“Man, if you’re not trying to tell an authentic story, don’t get involved.”
Chance Franck has been a partner grower with Ian Powell since the inception of Mendocino Grasslands. He’s one of the most knowledgeable sources on the region’s fine Cannabis growing methods.
Sativa Power has enjoyed working with Mendocino Grasslands for over 2 years, providing top-quality Cannabis packaging for their new branded pre-rolls and more. We interviewed Chance to get his unique perspective on Cannabis growing, pre-rolls, and the industry at-large.
Up until recently, Mendocino Grasslands has been a premium white-label supplier to major Cannabis brands. What led your company to the decision to launch your own branded pre-roll?
Realizing that there are a lot of people out there that don’t want to roll their own joint. Going out and testing the other pre-rolls that the market has to offer and being largely unsatisfied. We wanted to make our own lineup of high quality products. There’s no reason you wouldn’t smoke a good pre-roll if you don’t want to roll your own. Note that we’ve been offering bulk flower to the market for 25 years. Our goal once we launched the brand is to have strain continuity. We try to offer that in a pre-roll; a stepping stone, if you will, to products like jars and bags. Most people who buy pre-rolls have never tried that strain, so being able to offer that is very educational.
When you made the transition from white-labeling into personal branding, what steps did you consider most crucial to keep everything organic and conscious?
It really simmers down to the fact that we have an authentic story. We do this because we love it. We grow it and we enjoy smoking it. We wanted our brand to represent us and what we love. We set the standard and that standard is high, so we want to continue to represent the legacy of cannabis cultivation in Northern California, sun-grown and premium quality. Other brands have fancy taglines, but not us… Quality cannabis is as timeless and as-to-the-point as you can get.
What challenges do you see facing emerging brands that you have advice for?
Man, if you’re not trying to tell an authentic story, don’t get involved.
What does quality mean to your brand? How does packaging play into that?
Good packaging has to display what’s in it. We have a high standard for great product, so the packaging has to be on par with that as well.
Do you think it’s important for cannabis brands to emphasize eco-friendly practices in growing, branding, and packaging?
Yes, for sure. What we do is directly tied to the earth. We’re working with it daily and we like to leave it better than we found it.
Mendocino Grasslands sells both 1g single pre-rolls and packs of five .7g pre-rolls.
The packaging for pre-rolls is primarily plastic or paper containers. Why did your company choose to pack your pre-rolls in a premium airtight tin container made by Sativa Power?
We have so much pride with the flower that we grow. It’s very important to us that we maintain and preserve the quality of the flower all the way until it reaches the hands of our consumer. There are logistics we need to consider when talking about freshness, and that’s distribution and shelf life. We came across Sativa Power that offers a sustainable product that preserves the quality of the flower.
When you walk into dispensaries nowadays, it almost feels overwhelming with the sheer variety of brands that are offering pre-rolls. Do you feel like the market is full? How do you get your brand to stand out?
I definitely think the market is saturated.
Our goal is always to provide high-grade, quality flower to our customers, no matter if it’s in a pre-roll, a jar, or a bag. Our brand is based around authenticity and simplicity, and as a result, we feel that makes us stand out amongst the other brands that are available on the shelf.
What do you think of newer developments in the pre-roll market, such as variations in count, size, or flavoring?
I think it’s brilliant. I love seeing variety being offered to consumers, whether it’s an infused or regular pre-roll, or even one of the fancy new rose-petal pre-rolls. I think they all have their place. I don’t know if I can get behind smoking a rose-petal pre-roll myself, but I think the concept is beyond clever.
You offer both 1g single pre-rolls and packs of five .7g pre-rolls. Considering the female market for pre-rolls is increasing Are you planning any more variations in size or flavor to address this market? How many various styles and sizes are you considering in prerolls for future launches?
We may consider producing “dog-walkers” in the future. With the current state of affairs, personal pre-rolls are definitely more economical for people, especially since some may not want to share or waste a pre-roll.
Do you think women play a significant role in the overall demographics of cannabis consumerism?
Well, 99% of my plants are female so I’m gonna say yes!
The demand for cannabis has grown since COVID struck. Have you seen a higher demand for pre-rolls specifically?
I think there has been a higher demand for pre-rolls. I think a lot of people had a lot of time on their hands, and tried their hand at rolling their own pre-rolls and quickly found that they were not the best at it. So, yes.
Have recent waves of state legalizations in the U.S. affected your company significantly?
First and foremost, we are grateful for the opportunity to do what we’ve always done, but now on a legal level. However, there are certainly challenges with the guidelines that the state has in place. We do our best to conform and work within those guidelines, and always circle back to the fact that they even give us the opportunity to grow and sell cannabis in the state of California.
What’s your outlook on the possibility of federal legalization of Cannabis?
We look forward to it. California is going to reach its saturation point at some point in time, so once we are able to export across borders, that’s going to allow us to offer our quality cannabis outside of California. There’s a lot of companies trying to nationalize, however, the challenges some may experience is the ability to grow outdoor, sun-grown cannabis in their climate. Fortunately, here in California we have an ideal climate that allows us to grow between the months of April-October. There are parallels to the grape industry– you get good grapes and wine from California. There are other places producing it, but the best wine you can get in the US comes from California. That comes down to things like climate and soil. It’s going to be the same thing for the cannabis industry.
“We grow with our land in mind and it gives us some of the best damn flower you’ll ever smoke.”
About the Emerald Triangle specifically- much like wine, I imagine that so many characteristics of organically grown weed, from taste to smell and beyond, are all influenced on a deep level by the natural environment surrounding it. What’s so important in your experience about the Mendocino soil and the rainwater? What are some of the challenges?
Just like any county inside or outside of California, Mendocino has its own microclimates. Here on our ranch in Yukiah, our microclimate or terroir is ideal for growing cannabis. We don’t get the humidity from the ocean as they get in further northern areas of California, and we always get a nice cool afternoon breeze, which is ideal for growing conditions. Different from other regions, or even coasts, our microclimate is a perfect little bubble of what the plants really love and allows them to thrive. The hot sunny days and the cool nights bring out the true terpene and taste profiles within the flower.
What’s the most exciting thing you’re developing at Mendocino Grasslands?
We are always excited to have new cultivars and bring these healthy new genetics back into the industry. Some are very old, rare genetics, and some are brand new. We like to offer a variety and selection of not only products, but also strains. That is what makes our company very unique as compared to some other sun-grown companies. We always try to offer anywhere from 5 to 10 strains at any given time. Our take on it is that we factor this in when we are growing, so that we can offer the consumer a pre-roll, jar, ounce, or live resins of a particular strain.
– Chance Franck