Richard Ruzich, President and CEO of Iliad Epic Grow has training and experience that make him a natural problem solver. His initial formal training and work experience was in design and development of new electrical systems as an electrical engineer. After a few years working for large utility companies, he was inspired to go to law school to expand his horizons. Following law school, he worked as a trial attorney with the Department of Justice for five years. Following his practice of law in Washington, D.C, he served the country in the Navy, including experiences in Japan and Europe, as well as the United States Pentagon. He currently serves as a patent attorney in the pharmaceutical industry performing organic chemistry to get generic drugs to market in addition to his role at Iliad Epic Grow.
Rich’s venture into the cannabis community began in 2004 when his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He researched methods of compassionately controlling both physical and mental to not only help his mother, but to also help others. Defined as a drug with no current medical use and high potential for abuse by the DEA, federal restrictions have historically limited formal studies on cannabis.
Although restricted, the studies regarding cannabis use among patients has shown promising results. Driven by a desire and passion to help others, Richard began investigating both beneficial medicinal properties and the legal framework to navigate the process of making cannabis legal. As he learned more about the industry, he saw potential for positive social impact as well as the attainable goal of making the lives of others better.
In 2014, legalization of medical cannabis was beginning to take place in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Rich’s vision for his contribution to the industry was to produce a high quality and consistent product in which patients and adult users can rely on to meet their needs. He was not able to secure one of the limited licenses to grow in Illinois, but that did not stop him from the pursuit of his goal.
In 2018, 10 years after Michigan had legalized medical cannabis, the state’s industry was beginning to grow through positive changes in licensing. Rich and his team were able to meet the regulation requirements to achieve licensure to grow - Iliad Epic Grow was born. In operations, Iliad Epic Grow goes above and beyond the base level expectations set by the state due to the company’s desire to ensure consistency and reliability of their products.
As President and CEO, Rich understands his important role in the social and economic influence of the cannabis industry in the community. Rich chose Lansing as the home for the cultivation company due to the negative impact of prohibition and is honored to bring livable wage jobs to people in the community. He remains an active participant in the community – in Lansing, Michigan and internationally - with their stakeholders in mind.
Rich’s international participation includes his service on the Board of Directors for Mandara Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian cannabis-based pharmaceutical company that is working toward getting approval bring cannabis into mainstream industry.
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