“I feel it’s so important to have the conversation with people who are just getting comfortable with the idea of cannabis being legal. It’s ok to love cannabis and not feel like you have to ‘be in the closet’ about it.” -Teri Everhardt
Change Careers, Follow Dreams
Teri Everhardt, budtender at the Evergreen Market in Auburn has worn many hats over the years, but now is finally settling where she feels most at home, in the legal cannabis industry of Washington State.
A ‘jack of all trades,’ Teri has done everything from installing and repairing cables to being a flight attendant, a surgical tech and now a cannabis connoisseur. “I work well under pressure,” Teri said, “I know how to my keep my cool.”
You can tell she is genuine, putting her heart and soul into every moment- giving a friend, customer or patient the attentiveness they deserve. “I am definitely a people person,” she added.
Although officially joining the cannabis community only in the last decade, she jumped in head first, learning everything she could about the plant, from optimum grow conditions that are strain specific, to the benefits of different cannabinoids on the body. Today, she is able to bridge the gap, between her career in the medical field with her passion to learn more on the benefits of the cannabis plant.
“When Cory [my husband] hurt his back, we started looking into growing. I still had my job at the hospital, being a surgical tech for 6 years. We were really busy growing medical cannabis but I couldn’t talk about that aspect of my life for a long time. It was difficult in a way, because I am so passionate about the plant and it was hard not to share that aspect of my life with a lot of people. When medical went away I knew that I wanted to be in the industry some how, some way.”
One incredible aspect of the cannabis industry is the immense room for opportunity and growth, regardless of age or past endeavors. They are calling it the Green Rush, and just like the Gold Rush of the past, it is a time of wealth of options. Reality is, passion is the greatest skill anyone can bring to the industry and Teri perpetuates this aspect every day.
With cannabis now legal for recreational use in eight states, freedom for career expansion is exponentially growing. When Washington state legalized cannabis, an influx of men and women arrived from across the nation, moving to work in a field they might have supported for years, but in secret. In the coming years this will become even more increasing as people follow the jobs of legal weed, and the opportunity that comes with it, most importantly the chance to live an authentic life, true to one’s self.
“Honestly, how can a plant that helps so many people in so many positive ways still be so demonized? Its’ a mindset that I think over time will change, but we have to keep the conversations going!” -Teri
Change Careers: Interview with Teri Everhardt
Tell us about your first cannabis experience
I was 12 years old living in Florida. After school one day my brother and a couple of his friends were smoking in the shed in our backyard. I was hanging out with them and they passed the bong to me. I got really baked a they were all looking at me saying, “yeah, she’s stoned”. I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself other than go to my room. I practiced my flute and tried to avoid my mom the rest of the day. That was my first experience.
How did you get involved in the industry?
When my hubby retired from the military after 20 years of service he had injured his back. We got to talking about cannabis and how it helps with pain. We both are avid gardeners. So with medical cannabis being an option we thought to ourselves, ‘hmm we should try and grow some plants!’ We both got medical authorizations and started with one little seed we put in a pot and placed on our window ledge. It turned out pretty good! Small but had some cute little buds on it. From then on we started growing more plants, really trying to educate ourselves, learning everything we could, from growing, to the medical aspects of the plant: researching politics, advocacy. I would say that cannabis pretty much consumes our lives at this point, and we love it!
Favorite strain and why?
Everyone at the store knows this- Supermax OG by Blue Roots. It is THE perfect strain for me. Its an indica-dominant strain, which I prefer. I am definitely more of an indica girl. I like this strain because it has the perfect ratio of indica to sativa. It gives me a clear headed, focused high, but with a sense of calm throughout my body, without being too ‘couch lock-y.’ I can still get things done and be very task oriented, yet, relaxed.
Favorite way to enjoy cannabis?
I like to dab and smoke out of my bong. I will take some prerolls over to a friends house if need be. I also have a vape pen that I love for when we go out and about.
Best weed memory?
My best weed memory would have to be lying under the plants we grew out on our patio. They were tall enough to lie under and it was a nice summer day. We grabbed our cushions, pillows, the speakers and brought the doggies also. We smoked and laid under the plants, staring up at the canopy, taking it all in- the fruits of our labor! Just basking in the beauty and awesomeness of cannabis. Spent the whole day there, living in our little speck of paradise, talking, appreciating that this was actually possible this day-and-age, to do something like this.
How does your family react to your profession?
I have 6 siblings and most of them use cannabis. They are all very supportive of my lifestyle. My mother has become a fan too, using cannabis products to help with her health issues. I have relatives, friends of family, all reaching out to me for cannabis information. I try my best to stay informed and pass on what knowledge I have. I think it’s key to keep the conversations coming and to get it out there-that this plant is not the ‘devil’s weed’ that we were conditioned to believe our whole lives. It just ain’t true!
Advice for someone starting in the industry?
Of course it helps if you love pot! There are so many opportunites out there. From customer service to working at a production facility, to security services, marketing, ancillary products and services, IT- the sky is the limit! There are several cannabis job websites, even Craigslist has many cannabis job postings. It’s ” The Green Rush.” Crazy and unpredicatable at times, but exciting, nonetheless!
Favorite growers- Blue Roots Cannabis, Triple Crown and Top Shelf Cannabis
I’m liking Millineum, Top Shelf, Errls, Seattle’s Private Reserve for extracts.
Ethos Innovations products and Fairwinds CBD products.
Where do I see the industry going-
I hope that Washington State establishes a legitimate Medical Cannabis program like California and Colorado. On a Federal Level, I want to see the rescheduling of cannabis or even de-schedule it. I don’t think cannabis belongs on the DEA schedule in the first place. It is way safer than all of the drugs listed on that schedule- we need more research and education! I think everyone should have the opportunity to grow a couple of plants for their own use. Decriminalize it. Honestly, how can a plant that helps so many people in so many positive ways still be so demonized? Its’ a mindset that I think over time will change, but we have to keep the conversations going!
Goals for the future?
To continue on a career path with The Evergreen Market and see what the future holds!
Similarities in this field?
What I love about my job is customer service. I have worn many hats in the past- installing and servicing telephone equipment, repairing photo copiers, flight attendant, medical assistant, surgical technician to pot grower now budtending. I absolutely love talking and interacting with people. I am definitely a people person.
Differences from past jobs?
Working in the cannabis industry is like no other, because it’s so new, unpredictable and still illegal in many parts of the country, and the world. I love being a part of something that provides me with a sense of joy, excitement- I love going to work to be with my other family, my “work” family. Being around cannabis, being around other people who are just as excited about cannabis, coworkers and customers. Weed makes me a happy girl!
Any fears with a career change?
Not really. I’ve had many careers in my life. I like change. I think change is good. I feel change helps people evolve and grow. Starting anything new can be scary. Heck I didn’t go back to school until I was in my forties. It’s never too late to do something. I’ve always told myself that my best years are yet to come. I love my job, I love being in this crazy exciting industry!
Written By: Masha Brown, Social Media Specialist
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