Eastern Washington native Katie Stem started her first business at age 22 while in the Americorps VISTA entrepreneurial division. In 2010, she completed her degree in traditional Chinese medicine and became a nationally certified licensed herbalist and acupuncturist. She became a medical cannabis patient in 2004 to help manage her Crohn’s disease. Stem has maintained an acupuncture and herbal medicine practice in Portland since 2010. She is also the CEO of Peak Extracts, the first adult-use edibles producer in Oregon. Founded in 2014, it soon expanded to vaporizer cartridges that also include CBD, terpenes or CBG. We asked her to make us a Weedsday playlist for you to light one up to and she delivered a rock-heavy mix of tracks by Alt-J, The National, Led Zeppelin and more.
1. “Tessellate” by Alt-J
The lyrics are layered and metaphorical—is it about a threesome? A fight? Geometry? All of the above? Combined with the undulating production and howling melody, it reminds me of driving on a coastal highway. The view changes second by second, your focus shifts and a whole new world opens up. I love listening to this song—it feels like there’s something new every time.
2. “Apocalypse” by Cigarettes after Sex
The first time I heard this song I was in my friend’s basement, trying to be quiet as others in the house slept. We’d just had one of the best meals of my life, and opened a bottle of champagne. I passed around Peak’s brand new cartridge made from this amazing flower, Fruit Punch. The dreaminess of this song was perfect for the bliss of the moment, and every time I hear it, I am transported to that feeling of perfect contentment that can only occur with good food, great cannabis and friends.
3. “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin
I was 17 and working my first (and worst) job on the night shift at McDonald’s in my tiny hometown in Eastern Washington. After we closed, I had to clean out the grease-laden meat trays, and my reward was to smoke a big joint with the rest of the crew in the trash enclosure out back. Ten minutes later, it was kicking in and I heard this song for the first time. I felt so betrayed—not because I smelled like rancid sneaker grease and I was developing a mysterious rash from the industrial cleaning product—but because no one had told me this song was SO FUCKING AMAZINGLY GOOD OH MY GODDDDDDD.
4. “Right Down the Line” by Gerry Rafferty
The years after legalization in Oregon have been an exciting and busy time. We routinely work extra long days, many times skipping time-off for weekends. It has its moments and whether I’m exhausted or a bit frustrated, the sweetness of this song immediately calms me down and washes it all away. I started this business with my girlfriend—she’s my best friend, and I never could or would have done it without her. This song reminds me that even in the most difficult times, I love doing this work with her and being on this incredible adventure with my favorite person in the world.
5. “Green Gloves” by The National
I introduced my mother to this song last year— she’s totally a novice with cannabis despite being almost seventy. The lyrics speak to friends growing apart, and trying to reach out and relate to people you used to share great intimacy with. It makes me introspective about the new bonds I’ve made since starting my company, and those I’ve drifted away from. I’m grateful that my parents see my passion in this industry and that cannabis has been able to benefit their lives in a meaningful way.