It’s no surprise that a lot of planning goes into developing a new line of pre-rolls. What might surprise you is just how many options you’ll have when it comes to bringing your project to life. You truly have the opportunity to create something unique, so don’t rush the process—try to enjoy it.
Every pre-roll project is different, so it’s important to have a plan that will take into account all the specifics of your project and keep you going in the right direction. This list of the ten things you should consider before making your first pre-roll is designed to help you accomplish your goals.
1. What type of pre-rolled cones?
The first decision has to do with the size and shape of the pre-rolls. If you are making hand-rolled products, you will have creative control over the size and shape. The only limitations will be your imagination and rolling abilities; however, if you plan to use pre-roll filling machinery to boost efficiency, you need to pick a pre-rolled product that’s the right size and shape for your project.
When it comes to shape, cones dominate the market, with 1-gram, 0.75-gram, 0.5-gram, and 0.35-gram cones being the most popular among producers. One of the biggest benefits of using these pre-rolled cones is most cone-filling machines can fill them with minimal adjustments. Pre-rolled tubes are the second-most-popular shape, but they are a distant second and do not work as easily with pre-roll filling machines.
2. What type of rolling paper and filter tips?
Now that you’ve decided which type of pre-roll to make, you can consider how to construct the body. If you want a more traditional type of rolling paper, refined white, unrefined brown, or organic hemp paper are options. If you want something more unique, try a blunt-style hemp wrap or other natural leaf paper. Refined white papers are great for clean burns that highlight the flower. Less-refined papers and papers made from natural leaves will have a noticeable impact on the flavor, as they have more natural fibers than a refined product.
As for filter tips, the most basic and commonly used option is folded paper; however, don’t let the upgrade options for this feature go unnoticed. If you are looking for something subtle that will elevate the smoking experience, consider spiral paper tips. For something more luxurious, consider a ceramic, wood, or glass filter tip. Cigarette-style options designed specifically for cannabis consumption are available, too. Filter tips are an easy way to bring distinction to your brand, and you can get them pre-attached to papers or on their own.
3. Branding pre-rolled cones
Okay, so you have the size, shape, and materials picked out for your pre-rolls. The next thing to consider is whether you want custom branding. The pre-roll market is extremely competitive, with a nearly limitless number of options for consumers. Custom branding is one effective way to stand out on a crowded shelf.
Maybe you want to have the color of your filter tips and paper match your brand’s color palette, or maybe you want your logo featured on the filter tip so consumers are reminded of your brand every time they take a pull. You’ll have to wait a little longer to get custom materials, but waiting can be worthwhile. If you’re trying to launch quickly, go with a stock option first and roll out custom cones later.
4. How many pre-rolls are you making?
There are companies that make handcrafted pre-rolled products. These options carry a premium designation and price tag, and wholesale numbers may be limited. The vast majority of pre-rolls are produced with the help of machinery.
Having a number in mind for your production will help you decide which pre-roll filling machine is right for your project and how many staff members you’ll need to keep things running smoothly. Also take into consideration how you plan to grow the brand, as you’ll want to invest in a machine that can grow with you.
5. What kind of flower?
Picking the strains for your pre-rolls is important, but deciding how to process the flower, regardless of strain, is more important. The more consistent a grind you can get with the flower, the more consistent pre-rolls you’ll produce. Ensuring unwanted particulates don’t find their way into your pre-rolls is crucial, and sifting the material after running it through a commercial grinder will help.
Make sure the machinery you choose can handle the type of flower you intend to use. An automated pre-roll filling machine won’t work well with big, sticky buds. Automated machines need smaller and drier plant material to work properly. Large buds that are sticky quickly gunk up an automated machine and make consistent cone-packing difficult. It’s a recipe for long downtimes required for cleaning and adjustments.
6. What kind of pre-roll packaging?
Packaging is the next step in the process. First, consult your local cannabis laws, as they will have specific rules for packaging. Do your pre-rolls need to be child-resistant? Do they need to be tamper-evident? Are pre-rolls allowed to be visible inside the package? These are just a few of the things you’ll have to plan around. Thankfully, for every law, there is a packing solution.
After you’ve decided on your packaging, you’ll have customization options. Do you want the color of your packaging to match your brand? Maybe you want your logo embossed on the outside of your multipack. Do you want to create a custom display for your pre-rolls? Like filter tips and papers, custom orders will take longer to get to you, but the distinction they bring to your brand usually makes them worth the wait.
7. What pre-rolls are popular in your market?
Before you start producing pre-rolls, it’s a good idea to look at the sales data and see what products are moving in your area. After all, you are only going to be successful if people enjoy your products enough to purchase them. So, while it is good to have a distinct product that will separate you from the masses, you want to make sure it’ll be popular with prospective customers.
Do people in your area prefer a full-gram joint, or do they typically go for something smaller? Are they looking to invest in a multipack, or are singles still the preferred option? Maybe infused joints are gaining popularity and you want to jump on the trend. Be aware of what consumers are buying.
8. Are your pre-rolls compliant?
You don’t want to go through all the work of creating pre-rolls and then discover they don’t comply with local laws. No matter how great it might be, any product is worthless if you can’t sell it. Be sure to consult your local laws before finalizing your pre-roll project.
You’ll need to make sure your flower and concentrates are not contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or mold. In other words, before you construct your pre-rolls, make sure the cannabis is clean. You don’t want to compound the issue by wasting pre-roll materials and time filling pre-rolls you’ll have to destroy.
9. Does pre-roll automation make sense?
You might be tempted to get the biggest and fanciest pre-roll filling machine you can, but that might not be the best option for your production plan. Often, running multiple smaller machines makes more sense, as that will allow different types of pre-rolls to be produced at the same time. In addition, production won’t need to stop if one machine goes down for maintenance or cleaning.
Automated filling machines can pump out tens of thousands of finished pre-rolls a day, but they also have their limitations. The upfront cost is considerable, and you will be limited in certain aspects of your production. From a financial standpoint, automated machinery may make sense if you produce more than 50,000 pre-rolls a month.
10. How to grow your pre-roll brand
Because cannabis is highly regulated, advertising your products will not be easy. Other than a cannabis shop, there are few places for potential customers to interact with your brand. One of the best things you can do is have a good presence in cannabis retail establishments. This includes being noticeable on the shelf with the right branding and visibility, but it’s also important to make sure the retail staff is knowledgeable about your brand.
At the end of the day, it’s the retail staff who is speaking to people about their cannabis purchases. It makes sense that, if a budtender likes a product, it will probably move well at the shop. So, to grow your brand, make sure the staff selling your pre-rolls can speak well about your brand.
Adam Pallay is the Senior Marketing Content Manager at Custom Cones USA. With almost a decade of experience in the cannabis space, his work focuses on trends that inform the cannabis space and define quality in cannabis products. With a wealth of knowledge that extends into every sector of the industry, Custom Cones USA is a one-stop-shop resource for all things pre-rolls.