By Vanessa Salvia

Tucked away outside of Eugene, Oregon, sits Obseshn, a cannabis company fueled by passion. “The idea of ‘obsession’ and why I chose the name and basically the premise behind the entire company is based on our passion for art and beauty,” says co-founder and CEO Donald Brodsky. He and co-founder/COO John Howard built the company based on a lifelong love of cannabis and the arts.

Brodsky is a musician while Howard is an artist. Both appreciate all people who cultivate their art, whatever that may be. “And cannabis, of course, is used as an inspiration by so many people to help fuel their passion,” says Brodsky. “We really explored the idea of how cannabis can be a tool for people to help reach their potential, their obsession, and their passion. Whatever that might be: the arts, the environment, sports or food. That idea is a big part of why we call ourselves Obseshn. We want to connect with the passion behind what we do, creating beauty and always striving to be the best in our craft.”

The growing facility isn’t open to the public, but Brodsky still wants it to be an inspiring place for his clients and employees to be. Everyone that works at Obseshn puts a lot of effort into custom touches and details to embody this vision. As you walk into the shop you are enveloped by the rich gray paint, a wallpapered forest scene, a hand-made wood and resin conference table, and hand-polished wood countertops, “You spend the time on the little details because being surrounded in beauty creates an environment that pushes everyone who walks through those doors to want to be their best and feel at home,” Brodsky explains. “This is a family-oriented type of passion for all of us to bring this to life.” 

Donald Brodsky

The Beginning 

Brodsky’s early relationship with cannabis changed his life. He grew up in Chicago, in a “macho” culture. “Right around the age of 14 I became vegetarian, and started smoking cannabis,” he says. “It changed my perspective of who I was in the world and what my relationship with the world is. It showed me the kind of person I wanted to be, so from that point on I knew it would be an important part of my life.” 

Brodsky says he always had a green thumb, and started growing at age 16, learning from Ed Rosenthal books [Editor’s Note: Ed is a frequent contributor to this magazine. Thank you Ed!] Most people who dedicated their lives to cannabis at a young age eventually experience the effects of the government’s aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws, but luckily Oregon created the medical marijuana program to allow the cultivation of this medicine legally. Brodsky and Howard both have a form of epilepsy which ultimately led them to obtain an Oregon medical marijuana license when the program was first launched. Cannabis and its medical benefits have played a big role in controlling their symptoms and has always contributed to their passion for growing medicine for people. 

“My evolution in cultivating the highest quality flower along with being as efficient as possible was born by working within the legal medical environment,” Brodsy says. The lessons learned and ability to scale this knowledge led Brodsky and Howard to begin consulting for other growers around the country. Their flagship company, built in Renton, Washington, is a 60,000-square-foot cultivation facility. Building all the infrastructure, writing all SOPs, training all the employees, and supplying their extensive strain bank helped to build one of the most successful cannabis companies in Washington.

The Grow

Brodsky and Howard bought the property in 2015 and now have an indoor Tier II license. Head gardener and co-owner Frank Lane manages the grow rooms while Howard designed and built the infrastructure and continued expansions. The company initially started out with a medical license and had applied for a recreational license, then the state of Oregon put a moratorium on recreational licenses. About four years later they were able to receive the license. Now after years of perfecting their packaging and branding, Obseshn is seeing fruition.

Their 22-by-50-foot grow rooms are built out of the same material that is used for walk-in freezers. “It’s completely cleanable, sanitary, and insulated without any wood for pests or mold or any way for anything to harbor,” explains Brodsky. Inside the grow room, they use an integrated pest management plan that includes bringing in beneficial bugs. There are three shipping container rooms that are utilized for pheno hunting and strain development. They have a trim room, a packaging and joint rolling room, a soil room where they mix all their soil, along with their rosin and bubble hash lab. When they move on to the next phase of planned expansion, the containers will be ready to move with them.

“These rooms can be done in any configuration that we want,” says Brodsky, “but the most important thing is that it gives us a sterile environment to make sure that we pass all the testing that is required, which is getting more and more difficult.” Now, Oregon is requiring aspergillus testing which many companies are failing, and it’s difficult for a lot of firms to keep their grow rooms clean enough to pass. “We’ve never failed a test,” says Brodsky. “The way that our rooms are grown, harvested, cleaned, sanitized, and started again really keeps us safe.”

The team reuses all their soil in an extensive outdoor community garden overflowing with blueberries, tomatoes, corn, sunflowers, and much more. What isn’t eaten is donated to a local food bank. Planned expansions include growing more flower for their live rosin production and an outdoor kitchen to help the team process all of the produce they get from their garden.

The Passion

Another aspect of the company that is extremely important to all of them is being both socially responsible and environmentally responsible. All of their packaging is 100% compostable or reusable. Obseshn’s bags, supplied to dispensaries for their flower, can be composted in home compost bins. The back of the bag says “What’s your Obseshn? These Are Ours:” and goes on to list art and music, dogs, and sustainability. Joint tubes are paper, not plastic, and multipack joint tins are reusable. “It was really important to not just add more garbage to the world,” Brodsky says. 

As of now, Obseshn has live rosin, bubble hash, joints, singles, rosin- and hash-infused joints, live resin carts, and flower. They have multi-pack tins of sativa, indica, hybrid, and a curated tin that is a mixture of sativa, indica, and hybrid all in one. They also have a tin of bubble hash–infused joints and are perfecting a live resin cartridge design for the perfect draw every time. Obseshn’s love of dogs has led them to partner with Northwest Dog Project. A portion of all their sales goes to support this cause of helping neglected, abused, and homeless dogs find their forever homes. Obseshn will also soon release a CBD dog tincture line, where all proceeds will go toward Northwest Dog Project.

“Now, we can truly go to market and feel good about it and not just be another bag of weed,” Brodsky says. “It’s not about just selling cannabis. For us, it needs to be about more than that or there’s just no reason to do it.”

Head gardener Frank Lane. He was releasing beneficial bugs on day 32 of flower. The plant in front of him is Peanut Butter Soufflé.

The Future

From the beginning, Brodsky and Howard have created an inspiring space and culture fueled by passion. The theme of Obseshn follows through in everything they do. For instance, a wall of framed photos in the entryway is a rotating display of whatever inspires the staff. It could be photos from a concert, a chef, someone painting, or a seamstress sewing clothing (Brodsky’s wife is the owner and lead designer of an organic clothing company). A section on the recently revamped website will house artists profile, from, again, whatever is inspiring at the moment. 

“Highlighting creators on the website and in these photos is a way to showcase the connections between cannabis, inspiration, and purpose,” Brodsky says. “This gallery wall gives us the opportunity to integrate that within our world and for the employees and everyone that comes through the shop, so that we have a way to show this ever-evolving art of people doing things that they love.”