Getting Started With Cannabis Pre-Rolls

Joints and pre-rolls are the most time-honored icons when it comes to consuming cannabis products. They are compact, portable, and easy to use. However, assembling hundreds of pre-rolled cones per day takes a lot of time and labor.

If you are a cannabis processing business that wants to increase revenue by selling pre-rolls, we have good news. Manually rolling and assembling blunts with your favorite strains is a thing of the past. And the process of assembling pre-rolled joints has became faster, more efficient, and very cost effective.

Pre-Roll Supply and Demand

To get started with pre-rolls, you first need to gauge and understand your supply needs. Consider the current demand in your area, and future-proofing your ability to meet demand as your business scales to meet the growing needs of dispensaries.

Preparing ahead of time by considering how many pre-rolls you plan on selling will prevent the loss of customers eager to restock as they continue to move your product.

What Percentage of Your Business Are Pre-Rolled Cones?

The first thing you will want to consider as you add pre-rolls to your product line is what percentage of your business will be assembled joints. There are four methods to determine how big a roll joints will play in your cannabis processing business:

  1. Use market data, preferably from the state in which you operate.
  2. If you have an established customer base, conduct a survey.
  3. Consult your flower supplier for industry usage insights.
  4. Assume pre-roll sales will be 8 – 20% of your sales.

It’s hard to know for sure, and the quality blend of flower and trim will have a huge impact on repeat business. And joints filled with a higher-quality flower or shake with minimal trim will result in higher sales and free word-of-mouth advertising for your brand.

Sourcing Flower for Pre-Rolled Cones

Next, if you’re selling cannabis pre-rolled cones, you’re sourcing flower. So if you don’t operate a licensed grow facility, then you’ll need to make strong connections with a cannabis cultivator to determine:

  • What are their product throughput caps or limitations?
  • Do they have different pricing based on bud size and flower type?
  • If they ship you ground flower, how much of the product will consist of stems and leaves vs. buds?

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face selling pre-rolls is the stigma that cannabis pre-rolls are filled with low-quality trim instead of flower. “Trim” is defined as a combination of ground plant material such as leaves and stems.

It’s up to you how you want to fill your joints, however your best customers will know if they are purchasing pre-rolls filled with low-grade trim instead of flower.

Why Make Pre-Rolled Joints?

Diversify Your Product Offering

Not every cannabis processing company wants to go into the extraction of oils or vap cartridges. A profitable extraction business that can meet the demand of dispensaries requires significant up-front investment costs. And focusing on cannabis buds and flower can greatly reduce labor and equipment costs.

ExpensesPre-RollsExtracts
Startup Time1 – 2 weeks6 – 12 weeks or more
LaborEasy to trainRequires skilled technicians
Equipment$6 – $18,000Est. $50 – $150,000 and up
User ExperienceLess intense effectsStronger, more intense effects
Entourage EffectYesNo (with exceptions)

High Demand for Joints and Pre-Rolls

The fact is, pre-rolled cannabis joints are very popular. And as we’ve mentioned, they are portable and are great for social settings. There is high demand in most locations for both THC or CBD pre-rolls.

Closeup of Pre-Rolled Cones

Pre-rolled joints are also easy to sell. For example, customers and patients who want to try a new strain can opt for purchasing a cannabis pre-roll before purchasing an ounce of flower. This makes joints great for up-sells or add-ons, as well as for promoting a new strain.

Pre-Rolled Cones vs. Bowls

There are many ways to consume cannabis. A popular method is to use a “bowl” which is basically a pipe. However, the reality is it’s more work to prepare a bowl than to simply pick up and light a joint. Some additional advantages of pre-rolled joints are:

  • No grinder needed. Great for new customers with limited or no accessories.
  • No bowl upkeep necessary, like cleaning or sanitizing.
  • No need to re-light each time you draw.
  • Easier to securely store.
  • Saves space.

Granted, for some, using a bowl for their flower is an enjoyable hobby. And for others, the convenience of a pre-roll is the superior method to medicate without any hassles. And for those medicating for various conditions, shaky or weak hands make pre-rolls much easier to use.

Cannabis Grinders

If you want to process and assemble pre-rolls, you’ll need a grinder. Not the small, twist-top grinder consumers use. You need a grinder that can break down buds into ground flower on a large scale.

That said, you don’t want to use just any grinder. Using a grinder found in a cannabis kitchen naturally produces trichome-damaging heat. And some grinders are designed to pulverize, ruining your flower. Fortunately, there are grinders optimized to mitigate some or all of these issues.

Avoiding Heat

Commercial blenders and food processors, much like the units you find in commercial kitchens, have powerful motors that get hot over time. As a result, when you apply heat to cannabis above room temperature, you start to burn off terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant material.

The loss of terpenes reduces the quality of your joints. In other words, both the aroma and potency are degraded, which limits the entourage effect. Filling your pre-rolls with flower shredded in a grinder optimized for cannabis will maintain the cannabinoids and terpenes of your premium strains.

Avoiding Aggressive Pulverizing

Keep in mind, you’re not pulverizing walnuts to make baklava. The goal is to grind your flower into smaller, even, and consistent particle sizes. This allows them to burn evenly, and supports the structure of your joint. To accomplish this, choose a grinder that is designed specifically for pre-roll fill, or that can be set to grind less aggressively.

The size of your ground flower is not the only challenge for cannabis processors. The more times the blades, paddles, or whips hit your material, the fewer trichomes remain intact on your pre-roll fill.

A gentle grind will result in significant cost savings by:

  • Ensuring more trichomes end up in your joints where you want them.
  • Maximizing pre-roll potency.
  • Producing higher quality joints, allowing for higher sale prices and margins.
  • Maintaining the cell walls of your plants, keeping chlorophyll out of your fill.
  • Mitigating the risk of compromised cannabis oil during extraction.
  • Resulting in a smoother smoking experience.

Aggressive grinding also exposes your cannabis to the excess heat produced via the kinetic energy created in the grinding process. Again, any loss of cannabinoids cuts into your profit margins.

Fine Ground Cannabis
Finely ground, non-pulverized cannabis.

Avoiding Excess Kief Creation

Whipping cannabis and pulverizing trichomes will create excess kief. You may be thinking that excess kief in a pre-roll would enhance the customer’s experience. However, in excess it can have the following negative effects on your joints:

  • Excess kief increases the weight of your pre-rolls. Heavier joints have a tendency to break easier.
  • When too much powdery kief gets packed into a joint, it restricts airflow. This can result in an uneven burn, resulting in a “canoeing” effect.

When a joint burns unevenly, one half burns more than the other “long-ways.” This is called canoeing. Several factors contribute to the canoeing effect, which is notoriously frustrates customers. Ensuring an even, consistent grind is a big step in prevention.

Grind Size & Consistency

As with all equipment, various grinders are designed for different applications. Some grinders found in cannabis kitchens are designed to provide a consistent grind once the product is finely pulverized. This is great when you want to create ground cinnamon, but not so great for pre-rolls.

Some cannabis grinders that shred the buds and trim with whips may require the cannabis to go through several rounds to achieve the best particle size for pre-roll machines. But as we’ve pointed out, whipping cannabis tends to knock off trichomes and damage plant material.

It’s important for cannabis processors to ensure that the cannabis shedding machine they select provides a homogeneous grind. It needs to transform flower, shake, and trim into a perfect blend of cannabis material large enough to allow airflow, yet fine enough for a perfectly packed joint.

Featuring the STM Revolution 2.0 Grinder

Earlier, we mentioned that there are grinders perfectly engineered for cannabis processing. For instance, the STM Revolution 2.0 Cannabis Grinder is not just “optimized” for grinding cannabis – it was specifically designed to do so.

STM Canna Revolution Cannabis Grinder
STM Canna Revolution Cannabis Grinder

The Revolution’s grinding system uses a two-blade mechanism that allows for both a coarse and fine product output. This provides cannabis processors the flexibility to use the same machine to prep their flower for use in either a pre-roll machine or an extraction unit.

Some of the benefits to cannabis processors include:

  • Output with minimal product degradation
  • Preserving trichomes and terpenes
  • Little to no loss of quality due to heat or excessive pulverizing
  • Reducing waste and increasing yields
  • Particle size consistency, important for perfectly packed joints or high-yield extraction

All of these features play a pivotal roll in increasing your cannabis processing profit margins.

Shop Cannabis Grinders →

Cannabis Pre-Roll Machines

Perfectly hand-wrapping hundreds of pre-rolls every day is no small task. A pre-roll machine will allow one operator to do the work of several, and in less time. This saves both time and labor costs.

Choosing a Pre-Roll Machine

To make a perfect joint, you want a cannabis grinder or shredder that can be adjusted for various strains. Differing strains and each new harvest can result in vastly different grinds. For instance, light and fluffy buds require less grinding while heavier, tight buds require more.

A cannabis processor that tries to grind different strains with the same machine settings may find their joints are not packed properly after the flower is sifted into the cones. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are attempting to “fix” a batch of joints.

Featuring the Rocketbox 2.0

The STM Canna Rocketbox is a cannabis processing pre-roll machine that perfectly complements the Revolution grinder. The Rocketbox takes your perfectly ground cannabis from the Revolution and packs it into high-quality pre-roll cones.

STM Canna Rocketbox Pre-Roll Machine
STM Canna Rocketbox Pre-Roll Machine

The Rocketbox cannabis pre-roll equipment is extremely durable, boasting a 10-year life span. Pre-rolls are filled and packed with only a 10 percent variance, ensuring your joints can be consistently dosed. This is accomplished by using STM Canna’s proprietary “Smart Density Software,” exclusive to the Rocketbox 2.0.

Best of all, your cannabis processing business will save time and money by taking advantage of the features offered by the Rocketbox, including:

  • Multiple vibration settings to ensure your cones are perfectly packed.
  • High throughput and scalability, over 400 cones a minute or up to 25,000 pre-rolls a day.
  • 84, 98, and 109 sized cone compatibility for a versatile product line.
  • Ease of operation and built-in training modes, greatly minimizing training costs.

If you’re looking to begin offering commercial pre-rolled joints, the Rocketbox commercial pre-roll machine is a great option to quickly scale the sale of joints.

Diversify Your Product Line with Popular Pre-Roll Paper Sizes

There are many paper sizes when it comes to rolling a joint, and the same is true for pre-rolled cones. As a result, you’ll want to at least offer the two most popular sizes: 1 1/4 and king size.

Common NameSizeGrams to Fill
Dog Walker84 / 40mm.25 – .35 grams
1 1/484 / 26mm.5 – .75 grams
1 1/284mm, wide1 gram
king Size109 / 26mm1 – 1.25 gram

In 2019, over 50% of joints sold were 1 1/4 sized pre-rolls. The name “1 1/4” is because this size can hold about 25% more weed than a single-wide. These are great for new users. And King Size joints are often used for higher-tolerance medical users, or for use in social group settings.

Pre-Roll Machine Loading
Pre-roll machines make it fast, easy, and highly-efficient to create joints for high-volume businesses.

Cone and rolling paper sizes vary a bit between manufacturers, and fill volume can also vary depending on the person assembling the joints. Therefore, when selling pre-rolls, you want consistent weights and volume to help ensure more accurate dosing. Pre-roll machines loaded with pre-roll cones do exactly that.

Shop Pre-Rolled Cones →

Should You Buy More Than One Machine?

Pre-roll machines are fast and highly efficient, however it is sometimes necessary to purchase more than one unit. Here is a quick list of reasons to purchase multiple pre-roll machines:

  • If you own multiple cannabis processing locations. Current laws rarely allow for the interstate transport of cannabis product.
  • High volume. This is a great “problem” to have. If your pre-rolls are popular, you may find it difficult to keep up with demand. Don’t let profits slip through your fingers, buy a second machine.
  • Setup and maintenance. If you’re a “one-man-band” and want to mitigate downtime in between batches of pre-rolls, purchasing a second machine to operate while you clean and prep the first can be a huge time-saver.
  • Multiple sized pre-rolls. You can save a lot of time by filling your 1 1/4 and king size joints at the same time by operating two machines.
  • Infused joints. If you wish to offer pre-rolls that are infused with terpenes to create your signature flavor, you should consider purchasing a second machine. Cleaning and upkeep can take more time with infused joints.

Shop Pre-Roll Machines →

Pre-Rolled Cones and Paper

When someone consumes a pre-roll, they inhale more than just the cannabis filling. So the quality of your paper matters. Poor quality paper results in harsh tokes that overpower the aroma of your strains.

Make Sure That You Have a Steady Supplier

Delays in your supply chain can quickly equate to lost sales, or worse. For instance, customers may switch to another brand with a reliable inventory. Be sure your pre-roll cones and accessories supplier can deliver to meet the demands of your cannabis processing business.

Cannabis is nature’s medicine, and your cones should be as close to nature as possible. High-quality cones are manufactured with minimal chemicals and no harmful products. In short, be sure to purchase pre-roll cones with the following characteristics:

  • Free from bleach or harmful chemicals.
  • Contains no additives and is preferably non-GMO.
  • Consistent physical structure. Free from crinkles or defects.
  • Reliable sizing so each cone fills with the same volume of flower.

All of these factors can make an impact on how your joints taste and hold up to transportation. Adding branding always helps your customers remember who packed and created their amazing joint.

Shop Pre-Rolled Cones →

Raising the Bar on Pre-Rolled Cones

Pre-roll machines are a great way for cannabis processors to diversify their product line, which is hugely popular among cannabis connoisseurs. They allow you to create joints at scale to meet the rising demand of both THC and CBD focused pre-rolls.

Our offering of pre-roll machines are easy to use, require just one operator, and will provide consistently packed product every time. And your customers will love the new, convenient option for consuming your assortment of cannabis strains.

Need more help?

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Saving time and money while preparing products is important to every cannabis processing business, as is maintaining a diverse, popular product line.

If you have questions about our selection of pre-roll machines, including our selection of cones and paper, feel free to reach out to our team. We’re happy to help and provide additional resources and answer any other questions you may have.

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