Nikki Furrer's venture into green ganja pastures has been a winding one. The attorney turned cannabis consultant is coming to Phoenix to discuss her journey and sign copies of her book, A Woman's Guide to Cannabis: Using Marijuana to Feel Better, Look Better, Sleep Better — and Get High Like a Lady.
"I went to law school, and then I took the Bar and worked in New York for a few years in publishing. From there, I went back to St. Louis and opened up an independent bookstore. When I ran out of money with the bookstore and closed it, I was like 'I don't know what to do with myself,'" said Furrer in an interview with Phoenix New Times. I just wanted a break and longed for something new, so I moved to Denver — to the mountains — to work in weed."
Furrer quickly picked up on the ins and outs of the burgeoning industry, working with various cultivation facilities and dispensaries. "I wondered to myself, 'How do you grow 10,000 plants at once and how do you sell $10,000 worth of weed a day? It helped me get the lay of the land."
When Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2013, Furrer packed her bags and headed to the Prairie State to be closer to her St. Louis home.
"It's neat to see a new industry; it's like the internet boom of the '90s. Being from St. Louis, where they're very proud of their beer, people are still writing books about what it was like in the years after Prohibition when everything got up and running again," Furrer continues.
And people are still writing books about cannabis, clearly. Furrer's book, released on Christmas last year, covers topics including how to navigate a typical dispensary, how to reduce pain with topicals, and the difference between THC, CBD, and terpenes — plus 20 dank recipes utilizing flower, wax, and shatter.
"I went into my local dispensary one day to shop and was talking to a budtender about the book, and this other customer got so furious at me because the book was about women. I was like, 'Okay, say the word menopause.' He says, 'No, I won't do it.' And I was like, 'That's why we need the book!' Women have to deal with menopause, men don't, and you don't want us to talk about it," Furrer recalls. "We need our own space to discuss menopause and PMS and cramps, and how we use cannabis to help deal with that.
"I wrote the book because working behind the counter as a budtender in dispensaries, I had so many older women come in who had not done this in forever or had never done it. They just needed someone to tell them, 'Look, five or 10 milligrams — that's all you need.'"
As a cannabis consultant, Furrer helps startups with tasks from product development and cultivation to training bud trimmers, which she recalls fondly. "It’s the enthusiastic stoner room. A trim room that’s in chaos is absolutely terrifying."
Furrer doesn't shy away from discussing cannabis with baby boomers, either. "My mom is in her 70s, and her friends ask for cannabis more than my friends do — and my friends ask a lot. The baby boomers wanna get high. There is no stigma, they are ready for it. Anything that reduces their pain, they are completely fine with it."
As for her favorite celebrity marijuana advocate, Martha Stewart takes (and bakes) the cake. "Martha Stewart doesn't come out and say she's into weed, but you know she is. I saw something on her website that was like 'Oh you can grow your herbs in a little box in your kitchen. And I was like, 'Oh my God, now Martha is going to show us how to grow weed. This is amazing!"
Furrer will be at the book-signing event at Urban Yard, 706 South Second Street, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 16.
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