We-Mend LLC (“Strive Life – Grand Forks”), was selected to move forward with the registration process for a medical marijuana dispensary registration certificate in Grand Forks, North Dakota on November 15, 2018. The Grand Forks dispensary, is now open to the patients of North Dakota. Learn more about our leadership team below.

Strive Life Grand Forks Leadership Team

Jonathan O’Keefe

Jonathan O’Keefe, a native North Dakotan, is currently Chief Operating Officer of OK Enterprises, Running A Business Entity, which operates three McDonald’s restaurants in two (2) states.  The O’Keefe family has been operating restaurants in the local community for over 40 years, and currently, OK Enterprises employs 160 local residents and generates nearly $10 million in annual revenue.

Prior to his role as COO, O’Keefe served as General Manager of the two Grand Forks restaurants and completed training in Advanced Shift Management, which is focused on effective people management, food safety, and cash flow, and Effective Management Practices, including harassment prevention training, fiscal accountability, and profit/loss analysis.  He also completed training in Food Safety with Serve Safe certification at McDonald’s renowned Hamburger University, recognized by the American Council of Education for course credit in Business Administration.

Mr. O’Keefe has been awarded for distinction in Restaurant Operations Leadership, Effective Management Practices, and was a nominee for a leadership award in Advanced Shift Management.  He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Passionate about the community, he has served on the Ronald McDonald House, Red River Valley Co-Op Board, and supports the Special Olympic to Cystic Fibrosis and Make-A-Wish Foundations.  Mr. O’Keefe’s hope is to continue to impact the community in a positive way through his leadership and passion in a Medical Marijuana Dispensary.

David M. Hale

David M. Hale holds his commercial real estate license and business with Property Resources Group based in Fargo, North Dakota. As an independent business owner, Hale is solely responsible for managing the businesses revenue and expenses as well as increasing his capacity with strategic marketing.  As part of his ongoing licensure in this highly regulated industry, Hale maintains annual continuing education, including Code of Ethics and personal safety courses.

Prior to this, in 2012, Hale joined Arthrex, a global medical device company and leader in new product development and medical education in orthopedics. While employed at Arthrex as a medical device sales representative, Hale received extensive training related to medicine. David also completed Arthrex Code of Conduct Training, which included Legal and Policy Controls, Compliance, Health, Safety, and Environment, Federal Anti-Kickback Statutes, U.S. Civil False Claims Act, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), Antitrust Laws, Anti-corruption Laws, Trade Regulations as well as Data Protection and Privacy (HIPAA and HITECH).

David’s passion throughout the years has been hockey, his professional hockey career spanned from 2003–2011.  He played for the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators.  Hale is noteworthy for playing in 327 NHL games.  Hale’s tenure with the NHL left him with valuable skills, including physical and mental fortitude, teamwork, and a deep understanding of how a person can morph their passion into a tangible financial business.

David and his wife, along with their two (2) daughters, support a variety of national and local philanthropic causes, including the American Cancer Society Race for the Cure – in honor of his mother- Team Jennifer for Breast Cancer, Grand Forks Youth Girls Hockey Board, and Hale serves as Volunteer assistant coach for the University of North Dakota and East Grand Forks High School. They have worked with Red River Ronald McDonald House Charities, donating signed NHL items to sell at auctions, fundraising to build the new RMH, and helped to secure gifts of landscaping and cash. Ever cognizant of the beautiful environment of Grand Forks, they have provided financial contributions to Grand Forks Park Board, to help care for environment and to support community youth sports, especially outdoor activities, including skating rinks and pools/splash parks.

Sara Gullickson

Sara Gullickson is the Founder and CEO of Dispensary Permits, a nationally recognized cannabis consulting firm established in 2010.  Gullickson has operational and dispensary opening experience from the East to the West Coast and has helped multiple startups achieve funding for ventures in the marijuana space. A key player since the industry’s inception, Gullickson is now one of the nation’s leading marijuana consultants. She was named one of Herb Magazine’s Top Ten Cannabis Entrepreneurs, Phoenix Business Journal’s Top Forty Under 40, and was honored as one of Arizona’s Business Trendsetters. In 2018, Gullickson was approved for a provisional medical cannabis cultivation and processing license for Strive Wellness of Nevada, LLC. As part owner of the 20,000 square-foot facility, she will serve as COO of the company.  Strive Wellness implements medical marijuana best practices across the United States to bring quality, tested, and precisely dosed products to patients and caregivers. Gullickson oversees the facility’s marketing, branding, overall compliance, distribution and quality control for production and cultivation.

Additionally, Gullickson has expanded her industry expertise by joining Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTC:INLB) (“Item 9 Labs”), as CEO. Gullickson oversees Item 9 Labs’ Licensing Application and Acquisition Strategy along with implementation of best practices for operations in across the U.S. Item 9 Labs is headquartered in Southern Arizona where it owns and operates 50 acres, one of the largest properties in the U.S. zoned to grow and cultivate medical marijuana. Item 9 Labs has a proven track record of providing patients with high-quality medical marijuana and medical marijuana products focused on organic, cost-effective solutions for whole body health. Gullickson also volunteers her time to help new states and countries shape their government processes and policies regarding the regulation of medical marijuana. She has personally helped multiple states with their programming and has advocated for medical marijuana policy at Lobby Days in Washington, D.C, and at the Phoenix Capitol. Gullickson has also worked with clients in South America, Europe, and Australia as they develop their hemp and marijuana programs.

Gullickson’s professional accolades and career successes have made her a sought-after industry spokesperson. Gullickson presented at the 2017 Real Estate Wealth Expo in Los Angeles and the 2018 Real Estate Wealth Expo in Toronto. Designed for mainstream investors, Gullickson spoke alongside self-made millionaires Tony Robbins, Magic Johnson, and Suze Orman. She discussed how to invest in the marijuana business space, providing in-depth analysis on low and high-risk opportunities, as well as hands-on operations expertise. Gullickson has also spoken at numerous national cannabis conferences, including MJBizCon, MJBizCon International, the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo, MJAC Investorshub International Conference, and others.

Lauren A. Rudick, ESQ

Lauren Rudick is a Partner in the boutique business law firm, Hiller, PC, in Manhattan, New York.  A “recovering litigator,” Rudick practiced commercial litigation for ten (10) years, during which time she successfully represented clients in a wide variety of business, intellectual property, and Internet/media disputes, while contributing to the Firm’s land use and zoning practice.  With a trained and sensitive eye for keeping clients out of litigation and a penchant for deal-making, Rudick has refocused her career on start-up law, regulatory compliance, and commercial and secured transactions. Rudick has also developed a niche in running due diligence, salvaging deals that have turned south, mitigating against legal exposure, and identifying and remedying abuse or misuse of corporate power and form.  In 2015, Rudick was named a Rising Star among Top New York Metro Attorneys, as featured by Superlawyers®.

Rudick is also the co-founder of Hiller, PC’s marijuana law practice, having come to the marijuana industry through her mother’s end of life care.  What started as a passion project in patient rights during a brief residency in California, Lauren has become one of the Nation’s preeminent attorneys providing legal services to marijuana industry players.  With her diverse background in corporate law, litigation, and land-use and zoning, she provides clients with the most up-to-date information necessary to operate and invest in successful marijuana and ancillary businesses. 

Rudick is an Expert Contributor to Marijuana Venture Magazine, a frequent speaker at national and local events, including, among others, MJ Biz Con, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, the Women Grow Leadership Summit, BevNet, and the National Cannabis Industry Association, and provides pro bono legal and advocacy services to the Drug Policy Alliance, Compassionate Care New York, and the Cannabis Cultural Association.  She has been quoted in numerous marijuana and non-marijuana publications including, among others, Crain’s New York Business, Inc., Rolling Stone, Forbes, HERB, Daily Marijuana Observer, Cannabis Business Times, Marijuana Business Daily, Leafly and more.  Rudick currently serves on the Executive Committee (Treasurer) and Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Bar Association, as well as its Continuing Legal Education Committee.

Christopher Bucklin

North Dakota native, Christopher Bucklin, has a deep educational and practical knowledge of science and chemistry. Currently an Emergency Department Technician, Bucklin is dedicated to helping patients receive the care they need.  Bucklin works with patients who suffer with a variety of medical ailments and debilitating conditions, and has personally witnessed the devastation lack of access to medicine can cause. 

Christopher holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry degree from the University of North Dakota.

© 2019 Strive Grand Forks