.
When I’m not here, I’m…
Usually helping out at Bloom Hill. When I finally get a moment away from the cannabis world I like to get my loved ones together for a nice meal.
Are you high right now?
Not necessarily, although I did take my CBD capsule this morning. It’s like my multivitamin, I try to never forget it.