Foreword by Michael Cassini
Founded in 2016 and headquartered near Chicago, Illinois, Aeriz remains the largest aeroponic cannabis operation in existence. By 2018, vertical operations expanded into an Arizona facility that, by our observations, is clinically clean and committed to long-term sustainability. Aeriz reduces their carbon footprint by using sustainably sourced paper packaging. In 2021, the Aeriz board of directors committed to further environmental action by partnering with Pachama, a purpose-driven company modernizing forest carbon credits through forest projects that remove CO2. In this article, we introduce the Arizona extraction team who, like wizards of alchemy, have the creative task of processing cannabis flowers into liquid gold. Aeriz prioritized acquiring a talented cannabis extractor along with the top of the line extraction equipment for their Arizona facility. Among the expensive machines, the most valuable tool in the room is the experience of the operator, Lawrence Lawson. We sent our writer Arturo Delgado, a longtime Aeriz fan himself, to cover the exclusive interview about Aeriz extractions with Lawrence Lawson of Aeriz.
Written by Arturo Delgado
As some of you may know, I'm from the Chicagoland area. Ironically, one of our favorite companies, Aeriz, was started in my home state- but that is not where I first got to try their wonderful products. 2016 was a busy year. I had just moved here to Phoenix and the only Aeroponic cannabis brand in the U.S. was born and made a quick move by expanding here to Phoenix, Arizona. Aeriz began pumping out some really great flowers in the Southwest but I got really big on dabbing around that time. If you know about the cannabis extract scene then you know high-quality, high-terpene extracts, especially diamonds, sauces and sugars were a rarity in Arizona dispensaries at that time.
Aeriz must have noticed this and found the perfect candidate, Lawrence Lawson, to build a top notch cannabis extractions lab. Lawrence was already producing quality live resins for a licensed dispensary that I had already been shopping with and loyally buying his products. The funny thing is that what attracted me to that dispensary to begin with was their high-end extracts. They were one of the few around that time producing quality live resins and diamonds and sauce, so I guess it's safe to say that I have always been a fan of the work Lawrence has done.
The Aeriz extract division started about four years ago as basically a one man show. Walking into the current facility for the first time, Lawrence saw a butane extractor with some pieces sitting out that were not yet attached and five pricey vacuum ovens sitting out on the floor. They had a BR Instruments distillation machine on order but it had not arrived yet. The distillation system not only makes distillates but is used to do a final cleaning on their CO2 oil to make sure it is completely free of solvents. After weeks of building tables, equipment and cleaning the lab, Lawrence had Aeriz ready for production.
What always made me a fan of their extracts line is the attention to quality. You will hardly ever see shatter on the shelves, as they mostly produce live resins and now live rosins. Live resins are made by taking fresh frozen cannabis and running it in a closed loop system to extract the oils and terpenes from the plant material, where it is then purged of solvents leaving a high quality extract- most often times as sugar wax, although I have seen quite a few strains in Diamonds and Sauce as well. Live rosin is made by taking fresh frozen cannabis just like live resin, except it is agitated in ice water to knock off trichomes, which are then collected and freeze dried where it now becomes hash. Once you have the hash you press it using different micron bags and a rosin press which creates nice solventless extracts.
Another thing to note is that Aeriz is a single source facility. This means everything they produce in extract comes from their aeroponic facility. A lot of extract companies, even if they do grow their own, still source cannabis from other grows to run in their systems. For example, Aeriz could probably purchase fresh frozen cannabis material from a number of companies and produce a ton of strains, but they don't. They choose to use materials grown by them, which to me also ensures the freshest and best quality especially with our AZ heat. When a grower has to transfer fresh-frozen material to a different facility miles away there is always risk of temperature changes in the flower. Every product Aeriz makes comes from the same facility and transferring flower from the harvest rooms to the freezer or lab is done very quickly.
You might be asking yourself: how can one man produce so many award winning products? The answer is it's no longer a one man show- it's a handpicked team. Lawrence has been fortunate enough to build a great team whose members truly love the plant and care about their craft. Aeriz’s extract lab is now a team of four that produces quality concentrate products and supplies dispensaries throughout the entire state of Arizona. It's pretty amazing to me that just four people are producing so many different quality products, so I definitely had to get some background information on the crew to share with you all.
After going through some helpers at the beginning, Jonathan began working in the lab and has now been a member of the team for about three and a half years. He joined Aeriz with about 2 years prior industry experience. Jonathan was actually one of Lawrence's team members from the previous facility who decided to make the transition to Aeriz not long after Lawrence did. Jonathan's job is basically managing the lab's daily operations. If Lawrence needs to be elsewhere or isn't in the lab at that moment, John can take care of just about any issue and has knowledge of all the machines and processes, so he can help out whenever necessary. Jonathan is more of a dabber himself, and after asking his favorite strain, he immediately said the 8’’ Bagel (a new GMO cross) was phenomenal. I did get the opportunity to try the Live Resin and the new Live Rosins they are now producing. Both are highly recommended and are reviewed in depth on cannabiscactus.com.
The third member of the team, Katy, was at a station operating a machine capping the new 'Dablicators' filled with Full Spectrum Hash Oil or FHSO, which is one of their newer products, containing activated CO2 extracted oil inside an easy dosing applicator. After being in the cannabis industry for about six years, Katy started at Aeriz about three and a half years ago. She worked in the trimming and harvesting department, then inventory, and then delivered to dispensaries, before making her way into the lab last year. When she is not working in the lab, Katy also works part-time at Marigold Dispensary. Katy said she really enjoys working with the company, so she tries to help out as much as she can and sees every experience as an opportunity to learn. Katy does not discriminate against different types of consumption; she loves both flower and concentrates equally. And finally, to her credit, Katy is the one hand washing all the live cannabis material to make the hash that's pressed into beautiful rosin. Make sure you visit Katy at Marigold, where you can shop the best selection of Aeriz rosins. Her favorite strain currently is GMO.
The fourth and newest member of the team is Tyler. Tyler has been in the industry for about two years, and actually got his start at Aeriz. Tyler started as a hand trimmer, then worked his way up to packager and plant inventory before finding his home in the lab. He started by helping out with the live resin process, but now works in the CO2 lab where all the CO2 (FSHO) Full Spectrum Hash Oil is made, as well as where the strain-specific terpenes are extracted. Coming from the flower part of the facility, Tyler has always found himself more of a flower guy but working in the lab and getting a whiff of all those terps, especially the new GMO live hash rosin, has him transitioning into more of a dabber. When asked his favorite strain, he said Rainbowz and 8 “ Bagel, which are both new strains from Aeriz.
Before heading out, I had to ask Lawrence if he had a particular favorite, and, although he had some difficulty, he seemed to settle on one of their older strains- Gorilla Dosha, which they barely see in the extraction lab because the flower is so pretty as-is. He also recommended the 8” Bagel, which I must say is phenomenal. Aeriz has continued raising their standards with new improvements, some of which are already on the market, like new packaging for flower and extract. Retail flower will be sold in glass jars and extracts will be sold in solid white jars, with embossed tops, to make sure no light penetrates the glass. This is done to prevent light from altering the rosin in any way, and to keep flowers as fresh as possible. With thirty active strains and eight more coming soon, we can expect more classy products from Aeriz. With any luck, every new strain offered in flower will hopefully be available in concentrated form.
I would personally like to thank Lawrence and his team for giving me the opportunity to discuss Aeriz hash products and to learn more about the people behind a brand that I truly love. I can say with confidence that Aeriz is one company who has never disappointed me when it comes to their cannabis extract production. They, hands down, make some of the best cannabis live resin concentrates I have ever had and the new hash rosin strains are also phenomenal. I would also like to thank Lawrence for the parting gifts. He gave me a gram of GMO rosin and a Gorilla Cookies FSHO Dablicator. GMO is easily among the best solventless extracts in the state of Arizona, and I will confidently bet money on that. The versatility and ease of use of the FSHO dispenser was super convenient. You can read our FSHO Dablicator review at CannabisCactus.com if you're thinking of buying an extract product that is easier to dose and ingest.
If you are looking for either of these products, they are available at Marigold Dispensary, the home of Aeriz. My aunt, who passed away last September, loved Aeriz Lava Cake and Ice Cream Cake. Living in Illinois, she unfortunately was unable to try the concentrates from the Arizona team but Aeriz will always hold a special place in my heart because she loved their flower. It’s especially fitting that I am asked to write this article exactly a year after her passing.
Check out the Ice Cream Cake review in this month's 'Cactus Approved' review section. Thank you to Lawrence and Aeriz, and special thank you for reading my work. Stay High everyone!
Arturo’s Top 4 products from Aeriz are:
GMO flower, Live Resin, Live Rosin: $45 an 8th or gram of Live Resin $60g Live Rosin
8” Bagel Flower : $45 an 8th
Jenny Kush Live Resin : $45 a gram
Jack Herer Live Resin : $45 a gram
2601 W Dunlap Ave Suite 21, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Hours of operation: 7 days 8am-10pm