Budtender Bios: Erin
Meet Erin: full-time budtender, part-time tiny house designer, all-time role model. This is, quite possibly, the most sensible person any of us has ever met– and she knows how to swing a hammer.
But Erin can also run marathons, solve puzzles and make a mean spreadsheet. At Farma, she works her magic both at the counter and behind the scenes; not only did she design and implement new organizational tools to make our back-of-house run as efficiently as possible, but she recently devised a new scheduling system to give everyone on the team a three-day weekend (for which we are eternally grateful).
To Erin, simplifying life is deeply important– so, obviously, she loves a good bulleted list.
How long have you been using cannabis? What got you into it?
- About 3 years now.
- Reefer was never really my jam.. but I was going through another back pain episode, and I was so tired of going to doctors for it. A friend handed me a small preloaded vape of Gorilla Glue, and I all of a sudden knew what it was like to not be in pain. It was life changing.
How long have you been a budtender? What do you like about it? What are some difficulties?
- 2 years as of this upcoming August.
- Like: connecting with people from all walks of life. As a budtender, you get to hear stories and experiences from all over. When it comes to cannabis access the landscape is SO variable from place to place; and folks are coming in for all types of reasons. Many people are just looking for a reliable source of information outside of the internet. Even though cannabis is legal in Oregon, it is still not recognized as an effective form of healthcare. I am excited to be apart of changing that perception.
- Difficulties: It’s just in the nature of plant medicine, but it can be frustrating there’s often no single universal answer you can give to folks. When it comes to our bodies, we expect to walk into an office and have someone tell us the answers.
But with cannabis, it is not like that; at least at this point in time. There are a lot of variables, and research has been restricted for so long. It might be a very long time, if ever, that we know how phytocannabinoids, terpenes, etc. interact with our human physiology.
As budtenders, we can only be guides for folks as they start to figure out what works for them. We can share stories and science. We can listen. We can make suggestions and advise caution. But that’s about it. Cannabis is personal and it’s up to every person that wants to consume to figure out what works for them.
What do you do at Farma? (any special role?)
- But I have been known to do make an excel spreadsheet or two as needed for the shop. I really enjoy building things, and there’s a couple of examples of that around the back areas of the shop. I’m also heavily involved in our jigsaw puzzle department. I love puzzles, and we almost always have one of those, or a lego build, going on in our break room downstairs 🙂
What did you do before getting into the cannabis industry?
- I have a degree in bioengineering, and worked for 10yrs in manufacturing / engineering at Nike. Right around the time I discovered reefer, I also moved in to a 250 SF minhouse. Between cannabis taking root as my primary form of medicine and that move into the minihouse: there were some things I had to de-prioritize. Corporate life was one of them.
What made you want to get into the cannabis industry?
- Haha…the discount at first! (I smoke a lot ☺) I’d been thinking about it for a bit… I was looking for my next career situation and something in cannabis was on the list. But, I was starting to get real passionate about minihouses and wanted to learn to make more of them. By the time I applied at Farma, I was back in school for residential design. I primarily needed a job that would help me save money and be flexible with my school schedule from term to term.
- But I definitely felt drawn to Farma specifically. I was struggling trying to find reliable information about cannabis. The internet is a real rough place to do legitimate learning about cannabis (healthcare at all really). I started to come into Farma as a patient, slowly trying to find what worked for me and learning as much as I could from the budtenders there.
I was in one day, just to grab some recreational weed that time: My back pain was under control, I was in a really good place mentally, cannabis was essentially magic in my mind at that point. My budtender that day was Matt Taylor, an absolute amazing human being and passionate cannabis advocate. We got into a very authentic conversation… about everything really. He gushed about Farma, he let me gush about cannabis and life. By the end of the conversation I knew I needed to be here. I asked Matt if Farma was hiring… he said yes and I emailed my resume that day.
What’s so special about Farma?
- Oh man, I could go on for a very long time.
- Honestly it’s my coworkers and store managers, through and through. We could be selling groceries or socks and it’d still be a really special place. There is something so authentic and committed about each and every person I work with, and our management team has created a space for us unlike any other. We’re not always sunshine and roses to each other… but what family is? We laugh a lot and we hold space for each other.
- That family word is definitely not hyperbole. Just read the rest of these budtender bios or come into the shop, you’ll feel what I’m talking about. I am beyond grateful for this amazing group of people I’ve found.
- I also feel so fortunate to have access to so many scientific resources. Our director of education, Andrea, organizes our EDU program. Every Wednesday, community activists, brand ambassadors, industry and medical professionals come and share their stories and knowledge with us. With the industry changing so fast, authentic connections and trusted science can be very hard to come by. These interactions are invaluable because these folks have dedicated their lives to cannabis in very influential ways. Their stories are personal, informative, and super inspirational.
How do you spend your free time?
- It’s a rare occasion, I don’t have a ton of free time. Presently, I am working my way through school. I am one term away from finishing my sustainable design certificate at PCC and halfway through their Building Construction program. (ps. Portland Community College is amazing if you are ever looking to take classes in the Portland area).
- Also, a few ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) design projects have started to come my way. I’m overwhelmed by the idea of starting my own design business. If there is anything that comes close to matching my passion for reefer it is my passion for minihouses (Consolidated Living). So here’s hoping 🙂
- Between Farma, school, and minihouses… if I ever do get a moment, you’ll probably find me working on my house or napping in my hammock.
What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis?
- Joint, for sure. I like the moment it gives. I make my own salad blends. Typically the mix is: a little red, a little blue, a little CBD… rolled into a spliff and enjoyed on an epic porch with epic friends. Ohhhh man ☺
What are some of your favorite things to do while high?
- Hammocking, woodworking, chores – some activities are just made for reefer 🙂
- Fitnessing – a trail run or climbing sessh after a 1:1 (CBD:THC) situation… so good. With 1:1, I can relax more and fall into the activity. It feels more like playing then a serious fitness situation. I wrote a thing about it if you want to hear me rant more!
- Linalool. Definitely my number one. I tend to be very “team blue” (aka relaxing, body high). But I’ll hang with BCP (β-caryophyllene), Limonene, and/or a bit of an Ocimene any day.
Favorite minor cannabinoids?
- Not sure if it counts, but I’ve messed with THCA a bit in patch form. I liked it for the pain relief it gave without too much of an intoxication feeling. But there’s something about the porch joint moment I really like and THCA turns into THC once you light it on fire. So it’s definitely not my primary cannabinoid. Other then that THCA experience, I feel like I still have so much to learn about when it comes to minor cannabinoids. CBN and it’s potential to help with sleep is probably the minor cannabinoid I’m curious about most next to THCA.
Preferred cannabis type (I, II, III)? Ratio?
- Type II. I love CBD in combination with THC. Because I typically roll my own blends. I probably purchase Type I and Type III the most… I just love the variety you can find in those categories. But by the time it ends up in my system, the result is really a Type II experience.
Favorite non-flower product (and why)?
- Field Balm – it’s a topical. I use it daily for a back pain. I put it on my hands after climbing and my calves after running. Just like that grandpa in the movie with his Windex, I seriously feel like Field Balm can cure everything. (disclaimer: I’ve been told on multiple occasions this isn’t true, Field Balm does not actually cure everything.)
Describe a dear memory of using cannabis.
- Last summer, we had a BBQ at a coworker’s house for 4th of July. We had just put Zkittles by Gnome Grown out, and it seems like every single one of us chose it to bring and share. Every time I turned around, there was a Zkittles joint being passed to me. Which meant by the end of the night, all of us were just super happy and chill. There was a bonfire, the weather was perfect and we couldn’t stop laughing.
What is popular misconception about budtending that you can mythbust?
- Huh, tough question. I guess I don’t have a good grasp on how folks perceive us in general. We get such range of how folks interact with us. Some people are really comfortable with weed, asking for suggestions, or talking about their medical conditions. Others prefer to look around and find their own thing. I guess I just want folks to know, that as a budtender I’m cool with either method. This is your journey, we’re here for you however you need.
What do you think is the most important skill a budtender can have?
- Listening, first and foremost. There are so many reasons someone might walk into the shop. Without listening and asking questions, I wouldn’t know where to start.
- I also think it’s important to research and filter information. As I mentioned before, reliable information about cannabis is so hard to find. Being able to have an honest, truthful conversation with people is important. Looking critically at and communicating the science is a huge part as well.