New Tech Trends to Watch in the Pre-Roll Market

Thanks to consumer demand, manufacturing advances, and price stabilization, the pre-roll market is poised for continued growth in 2024. So, how can brands stay one step ahead and win in this increasingly competitive product category?

Several key strategies can support a pre-roll brand’s growth, including taking advantage of new technologies, carefully analyzing consumer behavior, and incorporating innovative packaging and design. Here are some ways brands can get ahead in the new year.

Highly Customized

The best pre-roll brands need to have both style and substance. Fortunately, when it comes to visual appeal, there have never been more options, including a wide array of colors, flavors, paper, potency, and designs.

One key is to deeply understand your customers and what appeals to them. Are they looking for a luxurious experience with strong visual appeal? Or perhaps they are more concerned about the product’s environmental impact. The most successful pre-roll brands are those that know their customers and can anticipate their needs.

Technologically Advanced

Another way to ensure your pre-roll gets noticed is to leverage advanced technologies. Over the past few years, advances in pre-roll machinery have enabled brands to scale quickly, provide consistent products, add post-packaging labels, and more.

Visual cues, such as a filigree (a watermark impression) added to the pre-roll paper, give brands another opportunity to stand out and avoid counterfeiters. Gumming technology also adds a layer of complexity that can guard against counterfeiting and allows brands to make patterns with profiles in the actual gum line itself using food-grade ink.

This allows brands to add their patterns, designs, and logos to the pre-roll, creating a unique design that foils counterfeiters and establishes brand awareness even after the pre-roll has been removed from its outer packaging.

Better Paper

The paper used to make pre-rolls is almost as important as what’s inside it. First, it must be safe to smoke, consistent, and compliant. And typically, many cannabis connoisseurs find that the thinner the paper, the better the taste.

Consumers also want paper that complements the smoking experience, so some companies offer pre-rolls made from different botanicals such as hemp flower and tea. For an even more potent experience, there are pre-rolls with added concentrates like hash, kief, wax, or shatter. 

More Sustainable

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of their buying choices on the environment. That’s driving greater interest in pre-rolls with biodegradable and recyclable packaging, paper that is free of chemical additives, and manufacturing processes using fewer natural resources. 

New Formats

Pre-rolls now come in various sizes and packages. Mini pre-rolls, also called Dogwalkers, are pre-rolls with under .35 grams compared to a typical pre-roll that is around 1 gram.

They have increased in popularity over the past few years due in part to the fact that people don’t necessarily want to share joints with others. As brands think about expanding their product lines, they may want to consider different-sized pre-rolls, pre-roll packs, better child-proof packaging, and other format enhancements that serve their target customers.

With product innovations and improved manufacturing technologies, there has never been a better opportunity for brands to level up their pre-roll offerings and capture a greater share of the market.

This article first appeared in Volume 5 Issue 3 of Cannabis & Tech Today. Read the full issue here.


  • Alex Boone is the managing director of Botani, the cannabis-focused division of paper-making giant SWM International. Learn more at

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