Cannabis Pre-Rolls: Overview

There’s no doubt about it – The cannabis pre-roll production industry is on a high.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global cannabis pre-roll market size was valued at USD 1.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4% from 2021 to 2028.

In many regions – such as Canada, the United States, Portugal, and the Netherlands – cannabis is no longer restricted to a black market. As a result, legalisation has brought in new and diverse customer segments. People who were previously hesitant to engage with cannabis due to its legal status now have the opportunity to explore its potential benefits without fear of legal repercussions. This expansion of the customer base has created a substantial demand for legal cannabis products.

For both new and seasoned cannabis users, smoking pre-rolled joints is often the consumption method of choice. Compared to hand-rolled joints or edibles, the benefits of cannabis pre-rolls include:

  • Ease of use. Pre-rolled joints are convenient and portable, making them easy to use for beginners or casual users without the need for additional equipment.
  • Precise dosing. Pre-rolled joints often come in standardised sizes and contain a specific amount of cannabis, which may provide some level of dosing consistency.
  • Quick onset of effects. Smoking allows cannabinoids like THC to enter the bloodstream rapidly, leading to faster onset of effects compared to some other consumption methods like edibles.
  • Terpene and flavour preservation. Smoking cannabis can provide a full-spectrum experience, allowing users to taste the plant’s natural terpenes and experience its unique flavour profile.

In markets where cannabis is legal, the production of pre-rolled joints can be a profitable business venture.

Pre-rolled joints can serve as an entry point for individuals who are curious about trying cannabis but may be intimidated by other consumption methods. They provide an easy and approachable introduction to the cannabis experience – and, as a result, demand is increasing.

According to Seattle-based data firm Headset, pre-rolls went from $406 million in sales and 7.9% market share in 2018, to $1.5 billion in sales and 12.7% market share by Q3 of 2022.

For manufacturers – perhaps already working in pharmaceuticals or tobacco, but certainly not excluding startups – pre-roll production is understandably sparking interest.

While producing pre-rolled joints requires some initial investment in machinery and labour, it can be cost-effective in terms of producing a standardised product. This efficiency can lead to a higher profit margin compared to some other cannabis products that involve more complex processing.

However, pre-roll production can have pitfalls, too – especially if you don’t work with the right partners, or invest in the right machinery.

Familiarising yourself with potential challenges is the first step to successfully avoiding them. So, if you’re even just a little curious about cannabis pre-roll production, let’s get started…

Hidden Problems in Cannabis Pre-Roll Production

Pre-rolled joints provide a cost-effective way for customers to responsibly enjoy cannabis, giving them access to a variety of strains and flavours to suit their needs.

To protect users, the pre-roll production industry is subject to regulations set by local governments and regulatory bodies. Compliance is of course non-negotiable, as any deviation could be a consumer health risk (not to mention damaging to your yield quality and reputation).

When producing cannabis pre-rolls, user safety must always be front of mind. Regulations will vary by region, so be sure to familiarise yourself with your local requirements.

However, adhering to these principles (both legal and moral) can be difficult if your process isn’t reliable.

Quality control issues in pre-roll production can be extremely hazardous. Uneven packing, for example, can result in an inconsistent and harsh smoking experience – as well as erratic dosing, which may lead to unpredictable effects and overconsumption.

This is why it’s vital to use reliable packing machinery that you can trust. The latest automated solutions will often provide an extra layer of defence, as opposed to inconsistent manual methods or legacy equipment.

Other hidden problems which can blight pre-roll production lines include…

  • Contamination, which can expose consumers to harmful bacteria or mold.
  • Inaccurate labelling, which can cause confusion among consumers (not to mention harmful and unwanted effects, if users are unaware of the potency or strain of cannabis they are smoking).
  • Improper disposal of waste, which can cause ecological and even legal issues.

By implementing thorough quality control measures, working with suitable machinery, and liaising with the right partners, manufacturers can avoid common production issues and provide a better experience for consumers.

In turn, you could secure success in the growing legal cannabis market.


Introducing Cannabis Packaging Machines

The right cannabis packing machine is essential to help you avoid the production headaches that could jeopardise your operation.

In the booming cannabis industry, delivering high-quality products efficiently and safely is paramount. To achieve these standards, there’s no substitute for the right equipment (and the right equipment provider to support you).

Pre-roll packaging technology is advancing all the time. The latest, innovative designs guarantee smooth packaging processes, empowering you to optimise your production line. Whether it’s pre-roll filling, labelling, or sealing, the right machine will deliver precise and reliable performance, providing you with peace of mind and saving valuable time.

To help you plan, let’s take a look at the different types of packaging machines and process automation available today…

There are three main categories of cannabis packaging machine, each with unique features. At CME, we have suitable machinery for each category, to help you make the best choice for your manufacturing process.

1 Pre-Roll Production

AutoPreform Cone Maker. This cuts and forms cones in various sizes from paper and card reels. The cones can be packed into bulk cartons or retail packs for storage/sale, or can be linked directly to the AutoCone for full line production.

AutoCone. This produces pre-rolls from pre-made cones; filling, twisting, trimming and weighing for fully automated pre-roll production.

AutoTwist. This semi-automated bench top system twists and trims pre-rolls.

2 Pre-Roll Packing

Robotic Pre-Roll Packing Machine. This provides down-stream pre-roll packing, while utilising robotics to orientate pre-rolls into a variety of formats.

Cylindrical Pre-Roll Packing Machine.  The Cylindrical (cannabis cigarette style) Pre-Roll Packing machine produces up to 180 packs per minute, using the latest technology.

3 Other Cannabis Solutions

Tax Stamping and Labelling Machines. These attach stamps in various positions across multiple formats.

Cartoning Machines. These provide packaging options for forming and loading.

Cannabis/CBD Dry Bud Filling. These are designed to fill premade pouches or jars, with capping and case packing downstream.

From pre-roll production to pre-roll packing and everything in between, there is a cannabis machine to suit every process need.


To commission the right machine, however, you need the right partner. One who really understands your business and can help you to reach your goals…

Selecting a Cannabis Automation System Provider

Automated cannabis packaging machinery has revolutionised the industry by offering a range of essential tasks such as filling, sealing, labelling, and sorting cannabis products. The adoption of this intelligent hardware has become increasingly popular among cannabis businesses due to the numerous benefits it offers. Notably, it enables them to boost production capacity, cut down on labour costs, and enhance the consistency and accuracy of their packaging processes.

However, to truly achieve these business goals, selecting the right cannabis automation system is crucial. This decision hinges on partnering with a provider who not only comprehends your unique requirements but possesses the capabilities to meet them effectively.

To aid in this process, you should consider the following when choosing a cannabis automation system provider…

  • Experience. Many manufacturers may claim to understand automation – but do they understand cannabis production?
  • Bespoke capability. Exercise caution when dealing with suppliers who can only provide standard, off-the-shelf equipment. This could be a sign of a provider solely focused on making quick sales, without a genuine investment in the long-term success of your business or fostering a lasting relationship.
  • Wide sector knowledge. Providers who have experience working with multiple industries, in addition to being experts in the cannabis industry, can play a vital role in integrating new technology into cannabis production. Their ability to demonstrate a wide range of knowledge across various manufacturing sectors brings valuable insights. This diverse expertise allows for a well-rounded perspective, enabling you to establish new processes that benefit from tried-and-tested methods from other industries.
  • Service and aftermarket support. Make sure your system provider has a reliable fleet of engineers, for both in-person and remote support – backed up by an agreed SLA. You never know when you might need it… or the high cost of when it isn’t available.
  • Product quality vs. price. Think carefully about your business objectives and whether buying on price alone will truly benefit your bottom line, especially if the machinery requires regular reactive maintenance.
  • Payment options. Ideal for growing brands, a selection of payment options can help you to meet your commercial goals, faster – so always ask prospective providers what they can offer.
  • Ongoing support. Choosing a supplier that can offer commissioning, training and production support will enable you to get up and running quickly, as well as helping you to protect uptime.


Improving Profitability with Cannabis Pre-Roll Process Automation

At CME, we believe that process automation is often the key to a successful and profitable cannabis pre-roll production business. However, it’s not quite ‘that’ simple.

Profitability isn’t just about having the right tools (although you’ll certainly struggle without them). It requires a strategic approach that focuses on key areas – such as cost reduction and efficient production.

To maximise automation, you need to…

  • Identify your pain points. Where does your operation experience the most challenges? This is where automated process could have the biggest impact.
  • Research solutions. One size won’t fit all. Once you’ve identified your pain points, research solutions which are focussed on alleviating these specific problems.
  • Define your scope and budget. You need to be realistic about what you want to achieve and make sure all stakeholders agree, while nailing down your budget in the process.
  • Calculate return on investment. Machinery costs can often be recovered within a year or two, but there are also wider cost-saving benefits to be found in improved quality, output, and efficiency.
  • Choose your solution. Remember that a competent automation provider may be able to create a bespoke solution to suit your requirements.
  • Monitor and optimise. Using data-driven insights, efficiency and profitability can improve over time by making gradual adjustments.


Why Choose CME For Your Cannabis Pre-Roll Solution?

At CME, we specialise in manufacturing cannabis packaging machinery and automation solutions at a global scale. Our primary focus is to help our clients create safe, compliant, and user-friendly products.

What sets us apart:

  • Extensive Experience in the Cannabis Industry. We understand exactly what’s required to produce high-quality goods that consumers will truly enjoy.
  • Diverse Customer Base. Our expertise extends beyond the cannabis industry, as we serve customers in various markets – including food, beverage, pharma, medical, and tobacco. This wide-ranging knowledge across the manufacturing sector places us at the forefront of product innovation, empowering businesses to achieve success in their respective fields.
  • Reliable and Ongoing Support. We are committed to providing reliable support throughout the entire lifespan of your machinery. Our dedicated team is readily available to resolve any service issues, offering remote diagnosis, in-person repairs, spare parts, and a dedicated contact for all your service and support needs.
  • Flexible Financing Options. We understand the importance of having access to the right solutions at the right time. To accommodate your budgetary requirements, we offer a variety of financing options, ensuring you can make the best choice without compromising on quality and efficiency.

We take pride in delivering leading-edge cannabis packaging machinery and automation solutions that will meet your exact needs.


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