In the wake of Covid-19, consumers haven’t been doing a lot of puff-puff-pass as fears of spreading the virus remain high. But stoners are a resourceful bunch and have found a way to toke together during the pandemic—the pre-roll.
According to Ontario Cannabis Store data, pre-roll sales grew 196.48% since last year, and they led as the top three selling product category going into the summer months. Since sharing a joint is no longer an option, it’s no surprise that pre-rolls are enjoying a bit of a hot minute in Canada.
While some weed snobs refer to them as the fast food of cannabis, the pre-roll market is booming. From variety-packs to craft cannabis, the people have spoken. And those people want pre-rolls.
Consumers dig the convenience
Pre-rolled joints are cheap, come in multi-packs, and are easy to pass out to friends. Beyond sharing, the format is accessible to new consumers, who might not know how to roll their own yet. Pre-rolls are also popular with medical cannabis patients who may lack the mobility or dexterity to grind and/or roll.
“I love pre-rolls for the convenience they provide. I like that they are ready to go when you are. There’s no messing around with grinders and rolling,” Luc Wilson, a consumer who is no stranger to buying pre-rolls, tells Leafly Canada.
“I typically purchase smaller pre-rolls (.35g) because they’re just the right amount for me. I don’t get too high, but I’m still able to enjoy myself.”
Wilson says he also likes that he can purchase packs of ten, instead of just one or two at a time, and individual pre-rolls are great for trying out new strains or brands without committing to a whole pack. He adds that multi-packs are great for sharing with friends, especially during covid.
Pre-rolls play a key role in pandemic etiquette
On the retail side, Lauren Davie, vice president of retail & sales at Superette says there was a notable shift in pre-roll sales when the pandemic began.
“Pre-roll sales have picked up a bit with a shift to summer weather and an increase in socializing outdoors, which has been great to see. ”
Davie says customers love pre-rolls because they are so easy and quick. Consumers have the ability to consume a small amount at a time, which is really appealing.
“People are excited to try different modes of consumption and packs of pre-rolls make it fun and easy to share without the ‘passing a joint’ we might have been used to pre-pandemic,” she tells Leafly.
Low-risk way to try new strains and brands
Overall, Davie says that pre-rolls are a great point of entry into the recreational cannabis market. We asked the sales expert what kinds of pre-rolls were most popular with consumers in their retail stores.
“The Redecan Redees have consistently taken the top spot in popularity in part due to a competitive price and higher THC percentage,” says Davie. “Dominant CBD multi-packs also tend to do really well and appeal to those who may want a different option outside of a stronger THC percentage.”
As far as products consumers should consider, Davie suggests SuperFlower pre-rolls, Carmel pre-rolls, and Back Forty‘s new 10 x 0.35g pre-roll pack. “We’re pretty excited about it, given the popularity we have seen for Back Forty with their flower and vapes.”
New to market—sampler packs and infused pre-rolls
Pre-rolls are often a starting point for consumers to familiarize themselves with a company and their product. Consumers are looking to sample more than one brand and cultivar at a time.
AHLOT saw that need and created their Cannabis Collections: themed assortments of pre-rolls. A panel of budtenders and cannabis enthusiasts carefully procure each item in their sampler packs.
After three years of legalization, Canada is getting its first infused pre-roll. Infused pre-rolls, which are gaining popularity in the US, use flower, dry sift hash, and full-spectrum winterized oil.
Last week, Sundial announced that its Top Leaf brand is hitting the market with this luxurious option. Forbidden Lemon Caviar Cones will be released in most provinces before the end of the year.