If It Isn’t Rolled, Is It Even a Pre-Roll?

If you hit a joint at a Washington State party between 2005 and 2009, odds are you were smokin’ on a Kyle Loucks Original. Back then, Kyle wasn’t the guy you invited to play on your intramural soccer team or at your beer pong table, but he did bring one highly in-demand skill to the table—dude could roll a mean a** joint.

It’s easy to get good at rolling joints when it’s your favorite way to consume cannabis. It’s even easier when you consume by the hour. By the time weed went legal in Washington in 2012, a lot of hours and parties had passed, and Kyle was a bonafide joint-rolling expert. Naturally, he was stoked to try his first legal “pre-roll.”

It did not go well.

If you ask him about it, he’ll say the experience was “not acceptable,” which is Kyle-speak for “it was total f**king garbage.” It burned hot. It canoed like an m-fer. And it tasted like hay. Any canna connoisseur knows these are grave offenses.

So Kyle did a little digging. (If you want to activate a stoner, offend their plant.) He visited a buddy’s dispensary and was granted a peek into how the sausage was made. That’s when the illusion of the legal “pre-roll” was completely shattered.

Kyle doing some R&D on automating rolled joint production

Turns out, there was nothing rolled about a “pre-roll.” Rather, these joints were (and most still are) machine-stuffed cones. And the machines required dry AF flower. Of course the end product burned hot, canoed, and tasted like hay. To call it a “pre-roll” was antagonizing and downright misleading. A more appropriate name would’ve been “stuffed cone,” or better yet, “the best way to have the worst smoke sesh.”

This glance behind the curtain of the legal pre-roll world left one burning question in Kyle’s mind: If it isn’t rolled, is it even a pre-roll?

The answer was/is/always will be a resounding “h*ll f**king no,” and so began the development of the BlackBird.

Hotboxing the Garage…for Science

Okay, maybe not for science, per se, but certainly for the greater good. Kyle’s a pretty handy dude, having a mechanical engineering degree and over a decade of experience developing new products. His discovery of The Great “Pre-Roll” Facade couldn’t have come at a better time in his life because, despite being employed full-time and raising three young kiddos with his (clearly patient and understanding) wife, he was on the lookout for a new problem to solve. The fact that this one happened to involve his love of weed and rolling joints pretty much solidified his commitment to it.

Kyle working on an early RollPros Blackbird prototype

The original BlackBird was developed by hand in his garage. It was nothing more than a couple pieces of aluminum with a rail and a rotating belt, but once it presented that first rolled joint, there was no turning back. Pre-rolls could once again be rolled. Stuffed cones could go to h*ll.

It took seven prototypes and a sh*t ton of weed to get the machine market-ready. When QA testing involves smoking a joint (or several hundred) in the peacefulness of one’s garage, it’s easy to stay committed to the project. Even when it wasn’t so easy, the flower kept him coming back.

Early designs of the Blackbird

During these early testing days, several lucky hemp farmers out of Oregon shared their flower with Kyle and bought back their BlackBird-rolled pre-rolls at $0.25 a pop. Needless to say, quite a few stuck around and purchased their own BlackBird once it was ready for market.

Getting High on Kyle’s Supply

2020 was the first year the BlackBird was available for purchase. It wasn’t a hard sell, unsurprisingly, as it turned out nearly everyone manufacturing joints couldn’t stand the disrespect cone-stuffing machines spit out. One hit off a pre-roll rolled by the BlackBird, and the sale was pretty much closed.

Finished and operational Blackbird rolling machine

Since then, RollPros has grown into a well-respected business that does more than answer the question “If it isn’t rolled, is it even a pre-roll?” It also helps cannabis businesses reduce their carbon footprint and become more sustainable, and it encourages their growth by offering customizations and branding options for their pre-rolls. Some businesses have achieved such great success with rolled pre-rolls that they’ve incorporated two or even three BlackBirds into their business because sales have improved so much.

There’s no other machine on the market that does what the BlackBird can do. Now four years since its inception, the BlackBird has rolled almost 70 million joints for consumers across the country. If you’ve hit a rolled pre-roll from a dispensary in the US anytime recently, odds are you were smokin’ on a Kyle Loucks Original.

Dude still rolls a mean a** joint, eh?

If you’re tired of selling stuffed cones as “pre-rolls” and want to do your customers—and your brand—a solid, get in touch with RollPros today. Because the answer to the question “If it isn’t rolled, is it even a pre-roll?” will always be N.O.


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