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Lance Lambert: Cannabis Isn't Using Automation to Full Potential

As the plant inevitably becomes more commoditized, companies will need to become more efficient.

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This week, Lance Lambert, CMO of Grove Bags joins the podcast to discuss his transition from digital media and marketing to cannabis industry advocate and executive.

Lance Lambert grew up in Northern California, at the gateway to the Emerald Triangle. He's always had a green thumb and has had a relationship with cannabis for many years. Lambert grows at home and has become an advocate for medicinal use as a longtime industry supporter. 

Lambert had been working on the ancillary side of the business professionally when he made the move into the equipment space. He realized that, in order for the industry to scale, it needed some level of automation. Still, cannabis remains one of the only sectors in the world that isn't fully utilizing automation. In agriculture, it's in every other crop, but adoption has lagged in the cannabis and hemp markets. 

Lambert attributes an overarching resistance to change to the reticence. He personally knows third generation growers who still prefer to do everything by hand. But, as the plant becomes more commoditized, an inevitability in Lambert's eyes, companies will need to become more efficient and human capital is the biggest expense. For example, he says sorting and bucking are rudimentary and monotonous tasks that should be automated. They also pose a potential safety concern regarding repetitive injury. 

Cannabis operators are slowly getting comfortable with flower in a sorting machine, on a conveyer and in a trimmer, but the next level will be bringing in more artificial intelligence, automation and efficiency.

Lambert last month joined Grove Bags, which has focused on leveling up the technology around bags for curing and storage of biomass to promote long-term consistency from post-cultivation to consumption. Time allotted to any grow process typically includes about one or two weeks for curing, which is time consuming and can be labor intensive. Lambert said Grove Bags allow for a less hands-on curing process without the need for burping or humidity packs. Grove Bags will adjust the atmospheric environment inside the bag so processors don't need to manually let off chloroform or off gases that could accumulate.

Lambert said the bags also help with shelf stability by preserving trichomes. He pointed out how some economic instability in the cannabis industry at the moment has some companies wanting to hold onto flower longer to hopefully get a better wholesale for their products. Grove Bags can help with that by extending shelf life.

Looking ahead, Lambert expects that Grove Bags can grow exponentially based on what the company has to offer and how it supports the community.

"This isn't repurposed technology. This isn't something that we're bringing from another category. This is something that was designed specifically for this plant," he said.

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