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Preroll Joints & MI's Maturing Cannabis Market

Cannabis always has been around, but for the majority of the last 100 years it has been underground. Within the past few decades, anti-cannabis views and laws have slowly begun to change, leading to an increase in the availability and use of cannabis worldwide. Availability and use will only continue to increase as its value as a medical, recreational and industrial product becomes more widely known and accepted.

What we call the Vietnam War (and the Vietnamese call the American War) spurred protests by the hippies in the vanguard of the baby boomer generation, first about the war, but eventually including other social and economic issues. Back then, the “weed” protesters chanted to free came in a compressed brick over international borders.

Now, cannabis comes packaged, labeled and branded in many forms including topicals, tinctures, oils, dabs, cartridges, beverages and even powders. Despite this stunning variety of product categories, a solid majority of consumers continue to consume cannabis through smoking pipes, bongs, hookah, and joints.

With the increased availability of cannabis, gone are the days when people had to pool their roaches, disassemble them, toss the burnt roach paper and then roll the roach pot into a pin joint. Nobody really likes pin joints, especially to share, because they don’t usually hit much, and the mouth-feel is less than lovely.

Back in the day (like a decade ago) people regularly would share cannabis because it was such a rare commodity to have at all. Many people had no connections except that one friend who was able to obtain it somewhere. People were lucky to be invited to a circle to share a pin joint with others. And if you wanted to smoke when you were with a circle of friends, you had to smoke then or not at all. You could be sure that the joint would be consumed before the circle dispersed. There was no pause, no saving for later, no stop in the action, except for that annoying person who uses the joint as a microphone to keep everyone’s attention.

Things still are like that in some places. But in many other places, things are different now and an adult can walk to a corner store where all types of cannabis products are on sale. For instance, in Michigan, where adult use is legal, the small City of Hamtramck alone has four retail cannabis stores. In some licensed cannabis retailers in Michigan, an ounce of decent cannabis can regularly be purchased for $50 - $100.

Baby boomers consume a lot of cannabis. Many are long time smokers who have rolled thousands of joints. Daily smokers, including many of these baby boomers, consume much more overall quantity than occasional recreational users. A group sharing a one-gram joint on a Saturday night is not a large slice of the consumption pie. People who smoke multiple joints daily (and there are plenty) constitute much of the smoking market. It takes time and equipment to roll joints well (grinder, tips, papers), and who has that kind of time, several times a day, in the middle of other activities? Enter the preroll.

Prerolled joints now are available at most retail cannabis stores. Some one-gram cannabis joints still are on sale for twenty dollars or more, as they have been for several years. But there also are beginning to be one-gram joints regularly selling for five dollars or less. Along with carrying single one gram “lunch breaks,” retailers are now also carrying cute, small cones or shortys in packages of ten or twenty count. Common small sizes are .3 gram, .5 gram, and .7 gram. The smallest has been referred to as a “dogwalker.” .5’s might be called “mids”, and the .7’s called the “ups.”

On the demand side, acquisition in the regulated market is dependent upon acquisition being readily available. As in - there is a retail cannabis store nearby. As that increases, demand will continue to rise. The gray market will slowly fade to hobbyists and purists.

I foresee that it will become more and more common to find prerolls marketed not as strains, but as effects, based mostly upon terpene profile. This will be discussed more in a future blog.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to post photos of multipacks

PS. Oh, and don’t fall for that “Top Shelf” labeling. What could be above that? Well, Premium, or Reserve? There is the stuff on the top shelf, and the stuff that is kept hidden. Just sayin’

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