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Interview With Herbalist Stephanie Boucher

Erin Doble
Erin Doble 13 Jul 2018

Herbalist Stephanie Boucher, author of our Canna-Kitchen Witchery column, is also one of the teachers at our upcoming Women of Cannabiz Learning Series: Cannabis As Medicine session on Tuesday, July 17. She’s got a deeply interesting background and perspective, and we thought we’d share a little of her witchy magic with you. The interview was conducted by writer and photographer Erin Doble.

ED: Tell me a bit about yourself!

SB: I am a clinically trained herbalist and attended the Vermont Center for Integrated Herbalism and graduated in 2016. I have training in a wide variety of things such as herbal traditions, medicine making and pharmacology. I also have a long relationship with cannabis in particular beginning in my teen years which many can trace their roots to it and just working in the industry as a trimmer and in a dispensary kitchen here in Vermont so I have been working with this plant for a while and gave me the inspiration to study herbs more generally.

ED: What is the Women of Cannabiz event about?

SB: The this event we are doing is one specifically about the plant in general and using it medicinally and understanding the plant and all of its complexities. I’ll be teaching this with Lauren from Aromed Aromatherapy and going over the basics of cannabis as well as the nitty gritty scientific side and how it works in our bodies.

With all of the laws changing as they have been and more people getting interested, this series is about teaching people about the plant, how we can use it and to even start businesses around it.

I think Women of Cannabiz is significant because historically in the US this plant has been used as a tool of oppression and exclusion. To demonize it, deport, and incarcerate various minority groups. We have an opportunity now to subvert that history and use it to uplift groups that have historically gotten the short end of the stick – women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. I hope that anyone who self identifies as belonging to such a group, whether or not they identify as women will find a place to collaborate within and feel empowered by this learning series.

ED: What do you hope people will learn from the series?

SB: With my contribution I hope that people get a better understanding of what this plant is and removing a lot of the confusion around it because there is a lot of contradictory information out there. I hope to try and clear the air and provide people with solid information that they can then use to either use the plant themselves, or help a loved one because it is such a versatile plant and the more we know about it the more useful it can be for all of us.

I’m involved in the just first class of the series but I hope to be teaching another class in this series later on about DIY medicine and making your own things at home.

I think Women of Cannabiz is significant because historically in the US this plant has been used as a tool of oppression and exclusion. To demonize it, deport, and incarcerate various minority groups. We have an opportunity now to subvert that history and use it to uplift groups that have historically gotten the short end of the stick – women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc.

ED: Where do you envision women in the world of cannabis in Vermont and the nation?

SB: There’s been a really strong push to get more women in the industry which is great. I feel like there’s a lot of herbal medicine in general that tends to attract women and I don’t find this to be any different. It does have a higher percentage of women business owners than other industries but it is still is only around 30% or 40% owned by women. (**fact check I did is about 30% ish)

It’s still pretty male dominated as many things are and what I’m hoping is that women feel empowered by this series and feel a sense of sisterhood around it and that we can help each other out, collaborate and give each other a leg up so that we can all have a strong voice in this industry.

There is a lot of opportunity for us to use these plants whether it is for creating a business or just using it to heal ourselves and our families because there is such a long history of women being healers.

ED: Do you think there are any potential challenges or opportunities to help break the glass ceiling?

SBI feel the challenges for women are the same as they are in many different industries and that is a lot more opportunity there than challenges. There is a lot of opportunity for us to use these plants whether it is for creating a business or just using it to heal ourselves and our families because there is such a long history of women being healers.

I see this as a chance of empowerment and the challenge is that this, like many other industries could be overcome by a big corporate dominated mindset and I’m hoping it doesn’t go that route. I hope it focuses on equity and equality and gives everyone access.

ED: How do you hope to help the industry and women in it?

SB: I have a knowledge and skill set to offer folks that’s helpful in a lot of different ways whether it be to help people create product lines or expand their practice as herbalists. I feel that there are a lot of herbalists in Vermont but there isn’t a lot of education around cannabis in most of the herbal schools and I think that’ll start changing.

I hope to reach a few different audiences and people who are already into herbs will think about expanding to cannabis and using it as medicine. And even people who maybe don’t know anything about herbs, but like cannabis will think about it in a different way and within this broader field of herbal medicine and start to interact with other plants as well.

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