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Cactus Tech: Improving the Pre-Roll


Recommended Listening: I was a Teenage Hand Model by Queens of the Stone Age

My first position in an Arizona dispensary was inventory associate, but my primary focus was being the pre-roll specialist. Everything you can imagine, I’ve rolled. If it exists, I have probably rolled it or at least attempted to. My experience in this role has led me to a high standard when it comes to pre-rolls, as I learned from some of the best, thanks to my former managers at PARC, Everett and Vince. That standard was rarely met in Phoenix until techniques were widely introduced recently. The days of the subpar pre-roll are no more, suggest this article to your local dispensary if struggling with uneven burning when you grab a pre-roll, also common is a canoe, need to ash constantly, or the joint has no pull.

To start, let’s never do house blends, unless you have a $2 joint jar in the dispensary. I have found that house blend joints, no matter how good, are slow to move and harder to push. Patients want what they know will work, and every strain can have varied effects on people, it is not practical to offer a house blend. The smallest hint of a sativa can addle the habitual indica user, and vice versa, the sativa user could be floored by an indica of average quality. In every pre-roll operation there should be minimal hybrid cross, but reducing that with strain specific is also best to keep inventory turning over making room for new strains. Upon mention of inventory, the reconcile and management for inventory will thank you for staying strain specific as the ease of keeping account for inventory will be obvious.

Keeping a clean workstation and caring for the pre-roll material can vastly improve the batches. Using gloves, cleaning the machine(EZ-J, RAW, Knockbox) or cone holder, sweeping the table, and keeping what spills separate are a few ways to reduce crossing strains. Storing the pre-roll material properly and separating the grades can have huge appeal to the crew who has to sell the pre-rolls. The difference will be noticed when the flower in pre-rolls is not left dry, and budtenders know what quality of flower went into the pre-roll so they can communicate quality to their patients. A house blend can form from the remainder of the pre-roll batches, and it can then be used for staff reward pre-rolls, or a shake amount for patients to purchase at discount. Establish and maintain standards for what quality of pre-roll you want to sell, and how those pre-rolls are made.

I would always encourage anyone to innovate, and improve their process, but the golden ticket I learned came from my friend Everett. The introduction of a dual mesh strainer, to sift the flower to remove stems, seeds, and further smooth ground up flower. A masterclass in improving the pre-roll by adding a simple tool and technique was discovered with this innovation using kitchen hardware. Grind your material as you normally would, but before adding to your machine or filling cones, simply push ground up flower through this strainer. You can track the weight of stems left behind, and also check to see if any of the flower has seeds. The removal of these two ingredients along with the uniform grinding of material makes for a smoother pre-roll to be smoked. The soft pillow like texture that the flower will take on, will amaze patients and staff alike, you will find everyone asking if it’s the same flower or not that might’ve been sold.

The pre-roll at that point only needs a good twist to close, but be careful not to over tighten, and finish by removing any excess paper tip. I would always advise using doob tubes, as I have broken many joints sold in mylar bags. The introduction of these changes can see a dramatic improvement in the quality of pre-rolls. Patients can have confidence they are getting all quality with minimum amounts of unwanted material. I have seen reviews that have ruined pre-roll sales when a patient opens a pre-roll to inspect, only to find stems, seeds, and poorly processed shake. Introducing standards and offering the best quality possible from the smallest items up to the best will help to build trust with your patient base. The dispensaries I introduced to this technique saw an immediate shift in sales of pre-rolls as well as increased positive reviews of their joints.

by Adrian Ryan @drogado_del_gato

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