Charlie and the Peach Cannabis Factory

Written by Keaton Roberts. Photographed by Riley Valle.

Basic Info: I am 22 years old. I have been budtending for a little more than a year now. I love to make art, play with my pets and read books. 

Are you in school? If so, what is your degree?

I am not in school as of now. I plan to go to cosmetology school because I have always loved doing hair. At some point I would love to look into doing tattoos as well, but for now I just sell weed. 

What got you involved with budtending and Peach Cannabis? Why did you choose Peach Cannabis specifically? 

I actually got really lucky with this job. During Covid, when everyone started getting laid off, I was looking for a job. I was very close to turning 21 years old, and I was trying to think of what I wanted to do. At first, I looked into bartending because I had worked at many restaurants before. I realized that was probably not the best choice for me and was not the most healthy environment to work in. After much thought, I had the idea of selling weed instead. So the day after I turned 21, I took the OLCC test and got my license. I began throwing resumes all over Downtown Eugene. Suddenly my best friend, who I met at another job years ago, worked at Peach Cannabis and helped get my foot in the door in the industry. Coincidentally, she was also the one that got this interview for me today. 

Can you tell me about a time that felt like the most rewarding part about being a budtender?

The most rewarding part is how much I get to help people. It has helped me learn more about myself and how marijuana is not just a drug to get high with, but how certain chemicals within weed can help other people. Obviously, there are a bunch of people who buy weed recreationally, however, there’s a lot more people who use it to treat health conditions. Many people associate the different types of weed as CBD and THC. However, during my time in the industry I have learned it’s much more than that. I’ve learned how specific chemicals and strains help certain types of illnesses. For example, when someone comes in saying they’re struggling with insomnia, I could say “let’s try some CBN with an indica,” or if you are having muscle pain, then I could recommend some CBG – it’s just certain scenarios like that where I have the knowledge that can help these people in need. That is what feels the most rewarding. 

How do you feel you have grown in your life by being a budtender? 

It definitely helped me a lot mentally to be in a work environment and industry that I actually want to be in. I love all the people I work with, and I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Once I started working there, I knew that this was the right industry for me. As I said before, I get the opportunity to not only help people have a good time, but I get to assist and provide a solution for people’s health and illnesses while educating them on what is beneficial for their bodies. 

How has working in the industry changed your relationship with cannabis? 

It’s made me realize there is a lot more to the industry. Before I got this job, I didn’t know much about weed. I knew that THC gets you high and CBD makes your body feel better physically. Boom, that’s it, great! Overall, I went into the industry as a stoner in their early 20s knowing very basic level information. Quickly, I realized that there is so much more that goes into the growing process, genetics and the business of it all. There is so much more to it than just getting stoned. 

What is a problem or conflict in the cannabis/budtending industry that you hope to solve or see improvement in? 

A big misconception is that you just hand people pot and they go have a fun time with it. Customers often think it is an easy job, but it is much more complicated. You have to educate yourself and work together as a team to provide the most efficient and healthiest care for our customers. People in general don’t see that side of the job, and it’s a big responsibility to pick out what you’re going to recommend. It’s almost like I’m a hippie pharmacist, where I hear the problem the person is experiencing and need to have the knowledge of what type of strain and dosage to give to them. 

How do you feel supported by your team or management at Peach Cannabis?

I feel like we have always had a really strong team and management from the moment I started here. At this point, there have been a lot of changes, but in a positive way. I am very lucky because I have health problems, and my team has always been super supportive and is always available to cover for me if need be. They have been emotionally supportive as well. I have made so many friends here, and we have formed a great bond the past year I have worked here. 

What do you want your lasting impact to be in the cannabis industry? 

I just want to be able to help people, and in the long run if they find something that works for them, then they will remember me as the person that steered them in the right direction. Even if they never saw me again, it would make me feel good knowing that someone would have the knowledge of what is good for their bodies because of the information I provided. I just want to spread as much information about cannabis products to the world and help as many people as possible. 

Harvest Hacks: How to have a bountiful harvest season

Written by Megan McEntee.

Germination: Cannabis plants start their journey just like any other: with a seed. In order for those seeds to be planted, they need to go through a process called germination. Germination is when the seed sprouts into a seedling, or a baby plant, and therefore is ready to be planted in the soil. Cannabis seeds love warm, dark and damp places. If you store them in between two wet paper towels, the first root should start to appear within 3-10 days.

Seedling: After placing the germinated seed in the soil, your cannabis plant will sprout two small, round leaves called cotyledons. These will be the only round leaves that the plant will produce. Every leaf that sprouts afterward will be serrated, but won’t yet look like those cannabis leaves you know and love. After 2-3 weeks, the leaves will start forming digits and may look a little more familiar. This marks the point when the cannabis plant exits the seedling stage. The ideal conditions for a cannabis seedling would be a relatively warm and humid environment, low-intensity blue spectrum light for 18 hours, and then darkness for 6 hours. 

Vegetative: Once your cannabis leaves start forming those digits, the plant enters the vegetative stage. This is the stage directly before buds start to appear, and is also the longest stage in the growth of a cannabis plant, ranging between 4-8 weeks. Your little cannabis plant will grow as much as it can in height and size, depending on the size of the roots, and also continue to produce leaves with a wider reach. The vegetative state requires relative humidity and warmth and increased blue spectrum light intensity. Usually, the plant should start showing its sex by week 6, and this is when you should take measures to eliminate anyplant that isn’t female! Because only female plants will produce the smokable flower, any presence of male or hermaphroditic plants could hinder that growth, due to pollination.  

Flowering: Congratulations, your cannabis plant has started to flower! Usually lasting 8-11 weeks, the flowering stage is a delicate process that needs to be handled with care. When growing outdoors, the natural shortening of the days causes buds to start forming. In the first 1-3 weeks of this stage, called flowering initiation, the plant will start forming little white hairs called pistils. By the third week, buds will form where the stems and the branches meet. Weeks 4-5 mark the mid-flowering stage when buds slowly grow in size. Then the plant moves to the ripening stage or late-flowering stage. The buds start to take up most of the weight of the plant, and also start to smell more potent. This is when the trichomes appear, giving the buds a frosty look. 

Harvest: So, how do you know your cannabis plant is ready to harvest? The secret to a successful harvest can be found in the color of the pistils and the trichomes. The pistils should turn amber while the trichomes should appear translucent, but not transparent. You can use a magnifying lens, such as a jeweler’s loupe, to view the trichomes to assure that they’re ready for harvest. Chop the plant at the root, and then slowly remove the leaves until all the buds are left. 

Drying and Curing: The next step is to dry the cannabis, monitoring for any possible mold growth to be discarded. Hang each branch upside-down in a dark, open space, and make sure there is enough airflow. The humidity should be around 50%. It takes about 7-15 days for cannabis to dry, so make sure you don’t rush the process. Once the small stems start to snap instead of bending, it’s time to cure the cannabis. Curing the cannabis involves snipping each bud off the branch, leaving a small portion of the stem intact. Place individual buds into glass jars for 2-3 weeks. Make sure you’re opening the jar periodically during this process, in order to release any excess moisture. 

Trim and Finish: Once the curing process is complete, you’re almost ready to package or consume your cannabis. Take small scissors and trim away dried leaves and debris from the cured flower. Now you’re all done with the harvest process, and your freshly-grown flower is ready for the consumption style of your choice!