Oz Gardenz – Bellingham, WA
Everyone that works at Oz Gardenz, a Tier I indoor grow in Bellingham, is family. After three decades working in videography, husband and wife Amy and Jonathan Ross decided to apply their business expertise to cannabis when they found a facility discounted on Craigslist in January 2018. With the help of their two adult sons, Parson and Andersen, they renovated the barebones space with new rolling tables, checkerboard lighting patterns, dehumidifiers, raised ceilings and a double-tiered “bedroom” with twice the growing space.
For Jonathan, the resident “sommelier,” who’d been illicitly growing and consuming cannabis daily since age 13, it’s been amazing getting to pursue “the thing I’m most at peace with” for a living, but, he says, “The most rewarding part is the whole family is working together for the first time ever.”
Oz Gardenz’ four flower rooms each produce about 22 pounds every eight weeks, but due to their stringent quality standards, not all of that will necessarily make it to pot shops. “If it doesn’t have the effects, the look, and the smell, then we’re not going to take it to market,” insists Amy. Utilizing Jonathan’s penchant for exhaustive research, they’ve invested even more time and energy on phenotype hunting as they have on renovations, refining their stable of nine strains out of more than 60 candidates. As well as developing “a broad spectrum of experiences,” they strive for flowers with complex fragrance and bouquet, finding the combination of terpenes and THC delivers the best experience for customers – some of whom can now identify their strains, like Slurricane or Miracle Alien Cookies (M.A.C.), through blind “scratch-n-sniff” tests alone.
Ever since Parson and Andersen were kids, their parents would encourage them to “spread the love,” a Ross family mantra that’s now evolved into Oz Gardenz’ business philosophy. “Once you spend the time and get to know the plants’ lifecycle,” says Parson, “you want to bring positive energy around [the plants], and make sure the whole business is run with positive energy.”
Their openness has been received with open arms, in contrast to the cutthroat film industry they came from, with neighbors in their cannabis-oriented business complex freely sharing knowledge and offering support. Down the line, Amy and Jonathan are looking to expand into a larger Tier II facility with an additional 10,000 square feet of growing space, before passing on control to their sons, making this a real, intergenerational family business.
“We feel when we’re creating this product, we’re spreading the love, sharing this medicine with people that are in need of it,” Amy elaborates. “It goes along with the culture of cannabis, which is love, share, be well.”
“They’ve invested even more time and energy on phenotype hunting as they have on renovations, refining their stable of nine strains out of more than 60 candidates.”