BUDTENDER INTERVIEW #30 - Evan - Bridge City Collective
What's your name?: Evan
What state do you currently work in?: Denial / Oregon
Care to share where you work at?: Bridge City Collective
Recreational, Medical or Both?: Both
What do you do within the cannabis industry?: Budtender
How long have you been in the legal cannabis industry?: Since October 2015
What is your most favorite aspect of working within the cannabis industry?: Genetics and the diversity in the plants. I love seeing how different strains vary from grower to grower. It really lets you see what the strains themselves are capable of, and what each grower's style ends up being. Every batch is different, and being in the shops really lets you see that stuff first hand.
What were you doing before the getting in the cannabis industry?: Before this I was a barista and coffee roaster. Coffee is my other passion.
Cannabis edibles is a touchy subject in the media. How much do you recommend to a first time user and why?: It's the same as with anything: start small. You can always take more, but you can never take less. Edibles can be a much more psychedelic experience, and if you're not ready for an 8-hour trip, a lower dose helps prevent something too serious from taking place.
Have you ever ate too many edibles? Have a story to tell?: Yes, and it's a great story! About five years ago a friend made some weed caramels, and after working a busy Sundaymorning at the coffee shop, myself and a few friends decided to eat these things and go to a cool event called "Friends of the Library." For those unfamiliar, this happens once or twice a year. Basically all of the libraries in Multnomah County take all of the books that haven't been borrowed in several years, and bring them in to sell for, basically, quarters. So there's this big conference room, like, the biggest one they have, and it has books wall-to-wall and tables all over the middle, full of books, all stacked and organized by category. Anyway, we're cruising through here, just looking at books and kind of halfheartedly reading, when I start to feel a really warm sensation from my lower back start to spread over my body. It goes up my shoulders, down my arms to my fingers, down my legs, into my feet, and up to my head. I got light headed and my vision began to fade back into my head, like I was looking through a tunnel and out my eyes. This all happened in what felt like a few minutes. Having been high many times before, I knew the best course of action was to just focus on breathing and let everything do it's thing. It's weed, after all, and we've not been able to find an LD-50 for THC, so real health risk is minimal. So I leaned against the table I was standing at, to take the pressure off my feet, and I looked around the room and saw just an endless room of books and tables, and nothing else. And at that point I thought to myself "Wait, all I have to do is look at books for the next four hours? ...I got this..." I was high as shit, and I realized that this was probably one of the best places to be because nobody was gonna be watching me or my absurd behavior. So for the next several hours, I looked at 60s home improvement books, and I looked through reject art collection books (stuff that wouldn't even be on my coffee table), and eventually I found some CDs in the back with a listening station! After what honestly felt like an hour, it was 6pm and it was time to go. At this point I paced myself to the counter with my also high-as-hell friends in tow. We checked out, and went home and slept for 12 hours. I still have these books, and I haven't read any of them.
Do you have a favorite edible company? If so, explain why.: Magic Number is a craft brewed beverage company I've really enjoyed. They do cannabis infused ginger beer which tastes like really good ginger beer, but with just a hint of THC. They're dosed such that you can sip on a few through the day and maintain a nice head buzz, and the fact that they don't taste like BHO is a huge plus.
Have you seen a patient/consumer's health improve since using cannabis? If so, explain!: Yes, my roommate! She herniated two of her lower disks several years ago, and was essentially immobile for a long time, and had been on all sorts of medication. She got her OMMP card for this, and was able to cut out the opiates and antidepressants that her doctors had prescribed her. Consuming cannabis did two things: it helped manage her pain, and it helped manage her depression that resulted from not only being immobile, but having her workers’ compensation claim get rejected, which threw a whole lot of expenses her way. Bills are there whether you're sad or happy, so you may as well do what you can to help your attitude, ya know?
Working within a shop can provide from some interesting stories. Do you have a awkward story of a customers request or a general funny story while working in a shop/grow/kitchen?: Yes! I had a young kid come in one day early Sunday morning. As he walked into the lobby (I was working front desk that day), he let out a huge sigh, and said, "I made it!" with a big grin on his face. I don't mean to stereotype often, but some people just look exactly like cartoons, and this kid looked like he just spent his first year at Country Fair.
Anyway, he spent about five minutes explaining how important cannabis was to him and how connected it made him feel to the world. Finally, we got around to checking him into the back room, and I notice he's not 21 yet! So I say "I'm sorry, man, I can't let you in, you gotta be 21 to be here, did you know that?" He expressed that it was worth a try, and asked for a hug. I looked into his deep, mysterious stare, and said, “Sure.” After the intense bonding experience, he reached into his pocket and threw a twenty dollar bill on the table. I asked him what that was for, and he simply shrugged, smiled, and left. "Ok," I think, "I just got a bribe attempt, but nothing happened, so no harm, no foul, right?" I walked back to the bud room to tell this odd tale to my coworkers, and the kid came back in! "This is gonna be good," I think.
He holds up an ID and says to me "I found this outside."
"You found that on the sidewalk outside?"
"So you want me to try to get it back to the owner?"
Ok, I'm looking at it, and it's a Washington ID. I say the town name with a bit of curiosity. Never heard of it. The kid pipes up, "Oh that's a beautiful town."
"You know this town?"
"I'm from there."
"Do you know this person?"
"That's my father."
"Ok...So you're here to get me to get this back to your dad?" At this point I'm just being purposefully ignorant and obtuse. I want him to spell this out for me. The kid shrugs and doesn't say anything, so I handed him the ID back and said "Sorry, man, I'm not sure what this is but I still can't let you in." He smiled again, and walked out the door. I never saw him again, and I spent the $20 he left on cupcakes.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years and why?: I think a few things are going to happen to the industry. First, I can see more states making their own legalization laws and limits. We may get two more states with totally legal cannabis sales. I'm not sure which ones, but a lot can happen in five years. Building off of that, I think we'll also see nation-wide companies and distributors. Some big farms in states like Colorado, Oregon and Washington will be able to sell their products in different states, and we'll enter the "big cannabis" chapter, much the same way any other farmed product exists. Small producers will always be around, but there will be a group of big producers who cover a large portion of the products and sales in many states. Lots of companies are already talking about making this happen, so if it doesn't happen in five years I will be very surprised.
Which do you prefer when it comes to flower?: 50/50 hybrid
Explain why you choose the above answer?: If I had to pick one, it would be the 50/50 hybrid. Hybrids are what I like to describe as malleable highs: they'll do what you want them to do. If you wanna chill out and watch a movie, it will be mellow enough that you can sit still for two hours, eat a bunch of food and not pass out or get too anxious. If you wanna nap, it can help you relax. It’s not quite as narcotic as a pure indica, but way better than a sativa. As for getting work done, a hybrid won't fight against you like an indica will, and matched up with a nice cup of coffee, a hybrid won't send you down anxiety road with no brakes.
In your opinion, what company is the industry leader in your state? : I know Green Bodhi is one of the most reputable growers in town. Their products are always amazing looking, and the consistency they have from crop-to-crop is unreal. Beautiful stuff.
Do you have an all time favorite strain? Explain why you like it so much?: I generally say my favorite strain of all time is Sour Diesel. It's everywhere, and really easy to identify, so in parts of the country where consistency isn't an option, I can smell a bag and tell whether I'm getting it or not. It's got all the great traits of my favorite sativas: stinky, not super dense, and always an active high without much of a fog to it. Great for doing stuff!
If you could change one thing about the current cannabis industry, what would you change and why?: First thing I'd change in Oregon is the penalties that people under 21 now face for marijuana possession. A class-B felony is waayyy worse than how things were before legalization. It used to be that under an ounce was a misdemeanor regardless of age, but now if you're younger and get caught with weed you can have some serious stuff on your record, which I always thought was why we legalized it. You know, keep the cops and jails occupied with real crimes. It's great that now people like me can basically have whatever we want in our homes without any recourse, but if I were 20 I could be in serious trouble for having a few different bags of weed in my car. Why we couldn't just keep it at a series of fines and community service is beyond me. There's no need to punish kids and young adults that heavily. It's not like marijuana suddenly becomes harmless when you turn 21, you know?
Why are you excited to work within the cannabis industry? What kind of opportunities have opened up for you? : I've been a weed smoker for a while now, but I feel like now I can openly speak about it with all sorts of people. My parents especially have gotten very interested in the industry, and I feel like 10 years ago talking about cannabis with my parents always resulted in a "that's illegal" discussion. Now that we're beyond that, it's nice to have some discussion on things like medical use. It's also become a sort of icebreaker with my mother's friends. They're all so curious now, and I feel like a year ago nobody would want to talk about it.
What is the #1 thing you are grateful for today? : I'm on the right side of the concrete today. Lots of people went to prison for a long time for us to be able to do this. I'm grateful for their sacrifice and the work they all did, knowing the risks.
Have any hobbies? Care to share them with us?: I collect music and sometimes you can find me DJing. Mostly, I help run an internet broadcast of local producers and DJs called Amiti Group. We'll have guests come on and play music, record it, and throw it all on random repeat loop for a 24/7 stream. I try to have at least one new set a month I put up there, and we actually just had a meeting about this summer's broadcast events, and it looks like we'll have things happening at least once a week this summer! Check out the website for streaming music and releases: www.amitigroup.com