Close your eyes and picture a pre-roll joint from any dispensary. What does it look like? What kind of package does it come in?
Odds are you are picturing a one-gram pre-roll in a plastic pop-top tube wrapped with a label and batch-specific testing sticker.
These pre-roll tubes, which have been dubbed “doob tubes” by the industry, have become ubiquitous since the early days of legalization.
A quick trip to a few dispensaries proves the dominance of pre-roll tube packaging. We asked for the best-selling pre-rolls at three different dispensaries and this is what we got.
Notice any similarities? Yeah, me too.
Early doob tubes
But why did pop-top joint tubes become the unofficial packaging of joints and blunts?
The simple answer is that they were cheap, easy to mass produce, and they worked. Also, since most consumers were new to the idea of pre-rolled cannabis products, they didn’t have existing expectations of how they should be packaged or what size pre-roll they really wanted.
“At the beginning in Colorado, California, and Washington, the doob tube was pretty much the only packaging available,” said Harrison Bard, who heads business development for Custom Cones USA, which is essentially a one-stop shop for all things pre-roll. “It was also extremely economical for businesses just getting started.”
At first, laws and state regulations drove how the packaging looked. You either had clear or opaque tubes depending on whether your state’s laws allowed your product to be visible in the container or not.
So, like most business innovations, necessity was the mother of invention. Pre-roll products needed packaging to comply, so the young industry responded with something cheap, easy, and functional with no frills.
Over time, customers have become more experienced in the legal cannabis marketplace and inevitably savvier about what they want. For this reason, pre-roll joints and the humble joint tubes they come in have had to evolve to generate more curb appeal and work in concert with the pre-rolled blunt or joint itself to draw the customer in.
“The pre-roll industry has evolved just like alcohol and other consumer-packaged goods to make the pre-roll packaging integral to the overall presentation of the product,” Bard said.
Packaging companies have responded with new options for pre-roll tubes. They can be found in a variety of colors and materials, such as glass, paper, plastics, metal, etc in a variety of sizes. They can also be made of alternative materials, such as recycled ocean plastic recovered from the ocean and hemp-based bioplastics.
One of the coolest impacts of the evolution of tube packaging is simply the ability for brands to step up their pre-roll game with premium packaging, cap options, and custom branding to help them stand out of the shelf.
For example, a brand could employ a premium plastic tube with a super-seal, child-resistant cap that is wrapped in custom branding to make their pre-roll unmistakable when sitting next to the competition.
Bard said Custom Cones USA has a custom design team that works to tailor a company’s pre-roll packaging and branding to its exact specifications, using labels, shrink sleeves, and direct print, along with a variety of joint tube base options to choose from.
“With so many ways to customize your pre-roll tubes and packaging, we find our customers appreciate working with experienced designers to bring it all together,” Bard said.
So what could be next for the doob tube? Bard said that pre-roll tubes will continue to evolve to the benefit of both brands and consumers.
As the pre-roll marketplace gets more crowded, brands will have greater competition for customers. Tubes will still be there but with more custom, one-of-a-kind sizes and styles to give pre-roll joints and blunts some recognizable personality.
Pre-roll tubes will similarly evolve to meet the sensibilities of consumers. Bard said he is seeing a growing number of tubes made from environmentally conscious material because customers are demanding it.
“Sustainability is absolutely critical,” Bard said. “Customers are very concerned about the impact of single-use pre-roll tubes and quite frankly, so are we.”
Just as tubes have started to use high-end material like glass to elevate their external appearance, Bard said he sees “enhanced tubes” improving their interiors to further deliver a high-end product.
“Enhanced pre-roll tubes will create the perfect environment for specific pre-roll blunts and joints like a mini-humidor,” Bard said.
Humidity packs can easily be added to most pre-roll tubes and as premium cannagar and infused blunts gain in popularity, it’s just a matter of time until an ultra-premium tube comes out to perfectly house your $420 ultra-premium cannagar.
Custom Cones USA are the Pre-Roll Experts, selling everything a business needs to deliver your pre-roll brand to customers. From bulk pre-rolled cones to custom cones and blunts, to pre-roll machines and pre-roll packaging – Custom Cones USA is here to help grow and scale your pre-roll business.
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