I’m just going to come out and say it: Nick Liedel smokes marijuana. And do you know what that means? A big fat nothing because a whole bunch of you reading this right now also ingest marijuana in some way, shape or form. After all, it’s legal.
Except Nick Liedel never thought that he would one day find himself working in a marijuana shop selling legal weed to happy and sometimes nervous customers.
“I can’t say I ever thought I would be doing this,” he says with a short laugh. “At least once a week I have to pinch myself because I simply can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this.”
He goes on to talk about how smoking pot was always a guilty pleasure or a hobby. “When I was young I didn’t care much about what pot was like,” he says. “Now there’s anywhere from fifteen to fifty strains to choose from depending on where you go.”
And yet Nick’s road to a career in cannabis was far from straight and narrow.
“I was born in Lake Oswego, but as soon as I was old enough to take the bus into Downtown, it felt like my home,” he explains. “So, I ended up going to PSU and have lived in Portland full-time for twenty-nine years.”
The story about how he ended up in bud tending is one that begins the same way for oh, so many Millennials.
“I got a BA in Sociology in twenty-twelve,” he says before continuing in a dry monotone, “and I’ve always worked in retail.”
Wow. Someone not really using the degree they paid hard-earned money for. Imagine that. Still, Nick puts his sociology studies to good use by analyzing his clientele.
“I find it funny how paranoid out-of-state buyers are,” he says. “When you ask for an out-of-state ID, they say something like, ‘Ah, I don’t know about that, I’m a teacher.”
Nick goes on to explain that the information inputted into their system is merely to keep track of how much marijuana they are selling, not who they are selling it to. “None of that information goes to the government or anyone outside the store,” he assures us.
Having worked in a medical dispensary for a year before full legalization, Nick initially felt the weight of a new bureaucracy, but understands the need for a regulatory framework.
“The transition was difficult,” he begins, “but now that I’m on the other side of it, I am thankful for it.”
As an example, Nick talks about an online database set up by the state to track sales. “At first it seemed to overly complicate things, but now it’s simpler because the product is already in the system. Vendors bring it in and we all check a box and it’s done,” he explains.
Yet despite all this, surely Nick finds fun in other hobbies.
“I love to cook,” he pauses, then continues, “You know, as corny as it sounds, my main passion is my job.”
Not corny at all, Nick. Surely, more than one person reading this article might find themselves indulging the same passion were they in your position. We’re glad the ‘budding’ (pun intended) marijuana industry has PDX people like you at the helm.
William Bessette – PDX People Contributor
William Bessette is a journalist and freelance writer who has been covering politics, entertainment, culture and travel for over thirteen years. When he’s not profiling Portland-area restaurants and residents, you can find him reporting on national and international travel and eco-tourism through his travel brand, Floppy Hat Adventures.