Introducing Casey Hiltemann, CEO and Founder of the Budtenders Association, in our latest Creator Spotlight feature. With a decade of experience in various industries, including hospitality, global supply chain, logistics, and health & wellness, Casey is a true entrepreneur at heart. However, her passion for cannabis runs deep, rooted in her personal connection to the plant from a young age. Through her work with the Budtenders Association, Casey aims to break down the negative stereotypes surrounding cannabis and promote its many benefits. Join us as we dive into our exclusive interview with Casey and learn more about her inspiring journey.
Introduce yourself and what do you do?
My name is Casey Hiltemann. I am a student of life, lover of plants and people, driven by a nourishing curiosity and interest in the human potential. Over the past decade I have dedicated my time and energy to thrilling entrepreneurial endeavors across the hospitality, global supply chain, logistics, health & wellness sectors. In my day-to-day I combine my passions for travel, plant medicine, and the collective with learned knowledge and intuition to create global solutions enabling education and research. Today that locates me in Canada, since my arrival here in 2016 shortly after learning of the pending legalization of cannabis for adult-use.
With due respect to a strong network of individuals and a growing community of passionate educators, this journey led me to founding one of the world’s first organizations supporting, empowering and elevating the main conduit between the cultivators of this sacred plant and consumers – Budtenders. Currently I am the CEO for Budtenders Association and its subsidiaries.
Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?
My career has been a zigzag of turning points – from acquiring my first customer and dollar made, selling cannabis internationally, between ages 13 to 19 – to legally owning, operating and advising small businesses to publicly traded companies.
A lot of decisions between and during that time were questionable and often fear-based but what I learned in hindsight (knowledge I now use to keep things in perspective) is that my biggest mistakes and fears became my biggest successes and opportunities.
Over the past 2 years during the pandemic; with the gift of solitude, self-reflection and improved health, I have adopted a growth mindset allowing me to see every uncomfortable situation as a challenge and necessary means to gain a deeper understanding of the natural complexities underlying simple concepts. This has completely reshaped how I approach business – it fuels my motivation to show up consistently, with a strong sense of purpose and non-attachment to a particular outcome.
Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.
A profound connection.
Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?
My purpose in this life is to de-stigmatize, facilitate and restore the organic, historic connection between the wisdom of plants and people. My connection with cannabis is intimate and founded early in life. From what some (mostly teachers and relatives) would describe as a tumultuous relationship of unconscious self-medication through my teenage years as I sought escape from the overwhelming nature of societal pressures and utter confusion, to working with cannabis as a physical healing modality, and now a sacred ritual, unifying practice, and recreational supplement of choice – without cannabis, I’m not where I am today.
“My purpose in this life is to de-stigmatize, facilitate and restore the organic, historic connection between the wisdom of plants and people. “
Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?
I’m from Amsterdam so this plant has been around during my upbringing and notably socially accepted from a very young age. When I was 11 and the youngest of all my cousins. One summer night my aunts, uncles, father and brother were all huddled around a bonfire in the backyard, a shared laughter and sense of peace protruded the air, connecting everyone in a way I noticed alcohol didn’t. That night I ripped my first bong in the safety of my community and the rest is history.
What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?
Philosophizing with friends, yoga, meditating, dancing, sex, eating fruit and enjoying warm beverages are moments I practice in communion with cannabis. My consumption is mindful and tailored to target, enhance or inhibit certain receptors in the body thereby, promote homeostasis, balance and wellbeing to accompany a desired experience.
What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?
I have a playlist for every time of day, mood and creative flow state but generally I trust spotify to play something that matches the current vibe! Music plays just as big of a role as cannabis does in the improvement of my physical and mental wellbeing.
“Philosophizing with friends, yoga, meditating, dancing, sex, eating fruit and enjoying warm beverages are moments I practice in communion with cannabis. “
If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?
Maria Sabina Magdalena Garcia
What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?
For me nothing beats the ritual, intimacy and skill of rolling a proper joint filled with a lovingly cared for and perfectly cured flower.
I like the clarity, cleanliness and full spectrum benefits of a live rosin dab and during my travels I have embraced the convenience and discretion that vape carts offer!
Beverages are a great option for an indoor smoke-free environment or just a refreshing recreational alternative to alcohol when meeting with friends and family. This is a great format to introduce people who want to reduce or quit alcohol consumption – a very real global crisis that, according to the World Health Organization, results in 3 millions deaths every year. I’m exploring this category more and excited for further innovation.
Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)
2023 is a year of evolution and renewed direction for Budtenders Association and the announcement of important partnerships in education, research and data analysis with like-minded companies. These strategic partnerships have been formed and nurtured to carry our mission and vision across borders and to new heights.
Our data hub and interactive dashboard (which collects, analyzes and reports on large qualitative and quantitative data sets) that delivers key insights and information around quality parameters, consistency, consumer preferences and industry benchmarking is launching this year!
Personally, I’ve been cultivating productive habits, behaviors, emotions and relationships which enable me to live my truest expression as a human being. Always adding to my toolbox and learning with others, I look forward to sharing more on upcoming community projects outside of the cannabis industry.
Reminder: you are a creator and have the power to choose your reality.