Since growing medical, hobby, and recreational cannabis for more than a decade, Obie Strickler, Co-Founder and CEO of Grown Rogue, has a deep passion for the industry and cares for the plant in a way that should be admired. We were privileged to ask him some questions about his current operation, where he sees the cannabis industry moving forward, and more.
Did You Know? “ROGUE” stands for: Relax, Optimize, Groove, Uplift, Energize
Spotlight on Grown Rogue
Tell us about yourself.
I’m the Co-Founder and CEO with a BS in Geology from Southern Oregon University. I have a pretty diverse private sector background that includes running the Oregon division of regional environmental consulting company and founding a firm to provide full management services for multi-billion dollar natural resource projects, and co-founding a hyper-velocity impact technology company.
I’ve been in the cannabis industry for over 15 years, first as a hobby grower, then with an extensive medical growing operation. We organically scaled those operations from a fifteen-plant single facility to four facilities and 80,000 square feet of canopy under my company Canopy Management. When the adult use laws were coming into Oregon, it was an easy decision to transition the company to a fully licensed seed to sale company. I’m interested in changing perceptions and overcoming stigmas in the burgeoning recreational cannabis space. I’ve especially had an interest in helping more people appreciate the benefits of cannabis. To help people more easily anticipate the kinds of experiences they’ll have with certain strains, our team has been spearheading the scientific classification of our products. We are extremely excited to release this classification in the coming months as it will be very gratifying to see how much easier it will be for people to make purchasing decisions and have great experiences with our products.
My wife and co-founder, Sarah, and I have been focused on community building in our local area, recently holding the first industry mixer for local cannabis companies and ancillary businesses. We want to extend that to Portland and throughout the state with more events. I’m also interested in playing a role in local regulatory and compliance issues and was recently appointed by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to the county’s new Marijuana Advisory Committee. When I’m not at Grown Rogue, I enjoy outdoor activities and team sports with my family.
How / Why did you get into the cannabis industry?
I believe in this industry and what this plant can do for people. With the right education, dosage, and application, this product can be a substitute for other products like alcohol, wine, and beer, but more importantly can be a wellness product for general health and can greatly benefit the community. The stories we here from different people regarding the impact this product has had on their lives the more we realize how much we are helping people.
How have you adapted to changes in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market?
Interestingly, there’s a much greater sense of responsibility when targeting recreational users as the market is much broader and there’s much more opportunity for misuse. So, we take great care in our communications with an emphasis on positive experiences, rather than using the product to just “recreate.”
What sets Grown Rogue apart from other producers?
We are truly a seed to experience company. That means that we set our standards of excellence from the very beginning when we source specific genetics all the way through growing (indoor and outdoor), processing of our extracts, to the sale and the fulfillment of our product into an experience enhancement for our consumers.
We put people ahead of profit. We see the tremendous economic opportunity of cannabis but we believe the real opportunity is how this industry can positively impact communities and individuals. We start with these principles within our organization and expand out. We are also always innovating:
- We’re the first company to introduce nitrogen sealed pre-rolls to the cannabis market.
- We’re leading what we believe to be the first (and only) truly scientific study to analyze the effects of cannabis strains.
To achieve this, we’ve partnered with world renowned research psychologists and experts in cannabis to quantify the experience a strain can affect. It’s in our name – ROGUE – Relax, Optimize, Groove, Uplift, Energize. A more friendly way to try cannabis rather than be mired in test results and awkward strain names.
Why are nitrogen sealed pre-rolls superior to standard pre-rolls?
Unlike other pre-rolls that use random parts of the plant, we use only the freshest bud – no trim, no stems. And to ensure they stay fresh from farm until they’re enjoyed, we utilize a proprietary nitrogen-sealing process. We place two pre-rolls – ½ gram 1-2 person use size, into sleek glass tubes, flush out the oxygen, replace with nitrogen and seal them. They’ll stay fresh for for pretty much forever, but as you can imagine they usually don’t stay on the shelves for more than a few days! And their freshness is guaranteed.
What are some of your sustainable practices used for growing cannabis?
Everything we do is Clean Green Certified – We go above and beyond in everything we do from the handling of our plants to fertilizer selection, integrated pest management solutions, to our drying and curing process and even our final storage process in an environmentally controlled room.
How do you ensure that your products are the best they can be?
We make this assurance through innovation and strategy. Our nitrogen sealed pre-rolls, soon to be launched small batch nitrogen sealed flower, and our other branded products are a game changer because they offer the customer true freshness. Our sales/distribution team takes great care to listen to feedback from intake managers, dispensary owners, and the end consumer to stay ahead of the curve in terms of market needs.
To use a basketball analogy, the cannabis industry is still in the first quarter and we look forward to continuing to innovate and provide the best experiences and products.
We start with careful selection of original genetics and follow best farming and processing practices all the way through. This includes strain and seed selection, Phylos Certification, Clean Green Certification and more. With our indoor grow operations, we can experiment with light intensity, humidity, air movement, and nutrient mix. This degree of control enables the growing team to produce the best results and adjust practices to maximize results by strain. We also seek to enhance quality through optimizing biosynthesis during our careful curing process, paying close attention to timing, humidity, temperature and other factors required to bring the best products possible to the market.
What strains do you grow?
We have over 80+ genetics in our portfolio and our always searching for new genetics. Some of these are well known stapes like OG Kush, Gorilla Glue, and Sour Diesel while many are in-house favorites like our Sizzleberry. With our diverse product line, genetic diversity is key.
Our primary strains include:
R: Relax category: Ogre and PHK
O: Optimize category: Blue City Diesel and Tangie Cure
G: Groove category: Sizzleberry and Blue Magoo
U: Uplift category: Tri-Mints and Shortbread
E: Energize category: Lemon Sour Diesel and Key Lime Poison
Our strains are described here.
What is your favorite of Grown Rogue products?
Right now, the Sizzleberry!
Where can people find your products?
We are in over 75 dispensaries in Oregon and averaging about 5 new locations per week. The full list is available on our website and of course, if your local dispensary doesn’t carry any of our amazing products yet make sure to request them!
In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit to legalized marijuana?
Providing a safe and reliable source for new consumers who realized the many benefits of this amazing plant but were not comfortable in the illegal market.
What do you believe the future of marijuana holds?
Full acceptance by the mainstream as the many wonderful benefits of this plant are more widely accepted and incorporation of cannabis into social settings much like alcohol is today. I also believe that you will see many of the medical benefits this plant provides become more widely accepted and help reduce some of the dependence on traditional pharmaceuticals.
What are you working on next?
We are constantly working on new products. Small batch branded flower is coming soon and we are also actively working on an integrated product suite that we believe will change the current retail display methods.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Not really a share but just want to thank the entire team at Grown Rogue for all of their hard work bringing these great products to the market and also all of our loyal customers who truly understand the effort that our team puts into bringing the freshest and best products possible to them.
As Obie explained, the cannabis industry is still in its early stages, so laying the groundwork for positive experiences for all users is key as education continues. Thank you for speaking with us Obie!