Pre-rolled joints experienced huge growth during 2016, with sales of $158 million between Colorado, Washington and Oregon, representing growth of 149 percent compared to 2015. In Colorado, sales were up by 61 percent, in Washington by 278 percent and in Oregon by a jaw-dropping 282 percent according to data from BDS Analytics, a premiere cannabis data analytics and market research firm.
But so far, at least, 2017 is not turning into the year of the pre-roll. Year-to-date in April in Colorado, pre-roll sales are behind by 2 percent compared to the year prior. Much of the lackluster performance in Colorado can be attributed to declining sales in the medical channel where pre-rolled sales are down 46 percent year-to-date. In contrast, sales in the adult-use channel are up 7 percent.
Oregon’s staged rollout of recreational sales makes for disjointed comparisons as flower and pre-rolled joints were the only products available to recreational customers until June of 2016. With fewer products to choose from, the pre-rolled category enjoyed brisk sales. In the first four months of 2016, dispensaries in Oregon sold nearly 1.2 million pre-rolled joints. In 2017 the availability of concentrates, edibles, and topicals for recreational customers diluted the market for pre-rolled joints and resulted in sales volume declining 4 percent and revenues falling 7 percent from the previous year.
Washington state has taken the lead in the pre-rolled joint market, at least in states with recreational sales. In 2016, dispensaries in Washington sold nearly 11 million pre-rolled joints, generating $68.1 million in revenues. Compared to Colorado, Washington sold 36 percent more pre-rolled joints. Despite the love for joints, Washington’s revenue in the category declined 10 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the previous year. The declines in pre-rolled revenue can be attributed to falling prices as dispensaries moved six percent more volume than in the previous year.
The pre-roll market is a volatile one, especially in Colorado and Oregon. And an important part of every dispensary’s and grow’s business plan. In 2016 pre-rolls accounted for seven percent of all sales, just five percentage points behind edibles at 12 percent.