It’s every dispensary’s worst nightmare (and one that many of us have actually lived through): a line extending out the door of potential new customers. What do they want? Pre rolled joints. When are they going to get them? Who knows? You ran out of pre rolled cones earlier in the day and your regular wholesaler is sold out. Maybe they’ll upgrade to a small jar of flower or an oil cartridge. Nope, they came in looking for pre rolled joints and now they’re on their way to another dispensary that can accommodate their request. It’s easy for us seasoned veterans of the cannabis industry to overlook pre rolls. They don’t always have the greatest reputation and they’re not the first choice (or even the second) of the connoisseurs. But what about those other customers… the ones walking back out your door right now? Those customers may not be connoisseurs, but they still pay with money. And their money goes to pre rolls. Whether they’re your personal choice or not, pre rolled joints still bring in a sizeable chunk of profit for the cannabis industry. And chances are, they’ll be a hot ticket item in recreational cannabis states this holiday season.
Why are Pre Rolls Popular?
Pre rolled joints aren’t seen as favorites among the cannabis connoisseurs, although high end pre rolled joints from brands like Canndescent are starting to turn that prejudice on its head. So why is there so much popularity across pre roll products and why should you be stocking up for a particularly heavy pre roll sales season? Because pre rolls are basically the samplers of the retail cannabis market. Sure, they’re discreet, which makes them attractive to those new to cannabis. But, more importantly, they’re non-committal. Curious about a new strain but not curious enough to throw down $60 for a jar of flower? Buy a pre roll. Not a regular smoker but still feel like adding that extra bit of fire to your weekend? Buy a pre roll. Looking for a thoughtful gift for that friend or acquaintance this holiday season? Buy a pre roll. And that’s no joke. With cannabis getting more socially acceptable every day, a thoughtful high quality pre rolled joint can easily take the place of a bottle of wine at a party or simply as a gift between friends at a small get together. If you’re going into the holiday season unprepared for a pre roll rush, this could be your last chance to remedy the situation.
The Popularity of Pre Roll Joints
Pre rolled joints continue to cut a heavy section of recreational sales across the states that have legalized cannabis. BDS Analytics
have done a fantastic job of tracking and compartmentalizing recreational sales, showing the popularity of pre roll products. Their collected data shows that Washington continues its love affair with pre rolled joints, leading the recreational states with 12% of their sales going to pre rolls. By comparison, Washington gave up 9% of its sales to edibles so if 12% doesn’t seem like a big piece of pie, think again. Washington has doubled two of the other major recreational sales states in terms of pre roll popularity with Colorado showing 5%, California 6% and Oregon 7% of recreational sales going to pre rolled joints. Some analysts have spoken about California’s pre roll woes but this is a bit deceptive. California actually leads the recreational states in market shares for pre rolled joints. When analysts speak of issues with California’s pre roll sales, they are actually referring to the state’s sales of infused
pre rolled joints. In recreational states, infused pre rolls always make up a smaller percentage of sales than traditional pre rolls. For example, a 2017 BDS Analytics report showed infused pre rolls claiming a total of 28% of pre roll product sales across the recreational states. Infused pre rolls captured 11% of Colorado’s pre roll market; they only snagged 1% of the same market in Oregon. By comparison, California showed 15% of its pre roll sales going specifically to infused pre rolled joints. That’s not bad but this is a state that’s had a storied love affair with cannabis, so it still falls well below the mark of expectation. For California, the perceived failure (which is, by no means, a failure) of its infused pre roll market comes down to a matter of price. It’s pretty common for an infused pre roll joint to cost twice as much as a classic pre rolled joint in the Golden State. Meanwhile, Oregon’s and Colorado’s infused pre roll statistics are vastly improving. Colorado’s infused pre roll percentage shot up to 16% while Oregon’s is now a perfectly respectable 5%. The belief is that California’s prices will eventually drop, rekindling the state’s love of the infused pre roll. But with that distinction, it’s important to recognize that California’s infused pre roll stats don’t reflect their general pre roll stats which show the Golden State still holds a strong love for the standard pre roll.
What Types of Pre Rolls Are You Offering?
We can start by breaking your potential pre roll inventory into 3 product types: pre rolled joints, infused pre rolled joints and pre rolled blunts. A pre rolled joint typically consists of a pre rolled cone made from thin rice or hemp paper that is then filled with finely ground cannabis flower. Infused pre rolled joints are largely the same but they also contain a smattering of kief, cannabis extracts, oils or other complimentary, cannabis-based additives. Pre rolled joints can also vary depending on the smoke cones being used. For example, the smoking cones you choose can impact the quality of your joint. Certain brands (ie. Raw pre rolled cones) will uphold a certain sense of quality, while generic smoking cones are a bit more of a risk. Raw pre rolled cones are made from hemp but other smoking cones use rice, gum and other ingredients. Pre rolled blunts rely on heavier cigar paper or blunt wraps which are then filled with ground cannabis flower. And how does the filling happen for businesses? Fire up your vibrating cone filling machine and read on.
What Can Customers Expect from Your Business’s Pre Rolled Joints?
Not all pre rolled joints are created equal. Most dispensaries and producers wouldn’t even begin to meet the pre roll demand if they took the time to painstakingly roll each joint by hand, so a vibrating cone filling machine is typically employed. The smoking cones are inserted into the slots in the vibrating cone filling machine and then loose flower is shaken into the empty smoke cones. This still leaves dispensary employees and producers responsible for twisting the pre rolled joints for completion, but it’s a vastly easier process than rolling one from scratch. Some producers and dispensaries that take a bit more pride in their pre roll game will put in effort to make sure the joints aren’t packed too loose or tight. These are probably the same ones who are going to put higher quality ground flower into their pre rolls. Unfortunately for the businesses that take their pre rolls seriously, pre rolled joints have picked up somewhat of a bad reputation because of a tendency for cannabusinesses to use pre rolls as dumping grounds for low quality shake, viewing it as an easy way to save a buck. Using shake is a roll of the dice. Sometimes, you can make a real mean joint from salvaging the right shake, but you’re just as likely to roll a dud with broken trichomes lending to weak potency. But there’s a competing point of view that pre rolled joints actually provide the ultimate hook for a new customer. Businesses that adopt this philosophy put some of their highest quality herb into pre rolled cones so that new customers can sample the best strains they have to offer. There are also businesses that find a halfway point, cutting their shake with higher quality ground bud to hedge their bets on a decent quality result. Then, there are the businesses that do all of the above, price their pre rolls accordingly, and leave it up to the customer’s wallet to decide their experience. This way, a customer can pull together 5 bucks from their couch cushions to get a joint of questionable quality while another customer can drop $30 on one pre rolled joint promising a premium smoking experience… both purchased from the same dispensary.
Packaging and Storage for Pre Roll Products
A thin layer of hemp or rice paper isn’t going to do much to protect finely ground herb from oxygen, drying out, excess moisture and other elemental threats. That’s why it’s integral to have plenty of pre roll tubes to preserve your product. Joint tubes, sometimes playfully referred to as doob tubes, are typically comprised of high-quality plastic, though you can find better quality pre roll glass tubes at a higher cost. You can find child resistant pre roll tubes, light resistant joint tubes, and even clear tubes that allow you to preview the joint, though these are typically kept inside some other sort of packaging, such as a box. The right pre roll tubes bring convenience to your customers, using an odor-resistant design to keep their shopping experiences discreet. If you’re also selling pre rolled blunts, you’ll want to invest in storage options that include humidity packs that allow you to control moisture. While these can also be beneficial to pre rolled joints, they’re integral for maintaining the quality expectations of pre rolled blunts. Ordering bulk pre rolled cones supplies puts you ahead of the game, dodging the potential seasonal stock outages that can cripple a business’s pre roll game. It’s a detail that gets surprisingly overlooked since pre roll sales aren’t really a hot topic among cannabis connoisseurs. But the numbers don’t lie; pre rolled joints are more popular today than ever before and consumers show no signs of pumping the brakes.