Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

There's a Rolling Paper Revolution Going On. Which One Is Right for You?

Customers have become much more discerning about how they want to roll their joints.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Cannabis consumers have never had more choices in rolling paper. Myriad options include classic 1¼-inch-wide paper to double wide, king size from legendary brands like Zig Zag and Raw, and newer, more niche brands like Shine Rolling Papers, which are handcrafted 24K gold rolling papers made with edible gold.

There are different materials for rolling papers: hemp, flax, rice, or wood pulp, for example, and variations in thickness.

But the growing selection of products can be dizzying, as the pace of new products hitting the market shows no signs of slowing down. According to a report from Future Market Insights, the global rolling papers market could reach an astounding $1.1 billion by 2032.

Related: The Fascinating History Of Rolling Paper

Choosing the right rolling paper

"There are many rolling paper options to choose from, so we can be very selective when it comes to stocking our shelves," says Alex Parker, Head of Marketing at Battle Green. "We look for premium, high-quality rolling papers to suit a variety of customer preferences."

He notes that at the company's UpTop Framingham location, they have Higher Standard premium hemp wraps, Vibes rice cones, and organically grown hemp cones. "As we have seen the popularity of pre-rolls increase in Massachusetts, we believe consumer interest in paper quality will also increase," Parker added.

Ryan Shipp, Director of Retail at Native Roots says that rolling paper is one of their most popular accessories and is commonly added on as a purchase for nearly every sale. "We carry both hemp and rice papers at all of our locations, primarily because our customers tend to have a strong preference between one of those top two options," says Shipp.

So how can roll-your-own brands entice discerning canna-connoisseurs in such a crowded marketplace? Four key elements will help your brand stand out from the pack: Quality, consistency, branding, and innovation.

Making your mark

A consistent and high-quality product will always be the foundation for any successful brand experience–whether that's a rich and satisfying cup of coffee or a best-in-class joint or blunt. But there are additional ways that RYO cannabis brands can differentiate themselves (and fend off those pesky counterfeiters).

One way is to leverage advanced technologies and visual cues, such as filigree, a watermark impression on the paper that can be unique to the individual brand owner. Filigree is how RYO brands have historically protected against counterfeiting.

Botani's proprietary gumming technology takes it a step further. An additional layer of complexity guards against counterfeiting and allows brands to make patterns, with profiles, in the gum line itself.

"We are now able to actually print FDA-approved food-grade ink in the gum line where our customers can add their patterns, designs, and logos, providing an incredibly unique design to foil counterfeiters and establish brand awareness even after the paper has been removed from the package," says Alex Boone, Managing Director of Botani.

Blunt wraps

Another segment of the rolling paper market ripe for innovation is blunt wraps. Traditionally, blunt wraps were made of tobacco, but they tended to be brittle, dry, challenging to roll, and prone to breakage. Not an ideal customer experience. Plus, tobacco poses health concerns driving increased demand for other blunt rolling paper options.

In some markets, such as Colorado, state regulations won't allow dispensaries like Native Roots to have nicotine in their products, so the classic tobacco wrap for a blunt is out of the question.

"We have conducted extensive trials and research for the best non-tobacco blunt wrap, and our go-to wrap for our pre-roll Spectra blunts are made with tea tree leaves and infused with cacao to provide the darker oaky taste. And they smell really, really good," says Karyn Burry, Operations Project Manager at Native Roots. The company also offers hemp-infused blunts.

Brands looking to level-up their blunt wrap products and stand out from the competition have several choices from manufacturers, including:

  • An original style hemp wrap for cones.
  • Self-adhering traditional flat blunt wrap with lick-and-stick qualities.
  • A gummed blunt wrap in a booklet for the traditional roll-your-own customer, such as Botani's tobacco-free gummed wraps for blunts.

The gummed wraps are ideal for blunt applications and moisture optimized for slow burning, safe storage, and an extended shelf-life.

With product innovations and improved manufacturing technologies, brands have never had a better opportunity to level up their rolling paper offerings and capture a greater market share.