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Matt Hansen of Santa Cruz Shredder

For Matt Hansen,
the prospect of making just another herb grinder like all the rest was
unappealing. A cannabis-accessory entrepreneur in Santa Cruz, he was approached
in 2010 about developing a gr




For Matt Hansen,
the prospect of making just another herb grinder like all the rest was
unappealing. A cannabis-accessory entrepreneur in Santa Cruz, he was approached
in 2010 about developing a grinder, a helpful tool for cannabis users. But rather
than reverse-engineering from grinders already on the market, which so many
competitors appeared to be doing, Hansen wanted to make something new and
better. So he consulted NASA. Okay, not officially, but he did get hooked up
with a NASA scientist through a friend of a business partner, and he agreed to take
a crack at it. The result was one of the most critically-acclaimed and
fastest-growing lines of herb grinders on the market, the Santa Cruz Shredder,
with a completely new design of inverted square teeth cutting several ways instead
of the classic diamond shape. “He created a much better mouse trap because
nobody else in the industry had thought out of the box. Every grinder had that
same tooth design,” said Hansen. And they were only getting started.

more consistent

When the prototype
came in after four months, Hansen said, “It had this crazy square with multiple
cutting surfaces.”

Then they tried it
out with some of their favorite herbs. While other grinders might leave small
chunks, the scientist-collaborated design left a mix perfect for vaporizing but
not too fine to slip through a screen.

“We tried it out
and the results were 10 times better. It was twice as fluffy. It was way more
even and consistent,” Hansen said. Other benefits were less wear and tear on
the teeth and a smoother grind, good for medical cannabis patients with hand or
joint problems.

He rushed to patent
the new herb-grinding technology and partnered with Bay Area rap artist and
entrepreneur Berner as an investor and spokesman for the product. Within a few
years the Santa Cruz Shredder could be found in hundreds of stores around the


With a “think tank”
of vaporizing enthusiasts and others to come up with ideas and a NASA scientist
on the payroll as an independent contractor to put their ideas into reality,
other innovations came to the Santa Cruz Shredder.

They have innovated
a hybrid grinder with a 3-piece space, combining the simplicity of the 2-piece
and adding the storage capacity of a 4-piece, with a radius dish at the bottom.
They made the bottom of the grinder concave to make it easier to scoop out.
They anodized the metal inside and out to make it scratch-resistant and prevent
cross-threading when screwing parts in. Since the grinder is made in Santa
Cruz, Hansen incorporated that city’s surf and skate lifestyle into the

Today the grinder
comes in two, three or four pieces and ranges in size from the 1 5/8-inch Mini
to the 4-inch Jumbo, with a price tag of $21 to $80. They’re also working on a
grinder that will be a whopping 18 inches in diameter, with a hand crank, to
grind as much as a quarter-pound of herb at once,  which Hansen said will be ideal for collectives
rolling their own joints.

“Our motto is all
about innovation, making things different, making things function better,” said

As for the NASA
scientist, Santa Cruz Shredder keeps his identity secret, since he works for a
federal agency, though Hansen did say there are plans for an internet video
featuring him explaining the new technologies, with face blurred and voice

Hansen was asked
about another industry innovation at odds with his own, the popularity of
dabbing, in which concentrated oil or hash are vaporized instead of cannabis
flower. Many users, particularly younger ones, see it as a quicker and easier
way to partake, with devices like e-cigarettes. And no grinder is needed.

While acknowledging
the popularity of dabbing, Hansen noted that at one point many Bay Area glass
blowers had stopped making pipes for smoking and vaporizing cannabis flower to
focus on dabbing, but that many have since come back around. “There will always
be a marketplace for flower,” Hansen said. “Flower is the one thing that’s
constant. It’s never going to change. Not everyone enjoys dabbing.”

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