Pre-Ground Weed Is Now a Growing Trend in the Canadian Legal Pot Market
Canada's rapidly building a market for milled, high-quality bud. Which should not be mistaken for mere shake, because it isn't.
Published on February 16, 2023

There was a time when buying your weed already all ground up for you would have been seen as a bit less-than-gourmet among cannabis consumers. But it would appear that in Canada, less and less consumers are turning up their nose at pre-ground dank — and they may have some good points for its purchase backing them up.

Pre-ground or milled weed comes ready to pour into your vape, pipe, or (for the ready-made completist) pre-roll, making it a good option for the toker on the go.

Convenience may be one of the reasons why the product has grown from having nearly a non-presence at the start of 2020 to occupying a full 7.3% of Canadians’ flower purchases in December of last year. Those numbers are based on the data generated by Seattle-based cannabis researchers Headset Analytics via tracking in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan, as reported by MJBizDaily.

It’s certainly not the only easy-to-use weed product that our neighbors to the north are getting into in a major way. Infused pre-rolls are also flying off the shelves in Canada. In the fall of 2020, that same firm, Headset Analytics, announced that the infused pre-roll market had burgeoned by almost 1,100% in the last year. (Tap into our guide on identifying a quality pre-roll if you have jumped on this train yourself.)

In addition to convenience, there are some other surprising benefits to buying weed that has been ground for you though—for one, price point. Pre-ground flower can actually retail for less money than whole flower at around $4 Canadian or roughly $3 USD per gram (a drop from the early 2020 average of $7 Canadian, or $5.25 USD.)  

These buying patterns do not hold out in the United States, where pre-ground flower is still only capturing about 0.9% of the flower market share.

That might be because pre-ground is, “either not resonating with American customers, or brands in the US just haven’t given it a try yet,” Cooper Ashley, manager at Headset, told MJBizDaily.

It also may be because pre-ground weed just does not have that great of a reputation. Even the Canadian cannabis entrepreneurs who have seen the rise in the product’s popularity say that at one point, they were hesitant to even stock the stuff.

“I don’t think the perception was there for milled flower – I think it was seen as maybe inferior to other products,” Canada’s third-biggest pre-ground seller Pure Sunfarms’ vice president Maria Guest said to MJBizDaily. “And that was probably because people thought it was shake and trim.”

Honestly, cannabis snobs with ample time for joint preparation are probably not going to be turning to milled marijuana any time soon. But remember: different strokes for different tokes. At least, that’s what the founder of strain site What’s My Pot and medical cannabis user, Mike, basically told Leafly for a 2022 article:

“This is the battle of the connoisseur versus the practical stoner. It’s certainly not very connoisseur to be smoking, you know, a milled weed blend. It’s not the sort of thing that’s winning any High Times competitions. But at the same time, we are smoking weed every day because we have to, not necessarily because we even want to, right?”

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud.

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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