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Photo by Kiyahana Santiago

Budtender of the Month: Steven Ashlock

“Cannabis helps me stay happy and present.”

This nature lover is all about making music with friends. He loves carrying the backbeat in a good jam sesh, which exemplifies his passion for bringing people together. And you may find his wife Lauren tap dancing beside him.

How did the Cannabis business find you?
I’ve been a medical patient since adulthood. Before I entered the Cannabis industry, I was a schoolteacher for six years. Then my wife and I were living in Vermont right before the pandemic where I was hired to manage a small medical dispensary and spent four years there.

What is the ailment that you use Cannabis for as medicine?
You know, I use it just to calm myself down. I have a lot of anxiety and find myself too much in the past and future, and Cannabis helps me to be grounded and present.

Tell us about your school teaching.
I was an elementary school teacher: kindergarten through 4th grade. I was big on social and emotional learning and working with kids to get better at interacting with their peers. My mom has been a teacher for many years and has her own literacy company, so I found a lot of joy in helping kids get excited about reading. Kind of like what I do in Cannabis now: meeting people where they are to help them find something that’s gonna make their life better.

What do you like to read?
You know, I used to read all non-fiction, like history and politics, but these days I’ve been into fantasy books. I love Neil Gaiman. One of the books I used to read to the kids was “Coraline.”

You have a childlike spirit. Is Cannabis a part of that?
(laughs) My wife might even say too much sometimes! Yeah, I think it’s just a sense of joy and gratitude, and Cannabis helps me stay happy and present.

What’s one place in the Bay Area that you haven’t smoked that is on your bucket list?
My first instinct is the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, but that’s not an option (laughs). I need to take that question seriously because I do love exploring the Bay Area. It would be Sutro Baths. It used to be this big swimming center right on the coast, and now it’s in ruins. I’d love to take a jay out there and let my imagination run free.

Photos by @artbykems

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 July 2024 issue of California Leaf.

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