As an avid cannabis consumer and businessman, George Allen had had enough of the big bulgy joints that some pass around like teenagers sharing cans of White Claw. He’s more aligned with adults sipping Bordeaux—and everyone having their own glass.
As chairman of Lowell Farms, a purveyor of legal cannabis, Allen has an advantage over the garden-variety pothead: He can design, produce and market his fantasy spliff. On Thursday, he released the Lowell 35’s, which he’s calling “the joints of my dreams.”
The new product is named for the 3.5 grams of indica, sativa or hybrid in each pocket-sized pack, which contains 10 pre-rolls as elegant as a slender European cigarette.
“It has the amount of flower that is perfect for a single session for one person,” Allen told Robb Report, noting each one has just 350 milligrams compared to the full gram in a standard pre-roll. “It is long enough to light in your mouth. It has balance and comfortable hand-feel. You will not need to extinguish it and relight it later—which is a sacrilege when you’re smoking the best weed.”
But making a sleek, grown-up joint was a challenge. The standard technique for creating legal-market pre-rolls is primitive: A device called a Knockbox vibrates as weed drops into pre-rolled cones of cigarette paper. Going beyond that and getting the suitable hardware to make the 35’s was a journey.
Lowell began by purchasing a high-volume cigarette rolling machine known as the Mark VIII—but it didn’t translate to cannabis. “We tried for years getting it to work,” he says. “It gums up quickly, after a couple minutes of run time, and you spend hours cleaning it. Plus, cannabis gets caught in the machine and does not go into the stick. Using it, you lose two-thirds of potency and five percent of weight.”
After hired engineers failed to produce a machine equal to the task, Allen learned about a Canadian cannabis company with a version very much like the one he imagined. So he did the sensible thing and bought the firm. In short order, the machine was producing as many as 150,000 joints daily (compared to 10,000 using the Knockbox). And there’s more capability on the horizon: “By the end of next year we will have eight machines doing 1.2 million sticks per day.”
He’s confident consumers will appreciate the efforts. “There are people who like things that are machine-made.” In a world still reeling from Covid, “they prefer that [the joints] are not being touched by hands. Also, rolling them on a machine brings consistency and reliability.”
Most important of all is the quality. “Most of our competitors put in trim [not-so-potent leaves] and additives; ours are all bud,” says Allen. “You can’t lie about what is in a jar but most consumers will not cut open a pre-roll. We invite people to cut ours open.”
Plus, they look a lot cooler than passing around a joint at a party. “I’m always about releasing a product that makes you feel good about showcasing your choice,” Allen says. “Lowell 35’s empower cannabis smokers who are looking to get away from the notion that all consumers are stoners in hoodies.”