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Girdwood’s Traveling Budtender

"Experimenting is important for people to find where they are most comfortable."

A Girdwood native who loves getting out of Alaska to see the world, Carmen Graves has traveled to Costa Rica, Southeast Asia and Mexico, and has even tried weed in South Africa (it wasn’t legal, btw). Having grown up with Brent Carse who owns The Herbal Cache, she doesn’t mind helping her buddy out and being the newcomer behind the counter. 

You’re a self-proclaimed occasional user of Cannabis, but your parents are longtime stoners, right?
It’s kind of funny, I’m not that great at reviewing products when we get samples at the store. So, I take them to my parents for help, and together we get the right descriptions. Talk about family bonding!

If you’re not a big stoner, how does that affect your ability to advise on Cannabis when budtending?
Most people that come in just want the highest percentage of THC and to just get as high as possible – that’s not my sweet spot. I do well with beginners or people who haven’t used it in years because I prefer lower percentages. I mean, I eat about 2.5mg of an edible and I’m good – total lightweight. But I think a lot of people are, too, and I can relate. Everyone is different. 

How does Cannabis affect you when you’re in your sweet spot?
It’s when I still have control of my thoughts. And as a budtender, it’s important to be aware that many people are looking to us for information, and there needs to be trust that we’re not going to advise them to try something that will make them uncomfortable – so I’m hyper-diligent about that. 

It really is all about getting people the right dosage, or the right strain, isn’t it?
Yep, experimenting is important for people to find where they are most comfortable. 

So, you and the owner of the shop grew up together. Did you kick his ass in dodgeball?
No (laughs), we’re both really passive people, we’re not the kind that are going to kick anybody’s ass. We’re both pushovers. I found some old footage the other day of my fourth birthday at Chuck E. Cheese and he was there, so it goes way back. 

Photos by @ShipeShots

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 June 2021 issue of Alaska Leaf.

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