“A full circle moment for me was when I was in Thailand with Cannabis journalist and culture steward, Jimi Devine. We went to a friend's dispensary, and boom, what did they store the flower in behind the counter?
In the ever-challenging landscape of startups, conquering any industry requires exceptional determination and perseverance. However, navigating the intricate realm of cannabis, particularly in the packaging sector, presents an even greater obstacle. Many companies have fallen short, failing to deliver on their promises and leaving behind a cloud of skepticism within the market. Therefore, when a startup manages to achieve exponential growth year after year, surpassing industry norms and making a name for itself across 50 countries in a mere seven years, it becomes an extraordinary accomplishment—a true marvel.
Recently, MyCannabis had the extraordinary opportunity to engage in an exclusive conversation with the CEO of this remarkable cannabis packaging enterprise—none other than the legendary Jack Grover.
Jack Grover is the founder and CEO of Grove Bags, a provider of cannabis packaging specifically tailored for the unique physiology of the plant to create the perfect climate for cannabis preservation. Jack has been a featured speaker at countless cannabis conferences all over the world where audiences gather to hear his insights on material science and plant biology.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Grove Bags and how your background in material science and plant biology influenced your approach to cannabis packaging?
I got interested in cannabis after seeing the relief my brother, who has pretty severe cerebral palsy, got from the plant when visiting California. Growing up in Ohio, I was pretty anti cannabis until that point. I don’t have a good reason for my ignorance at the time, I suppose I was just a product of the environment in the MidWest. But fast forward a few years and I had been growing, running a two lighter and then a four lighter for a time. I noticed that burping and curing was a really tricky and finicky part of the cultivation process, I had lost more than my share of flower to old methods of burping jars etc. That’s when I had the idea that the industry needs special solutions, not stuff reused from tobacco or pharma that really didn't have any benefit to the plant of the patients who use it for relief.
Finally, a little over 7 years ago, I was at a friend's dispensary in Colorado. I purchased some flower, some hazelnut cream to be exact, which Verde Natural does a phenomenal job with, but the pop top film tube it was in allowed the product to totally dry out overnight in the harsh Colorado winter.
I realized at this point that maybe a lot of other people were frustrated with how cannabis was being handled across the supply chain and maybe there was an opportunity to add real value with a product that could cure and preserve flower. About a year and half later and dozens of failed iterations, we finally had a product we felt the market would like. I had been around the packaging industry all of my life, so understanding the nature of different materials and how they affect the respiratory cycles of dried but curing plants, we were able to make something cool.
Grove Bags has experienced significant growth since its inception. What strategies or factors do you attribute to the company's consistent 5x multiples of growth year after year?
Well first off, the cannabis industry has experienced significant growth. We really had no idea what we were doing in terms of the business, we were just passionate about cannabis and were fortunate enough to make a product the market loved. We have some really incredible people on the team that have absolutely changed the nature of the business, but I think what delivered so much growth for so long was the simple fact that the product worked, which is unfortunately rare in cannabis with a lot of firms, particularly in the packaging arena making a lot of false claims. I have to admit it's also a hell of a lot easier to grow exponentially when you are starting from zero.
With tens of millions of pounds of product packaged and a presence in over 60 countries, Grove Bags has become a well-known name in the industry. How did you establish a strong global presence, and what challenges did you face while expanding into different markets?
Cannabis is a community. It traverses languages, borders, religions and politics. We focused on having a good product and taking care of the customer, and had a lot of faith that word of mouth would establish the brand. We were largely right about that. Now fast forward to the present, and we have some incredibly knowledgeable sales people that traverse the cannabis world teaching about curing and proper storage, that's really ushered in a new level of growth.
A full circle moment for me was when I was in Thailand with Cannabis journalist and culture steward, Jimi Devine. We went to a friend's dispensary, and boom, what did they store the flower in behind the counter?
TerpLoc technology has garnered industry-wide praise for its unique approach to cannabis preservation. Could you explain the key features and benefits of this proprietary technology and how it differentiates Grove Bags from other packaging solutions in the market?
Terploc is a modified atmospheric film, which creates an active climate trying to maintain the best gas mixture for cannabis. That gas mixture is about 98% hydrogen and nitrogen and 2% oxygen. This prevents oxidation of terpenes, but allows for a steady respiration and gas exchange in and outside of the bag using the moisture vapor coming off the plant. That moisture vapor creates pressure inside the sealed bag that powers the solution. This is the cleanest, most natural and effective way to cure and store cannabis as numerous studies have shown.
The anti-static, antimicrobial nature of the film combined with that steady controlled gas exchange preserves the full weight of cannabis, inhibits microbial growth and spore replication, but most importantly maintains 37% more terps and 7% more cannabinoids vs. other packaging methods. The best way to think of it is like the bags that the prewashed pre chopped salads come in at your grocer. Those veggies would wilt on your counter in a few hours, but in those bags they stay fresh and crispy and colorful and nutritious. That's the basic idea of what Terploc does for cannabis.
As a featured speaker at numerous cannabis conferences, you have shared insights on material science and plant biology. How do you stay updated with the latest advancements in these fields, and how do you incorporate that knowledge into the development of new products or technologies at Grove Bags?
This is probably one of the more fun aspects of my job and it's been the privilege of a lifetime to talk to so many passionate cannabis growers about the curing and storage process for plant viability. I try to read every white paper that comes out relating to terpene or cannabinoid degradation and I get a lot of value out of networking with other passionate speakers at the shows.
I think a guiding principle for us has always been “can we make this better”, “can this product be better” and that has always led us to going under the hood on our products to try and improve them. That and our R&D team reads and networks voraciously in search of the next cool thing. We’re at such an exciting time in packaging, on the precipice of the change away from hydrocarbon based materials to more sustainable ones, new advanced materials, and new manufacturing methods that we stay pretty excited about the question of what's next.
In a rapidly evolving cannabis industry, what are some of the major trends or changes you anticipate in the packaging sector, and how is Grove Bags preparing to adapt to these shifts?
Prepackaged CPG style products will continue to take over the market. Cannabis is rapidly shifting to a CPG agribusiness and as a result, the buying, branding, and business perspectives are rapidly changing. I think one of the most exciting things about the industry is that 95% of the top 100 brands in five years will look drastically different than today.
What’s next for Grove Bags?
We’re going to continue to standardize curing and storage protocols for the industry. I don’t care if you're a home grower in Australia, a commercial grow in NorCal or a new grow in Portugal, you’re growing medicine and we want to help make sure it arrives to your patient as you intended.
It was a great pleasure to have this conversation with Jack Grover, Founder and CEO of Grove Bags. Readers who wish to keep up with what the company is doing are invited to do so through the company's website.