Pre-Rolled Joints: Why this Marijuana Product Category is Poised for Exponential Growth; or Why Nostalgia Sells
By Claire Kaufmann | April 4, 2016
If you walk into a dispensary it doesn’t take a genius to tell that pre-rolled joints are a hot ticket item. Companies from Washington based Solstice Grown, to Oregon start up Fortune, to California based Jay’s are clearly cashing in on pre-rolls. As a whole, the pre-roll segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the entire cannabis market. The question then, is why?
Yes, dispensaries can make their own pre-rolls so that they can reuse shake. Yes, joints are usually a low price point. Yes, joints are portable, but is there something bigger at play, something the marijuana industry has largely forgotten? With all the innovation and product infusion, we see more “iWeed” than anything else – by that I mean pretty design that doesn’t have a lot of soul. But cannabis companies have largely forgotten a key element to the cannabis consumption experience – the experience of sharing.
Lately the cannabis industry has focused on discretion or on soulless innovation. How can you hide marijuana in public to make it look like a traditional vape, for example? Vaporizers are shiny and almost space-age in appearance. (i.e. the Firefly) How many foods can you infuse with cannabis? (I just saw cannabis infused beef jerky the other day.) How high in THC is that most recent batch of Trainwreck? (I just saw a strain at almost 30%.)
But most of these products miss the point. What is at the core of the American cannabis experience? The answer is not discretion but rather, the opposite – for many sharing and connection have long been integral to the cannabis consumption experience. The passing of the joint from one hand to another is perhaps the most blatant example. The image conjures up nostalgic images of war protests – a time when consuming cannabis was more of a political statement than a pastime. Consumers, even before pot was legal, used cannabis while sitting in circles or in groups. It’s not that cannabis consumers aren’t buying joints in order to share them, its that cannabis brands have forgotten this very integral part of the American cannabis experience.
In conclusion, perhaps the experience of sharing is just as much behind the growth in pre-rolled joint sales as are more traditional drivers like cost savings and sustainability.
To all of you product developers out there… Yes, we are likely to see other market segments grow over time but don’t let pent up creative energy get the best of you. Infused jerky is just that – it doesn’t take into account what has driven cannabis consumption patterns of decades. Sharing and connection are at the core of the American cannabis experience and remembering that will help manufacturers develop products that facilitate, rather than skirt this very important principle.