When the Bellingham marijuana retailer Satori stocks its shelves, they’re looking for the best suppliers they can find—companies that deliver high quality products made with care, that offer a consistency that will win a customer’s loyalty.
Seattle-based Oleum Extracts fits that bill perfectly, regularly winning awards at Washington’s premier cannabis competition the Dope Cup. They specialize in making “concentrates,” which are produced by extracting the marijuana plant’s oils, filtering them to their purest form, and turning them into solids and honey-like substances, which have taken the market by storm in recent years.
With roots in a Seattle medical cannabis group started by Aaron Palmer and Graham Jennings, Oleum Extracts has been in operation since 2011, and quickly attracted more talent. Justin Marsh worked in advertising for the medical cannabis world before coming aboard in 2012. “I got involved with the company at its medical roots,” he says. “Working with patients, we were constantly looking at how to improve the quality of cannabis concentrates. We focused on meeting the demands of patients who needed a clean, potent and consistent product—especially those with compromised immune systems. I saw the trends in cannabis concentrates begin to take off, and I knew that this stuff was going to influence the cannabis market in a big way.”
By 2015, when Initiative 502 had legalized recreational marijuana, Oleum finally became a licensed processor. But they haven’t forgotten their medical roots, and continue to keep an eye on the healing properties of their product. “Think of it in terms of an essential oil,” Marsh explains. “This plant creates oil glands that can be harvested and used to remedy many common ailments from insomnia to pain to inflammation, as well as help with depression and appetite stimulation.”
A typical day on the job usually starts with the staff communicating with the growers that supply their raw materials, and by receiving shipments of fresh, cured and frozen raw materials. “One day we’ll all be working on getting infused joints packaged and out the door, while another day will be spent weighing out Rocks N Sauce, Live Resin, or Honey Crystal,” Marsh says, listing some of the colorful names given to the concentrates they create. “After lunch we might do some quality control work on samples of product. If we want to bring people the highest quality and richest experience in their concentrates, then we need to make sure each batch is tested for quality, flavor and effect. The day will usually be wrapped up by making sure that all of the next day’s orders are ready to go out.”
As Justin explains the driving force behind their work, it’s clear that the folks at Oleum have a lot of faith in their mission. “On a grand scale, I believe our products—and cannabis products in general—are slowly replacing other methods people employ to self-medicate. We’re stressed out creatures here in America. Some people medicate with pills, some with healthy food, some with alcohol, some with exercise. The fact is that there are a lot of bad habits we can fall into aside from our good ones, and cannabis is something that can help some people manage their bad habits—or better yet, inspire their best self, moving forward in life.”
In addition to the hard work and high standards, they keep an eye on the human aspect of the workplace. According to Justin, “We’re a team of extractors, salesmen, scientists, technicians, processors, data gurus, jokesters, social media trolls, dreamers, foodies and friends. As a unit we bring all of our individual gifts to the table we call Oleum Extracts, and use them together to achieve our goals in the world of legal cannabis concentrates.”