written by Emma Routley, photos provided by Kayla Palmer
How long have you been a budtender?
I’ve been a budtender for just over a year. I started here at SOCC (Southern Oregon Cannabis Connection) in February of last year and it was an amazing foot in the door. It’s opened a lot of opportunities for me and I just couldn’t be happier with my experience.
Why did you become a budtender?
Coming from Idaho, a career in weed was definitely something that seemed not really possible, a bit out of reach. So when I moved to Eugene, I saw a very attainable goal. Budtending is something that utilizes compassion and empathy and helping people as well as cannabis. Where I came from, smoking was definitely against the curve. It seemed like a no brainer for me to go for it. It’s making sure you’re not selling somebody something that gets them too stoned or destigmatizing it for people who are not used to the idea. It’s definitely a humanitarian game.
What happened the first time you smoked weed?
The first time I smoked weed it was on the fourth of July. My best friend, she was like “Hey, so I have some pot, you wanna try it?” and I was like “Yeah… yeah I do.” So we smoked in a little pipe in her parent’s bathroom and we went out and had a blast. I’ve never been so enthralled by fireworks in my life. I was pretty young, like 13. That was the first time I smoked but I didn’t become a habitual smoker until later in high school.
How does cannabis help you personally?
I started out as a social smoker. Then as I got older and had more experience with it I’ve found it helps calm my social anxiety. And, I get headaches pretty bad. Upon digging deeper into cannabis I found relief from my migraines in certain strains. It’s been amazing, it helped me in a lot of ways aside from relieving my social anxiety. It has helped me become a more caring person because it forced me to take things a bit more slowly and really consider what I’m doing and what I’m saying. It’s definitely been a gift for my overall personality.
Has cannabis ever helped you out of a bad mental state?
A few summers ago I was cutting back on weed. I was a cleaner, I just didn’t have a lot of time to smoke. I didn’t make time for it, I didn’t see it as a huge priority. It was a really hard, emotional time for me and when I would let myself smoke, it wouldn’t completely take away the sadness but it would give me a better perspective. It would let me slow things down and just look at my situation and be a bit more positive. It definitely helped give me better tools to get me out of that funk I was in. Since then if I’m feeling off and I can’t really decide why, I’ll take a second to smoke and almost every time it helps.
What’s your favorite method of consuming cannabis?
Lately I’ve been pretty into dabbing, but my old faithful method is taking a bong rip. Whenever I go a while without smoking, I am craving that feeling of holding my bong and taking a big rip.
Where do you want to take your cannabis career?
My goal is to just keep making people happy. A lot of the time I have customers coming in who are kind of embarrassed that they don’t know a lot. I never want anyone to feel like that because we are in a pioneering age and just even being willing to learn is amazing. I hate being afraid to ask questions because I feel like I might be looked at as dumb for not knowing it and I never want someone to feel that way when they’re talking to me.
What is your favorite way to help people with cannabis?
We actually get a lot of customers that are pretty new to cannabis. We get a lot of older customers who are in to check it out for the first time. My favorite way of helping is breaking it down to the ground level and sharing as much information as I can, at a pace they want to follow. It makes me so happy to feel like I’ve helped somebody become more accepting of cannabis. There are so many people I know who would benefit from it if they only knew exactly what they were getting into. To be that vessel, to relay that info is top-notch pleasing for me.
What do you want to see in the future of cannabis?
I want there to be a bit more regulation, mainly because I want there to be more mainstream info out there. I want to see more testing, more experimentation with the potential that it has. I want it to be made very public info as opposed to something that you only see if you are in the scene.
What’s your favorite snack when you’re high?
Ice cream. Ice cream all the way. I don’t care what flavor.
What is your favorite strain?
I love Chocolope. It’s a Sativa that makes me very social, I’m calm but I’m not tired. It’s a good strain for me. I can chill or get stuff done, or if I’m with my friends I’m not just gone.