Pot Spotlight: The Arizona Cultivators Behind Sonoran Roots

Pot Spotlight: The Arizona Cultivators Behind Sonoran Roots
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As the doors for adult recreational sales look poised to swing open in the state, the Arizona-based cultivator Sonoran Roots is prepared. To keep up with all the coming demand, the company will soon open a marijuana cultivation facility in Tempe near University Drive and Loop 101 in Tempe that will complement Sonoran Roots' already thriving 33,000-square-foot facility in northwest Mesa. The Tempe location will also include an extraction lab where the company will begin producing concentrates and processed products for the first time.

Lots going on. Let's get to know this burgeoning local pot biz.

Backstory: Sonoran Roots was founded in March 2020, bringing together “a group of Arizona natives, all longtime friends and medical marijuana industry veterans,” says CEO Michael O’Brien. Their backgrounds include a boutique cultivator, dispensary owner, cultivation equipment supplier, an attorney, plus some friends and family. 

Best known for: Boutique, high-quality flower sold throughout the Valley. Sonoran Roots' yield is typically around 1,500 pounds of finished product per month, and O’Brien believes Sonoran Roots' production rate is one of its greatest strengths. “We pride ourselves on maintaining the quality and consistency of our product, regardless of the size of our grow," he says. "Our company business model was developed around that standard.”

Also known for: Sonoran Roots is the primary cultivation partner for 22Red, a cannabis lifestyle brand based in LA that prides itself on hand-selecting some of the highest-quality marijuana products on the market. 22Red sought out the relationship with Sonoran Roots, impressed by its state-of-the-art facility, operations, and premium flower.

Staffing: O’Brien credits much of Sonoran Roots’ success to its head of cultivation, Joel Lundeen, and the well-rounded team that backs him. The cultivation team is lean — just over a dozen employees — with about 50 people on staff total.

2021 forecast: In addition to adult recreational use sales and increased marijuana job opportunities, O’Brien says he anticipates many more brands (local and multi-state operators) will come online in the months ahead. He expects demand for product to skyrocket in Arizona, possibly resulting in shortages and increased prices at dispensaries.

Popular strains: We asked O'Brien to talk up three of his favorite Sonoran Roots strains.

MAC Cap Cut: Short for “Miracle Alien Cookies,” MAC Caps Cut was first bred by Oregon-based Capulator and is a combination of Alien Cookies and Colombian x Starfighter. It's known for its balanced bodily and cerebral effects. It is a 50/50 hybrid.

Joel’s Lemonade: Cut, bred, and grown by Sonoran Roots head cultivator Joel himself, Joel’s Lemonade is a phenotype cross of three different lemon strains and is a 60/40 sativa-dominant hybrid known for its uplifting effects and lemony flavor.

Grateful Breath: A cross between OG Kush Breath and Joseph OG, Grateful Breath is an indica-dominant hybrid with heavy, couch-locking effects.

Where to find Sonoran Roots: Its products are available at Ponderosa ReLeaf (Glendale), Sticky Saguaro (Chandler), Emerald Phoenix, Harvest (Valleywide), Health for Life (Valleywide), Territory (all 3 East Valley locations), and anywhere 22Red is sold in Arizona (40-50 locations statewide).
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