US recreational dispensaries sold 50% more pre-rolls in 2020

Published Apr 5, 2021 11:00 a.m. ET
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The United States might not have federal protections in place for cannabis consumers. Still, it’s home to the largest, legal green market in the world, with plenty of potential to grow. Watching consumer trends here can offer a small glimpse into the minds of stoners everywhere, and some are surprised to see what products are flying off the shelves, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

What are pre-rolls?

Pre-rolls are popular among consumers who enjoy smoking weed because they offer a convenience that cannot be found in anything other than edibles, which provide an entirely unique set of effects and experiences. These cannabis-filled rolls may be wrapped in paper or blunt wraps, and as they are called, they come ready to spark, complete with small additions like filters that are hard to create for less experienced consumers.

Some pre-rolls are made using the highest quality buds, essentially taking the top-shelf product that customers rave about and turning it into a ready-to-smoke vessel that is perfect for grabbing on the go. However, many are filled with lower quality cannabis flower that cannot be sold in stores due to damage or age, and some come with a dose of concentrates to amplify the strength of the roll.

The facts

According to Marijuana Business Daily, pre-roll sales right across America have been growing at an unpredicted rate, even though many experts had expected a slow with the pandemic, which spurred an avoidance for products that were prepared by other humans. Recreational dispensaries in WA, CA, NV, CO, and OR raked in millions from 2018 to 2020.

2018: $385 million in sales of pre-rolls, a 39% increase from the year prior.

2019: $640 million in sales of pre-rolls, a 47% increase from the year prior.

2020: $942 million in sales of pre-rolls, a 54% increase from the year prior.

Why consumers love pre-rolls

Pre-rolls have been around forever, a staple of the black market, but few realized the potential demand for these cannabis goods over alternatives like pure flower or concentrates. The truth is, however, that it should have been easy to see why this would be the case, especially once you take a look at the long list of benefits that consumers get from buying pre-rolls.

  • Convenience
  • Affordability
  • Options
  • No need for tools or other expensive investments
  • An easy to hide size
  • Learning to roll is no longer necessary
  • Accessibility
  • A chance to try without a big price tag

Will this trend continue?

Consumer trends can be difficult to predict, so while current numbers appear to be moving in a positive direction, it’s impossible to say for sure whether or not the popularity of pre-rolls will expand much further. There is of course, still plenty of room for this market to grow and evolve. Still, most cannabis enthusiasts are now considering healthier alternatives to smoking, so while this is an interesting turn of events that is likely to continue for a while yet, the trend will probably fade away as smoking becomes a less preferred method of consumption.

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