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Photo by Mike Ricker

Budtender of the Month: Lori Eckberg

Ojai, where Sespe Creek is located, is just a really beautiful place to be.

When she’s not making resin art, you’ll find her crafting cool earrings to give to friends. Many of her days are spent in her little garden with plumeria flowers and a giant staghorn fern that hung in the avocado tree at her home when she was a child … and now hangs at her home in Ojai. Follow Lori on Instagram: @ojai.hippy.

Did you grow up in the area?
I’m originally from Ventura, just down the road. I’ve been coming up here since the early ‘70s in my dad’s 1965 Ford Econoline van – we would sell my mom’s art in the B of A parking lot. I love it here. Ojai is wonderful this time of year after a rainy winter because the rivers are running, there are waterfalls, and Lake Casitas is full. Ojai is just a really beautiful place to be.

That’s wonderful! When did you get into the weed business?
I started as a security guard at a different dispensary. To make a long story short, I lost my keys to the shop and subsequently lost my job, which at the time was kind of devastating. And then Chelsea Sutula, owner of Sespe Creek and a huge Cannabis advocate, offered me a home here where I can help people every day. I’m the senior advocate for the shop. I’m also the oldest person at the shop – which is great because a lot of people who come in are around my age and they need help with sleep, anxiety, etc. It gives me a real sense of purpose. 

Thank goodness you lost those keys!
I’m so blessed. 

If you had any advice for newcomers into this Cannabis arena, what would it be?
I want everyone to know that you don’t have to smoke to get the medicinal effects of Cannabis. There are so many different modalities. The advice I give to my nephews and nieces and grand-nephews and nieces is ‘understand that this is medicine.’ Open your eyes and don’t abuse it. It is a plant that deserves to be loved and nurtured. 

Photos by @rickerdj

About Mike Ricker

The first time Ricker smoked weed was at a Santana concert at the age of 12. He then followed in his footsteps as an award-winning radio personality who became notorious for offering a stage for bong toking listeners in 9 different markets over 20 years. In 2016, the Cannabis industry came calling and the rest is history.

This article was originally published in the May 2024 issue of California Leaf.

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