Custom Cones USA is known as a supplier of compliant pre-rolled cones to commercial operators, but a few weeks ago, the company released a product line targeted at the consumer market. The company hopes to set a new standard for compliance, transparency and safety for pre-roll smoking accessories with the introduction of its DaySavers (pre-roll tubes), Smoke Temples (cross cones) and Fill-a-Blunts (blunt tubes).
The brands have been rigorously tested for heavy metals, microbes and pesticides commonly found in mainstream rolling papers and pre-rolled cones and go beyond the testing and compliance standards set for regulated hemp and cannabis companies.
Cannabis Equipment News (CEN) recently had the opportunity to interview Harrison Bard, co-founder of Custom Cones USA, to talk about why the company targeted the B2C market to combat problems with gimmicks and cheap cones, how it keeps tabs on the supply chain and why it employs an "expert smoking panel."
CEN: Why did Custom Cones USA move into B2C product categories?
Harrison Bard: Custom Cones USA is the industry leader when it comes to pre-rolled cones, especially on the compliance end. We have set and exceeded the standard for how pre-rolled cones and rolling papers are tested for heavy metals, pesticides and microbials. Companies were buying cheap quality pre-rolled cones and blunt products that were failing for all of these dangerous contaminants.
Additionally, there are a lot of marketing gimmicks in the rolling paper and smoking accessories space. For example, people call things all-natural or organic when they are not, and they lie about what the products are actually made of. As we elevated the quality and knowledge around rolling papers in the B2B space, we realized consumers were being done a disservice, so we set out to bring our high level of compliance and testing, transparent labeling, educational product knowledge and innovative product design directly to consumers.
CEN: Why is it important for the company to test the products for heavy metals, microbes and pesticides?
Bard: These three tests are the same tests a finished pre-roll and cannabis flower are being held and tested to, so why wouldn't the rolling papers be tested for these same things? Luckily, there are strict rules for cannabis products, but these same rules don't apply to rolling papers, pre-rolled cones and other smoking accessories. DaySavers set out to change this by placing these standards on ourselves.
Heavy metals are naturally occurring and can commonly be found in paper products since they are made from plants, which absorb these heavy metals from the ground. A variety of health concerns are caused by excessive heavy metal exposure, so you definitely do not want to inhale these. Pesticides can also be found in rolling papers, again because they are made from plants. Pesticides are designed to harm and kill insects, so you definitely want to avoid these as well. Microbials are essentially molds that grow on contaminated surfaces. Cheap quality rolling papers can have molds on them, especially blunt wraps, palm leaves and corn husk filters. People with lung conditions are especially sensitive to mold inhalation, so it's always best to avoid these contaminants.
CEN: How do the QR codes work? Is it complete supply chain traceability?
Bard: The QR codes link directly to the certificate of analysis (COA) for each product so you can see the exact test results from our independent lab. We carefully control our supply chain and ensure each raw material component is tested to these standards, from the rolling papers to the filter materials — and especially the inks. We ensure no materials change, and all materials are tested to ensure no deviation in compliance.
CEN: How does Custom Cones USA oversee its supply chain to help ensure products will hit compliance and testing targets?
Bard: We only source our raw materials from the highest-quality and most reputable suppliers. On top of that, we test all the raw materials to ensure compliance. We conduct regular and random testing with a lab that is not entrenched in the cannabis industry. Many cannabis labs will fudge numbers since they rely on cannabis businesses to stay open, but the lab we chose comes from a food and pharmaceutical background, so they are not relying on cannabis businesses to keep their lights on.
CEN: Where are the products made?
Bard: The rolling papers are made in France, under strict EU regulations, and the pre-rolls are rolled in our factory in Indonesia. All final products and materials are tested here in the U.S.
CEN: How did you come up with the idea for the Perfect Pack?
Bard: We have seen other cone-filling machines that work with gravity, where the flower falls into the cone. These do not provide a nice pack, as there are often soft spots at the bottom of the joint and even throughout. Since we have deep expertise in pre-roll manufacturing, we know exactly what it takes to pack a perfect pre-roll. We have seen every tabletop and automated pre-roll machine, which has helped us understand and develop all our products.
CEN: How does Custom Cones USA use its 'Expert Smoking Panel'?
Bard: The Expert Panel helps us test and get feedback on our products. We send out our products, new ideas, etc., to this group of industry experts and get their feedback to ensure the items are up to their standards. We are able to catch issues and make items better before they get rolled out to the market, so our customers can rest assured they are not only buying thoroughly tested products but that they are also high-quality.
Since the cannabis industry is so new, there are a lot of small companies creating new products and, unfortunately, lots of companies cut corners and rush things to market and consumers are left with poor experiences.