Ones to Watch: The Roller Economy

The professional roller scene has exploded, but not all rolls are created equal. In this roundup, we present to you the cream of the crop.
roller
Photo by @Terpshotz

At the end of last year I wrote a piece for our December issue about the roller economy that was sprouting up. Titled ‘the Year of the Hash Hole’ I detailed how thanks to the Hash Hole, rolling seems to have become its own profession. Sure, there were always people rolling the prerolls to throw into branded containers – much preferred to the ‘machine packed’ types – but now these rollers are developing a demand of their own, with some now offering their credibility to the brands inside the wraps as opposed to the other way around. It’s a wild time.

In that piece I mention some of the brands that have proliferated this skillset so far. Those brands included Fidel’s, arguably the reason Hash Holes have become a household name, as well as cult-favorites Dan’s Roll Ups, Chaliques, Artisan Cannagars, and Pixie Stix. While each of these have their own unique sauce that propels them, such as Dan’s ability to source the rarest flower and rosin the market has to offer, or Chaliques’ ‘forced collabs’ which pair flavors based on their personal palate regardless of whether or not the brands click, it’s worth noting that these guys are coming up rolling more than just hash holes. I threw Pixie on the last piece to try and illustrate that point, as his hash paper joints are one of my favorite smoking experiences despite not involving rosin, and the hash being on the outside, but there’s far more to detail.

So, in that spirit, I decided to pen an update. This time, I’ve rounded up a few more of what I consider ‘Godfathers’ of the space, many of whom have been doing this since before hash holes rose to the level of demand they have, as well as a collection of rising stars that I’m digging right now. If there are any names you think I should know about that I missed, feel free to let me know about ‘em here.

Godfathers of the Space:

The Grasshoppa

Courtesy The Grasshoppa

I’m starting this list off with Grasshoppa because she is one of the first *consistent* professional rollers I noticed building a wave. Having rolled joints on-site for more brands than I can count, Grasshoppa has been doing this for a long time, and not just rolling bars, either. I’m sure you’ve seen smokable art before, well I found out about Grasshoppa at a National Joint League table back at an in-person Cannabis Cup, however many years ago. Sure she’s good at rolling joints, but she’s also insanely good at rolling joints of Disney characters. Her Yoda joint is still one of my favorites. Anyway, Grasshoppa was also one of the first people I saw branding her skillset, and releasing products like premium cones for when she’s not around herself. When we’re talking about the torchbearers for this new movement, she’s leading the pack.

All Thai’d Up

Courtesy All Thai’d Up

The first time I heard the name All Thai’d Up was back when the Hash Hole wave was just emerging, and everyone was still calling them Donuts. This is probably the first ‘hyphy’ brand I noticed. When people would pull out an All Thai’d Up in the wild, people seemed to respond, and it was one of my first tastes of what would come. Born out of a hatred for the prerolls of the time, ATU was created for the community to ensure that they were getting exactly what they paid for when acquiring such a luxury item – from presentation to performance. Hailing from Sacramento, but recognized in hype circles across the country, All Thai’d Up was one of the originators of this *premium* roll space. They have no active page and I have no idea how their drops work, but keep an eye out for the logo above and if you happen to spot it, don’t sleep.

Roll BMC

Courtesy Roll BMC

The founder of Loaded Co, Dan was the first roller I ever saw with a proprietary rolling technique. Back in the 215 days, the vast majority of the big players in LA had a Loaded collab, but they were also killing it without even needing to brand what was inside. After 64 passed I would buy his old blunt rolls from players who could no longer sell them in their legal stores, and honestly I was thoroughly addicted to them. They were the single best smoking experience I had ever tried at that time. The legalization push didn’t kill Loaded though, they just switched to papers, and have ridden this hash hole wave with grace. Now available in both California as well as Nevada, these guys continue to be a fan favorite.

Sturt’s Doinks

Courtesy Sturt’s Doinks

When we talk about a premium smoking experience – which let’s face it, thanks to the price tag, these things are whether or not they’re rolled effectively – it’s important to make sure you’re shopping with someone who cares about how the product smokes, not just what’s inside. Sturt is one of those guys focusing on the full 360 of their product, leaving no stone unturned, or consumer unstoned. You see, you know that old adage about how to get to Carnegie Hall? The answer being Practice, practice, practice? Well, that’s basically what makes Sturt’s Doinks so special – it’s like his hands are now incapable of making something that doesn’t smoke perfectly. I’m sure he’ll laugh when he sees this because the truth is likely that those rolls just never make it out into public, but to that I will double down and say that that’s all the more reason why you should tap in – because he cares just as much about your consumption experience as you do.

The Puro Company

Another OG, while Puro does roll Hash Holes – or White Walls, as he calls them – he’s actually the closest thing to a traditional ‘professional roller’ on this list. That is to say, Puro rolls blunts, and out of high quality full tobacco leaves, akin to the traditional cigar rollers. In fact, Puro was one of the first guys producing what felt to me like real cannabis cigars, and not just something trying to be excessive. Watching him work is reminiscent of something you would’ve seen in a nice Italian restaurant back in the day, and the smoking experience is just as smooth. I show these to regular backwood or wrap smokers and they almost always ask how the leaf is so thin, and how he removed the harshness from the tobacco. Rolling cigars has been an art since the days of the Mayan’s, Puro’s just carrying on the tradition in our language.

CGO

Courtesy CGO

Our final inclusion for the Godfather section, he’s been doing this for awhile, and is merchandising, but what makes CGO special and deserving of this callout is his ability to bring people together. CGO isn’t just satisfied by rolling at other people’s events. No, this guy’s throwing his own, and not small ones either. Having thrown Hash Hole island earlier this year in Isleton, CA, and now attempting to start ‘National Hash Hole Day’ on 11/30 in Los Angeles, CGO is a great example of what happens when you’re not satisfied with the status quo, and keep pushing to bring things to a new level. From his press rolling kits, to the team he’s been mentoring, I’m excited to watch him continue to rise.

Rising Stars:

Rome Rolls Bars

Courtesy Rome’s Rolls

True to the name, Rome does roll excellent bars, but arguably more than anyone else on this list, Rome likes to amaze with the bells and whistles. From a 3D-printed functional Knight’s Helmet container to a jar filled with doob ‘swords’ in sheaths, Rome is bringing new ideas, and fun, back into the game. His creativity is top tier, as I’ve never seen anyone even attempt to do the level of complexity his projects entail, but the limited nature of these drops keeps them all moving incredibly quick. I should note, this shouldn’t be read like the smoking experience isn’t elite as well, because it is, with some insanely flavorful combos, which are always detailed somewhere within his creative package.

Rolls by the Hare (Oink Doinks)

Courtesy Rolls by the Hare

When we talk about standing out as a brand, one of the most important things you could do is make yourself clearly identifiable. In the past for rolls this has been a branded filter, or cigar band; you can tell Hare’s joints because they’ve got multiple molten cores. Coining Oink Doinks, or a double barrel rosin core that when burning looks like a pigs nose, these are expert level products. I’ve heard he’s rolled as many as 6 cores so far, which honestly sounds insane, but I’m sure that’s exactly what some of you out there are after. I learned about him through his work with Viola a while back, and while I’ve seen plenty of others start doing the dual or triple cores online since, he’s still holding down the title for the only one I’ve seen producing them consistently.

Phantom Rolling Co

Courtesy Phantom Rolling Co

One of the first rollers hailing from Michigan that I was taking notes on was Phantom. He gave me a wrap of Pink Runtz flower with Death Coast rosin a while back that lit me up in the most delicious way possible, and I’ve honestly never forgotten about it. It was one of the sweetest smokes I’ve ever tasted. Now having launched his own hand-rolled line onto the rec market out there, aptly called ‘the Joint’, with Michigrown, Phantom’s proving that rolling isn’t just a fun parlor trick, but real business – even on the recreational market.

Bruno

Courtesy Bruno

Now I’ve known of Bruno for awhile now, so I don’t want this to seem like he’s some brand new face, but the way I’ve seen his team taking over up north recently is worth calling attention to. He’s been working the event scene for awhile now. I probably first saw him working an event with Grasshoppa almost 3 years ago? Maybe longer, time is an illusion. Anyway, at CGO’s hash hole island earlier this summer, Bruno’s rolls were everywhere. You see, Bruno’s been sharing his tech, and amassing a team of rollers to take on bigger orders for some of the most well-known brands in the space today, and it seems like business is booming. Producing both straight bars and hash holes, I have yet to try one of Bruno’s rolls that I didn’t absolutely love.

General Purpose

A great example of a brand making waves without even needing to put hash in the middle of their rolls, General Purpose has come up solely off a flower fatty, which makes my soul smile. The official doink of Doja Pak, I first saw this name popping up at his Thursday Sessions last year, and in the kits he would drop with new phenos, and there’s just something about the feel of these things that makes me wish I could smoke these repeatedly. Seriously, if I had the option to give up my own handroll to smoke these all the time, it would be a no brainer.

Head Stash LA

Courtesy Head Stash LA

I’ve been seeing Head Stash’s bands and bright colored tips popping up more and more lately, but today I’m taking my hat off to him for being a true professional with this shit, even in a bumpy environment. I’ve personally watched Head Stash roll some top quality hash holes in the back of a moving vehicle, multiple times, on the last judges retreat for the Emerald Cup, so while I know all of these guys listed can roll in a stable environment, I think it’s important to note when someone can do stunts with the shits too. I know he also washes hash, so for those of you looking to get the freshest possible roll available on the market right now, this is your guy.

Never Better Rolls

Courtesy Never Better Rolls

This one’s a bit more interesting on the brand regard as Mikey, the guy who started it, can’t actually roll at this caliber himself. While he’s responsible for the branding and sales, it’s actually his buddy Rich that rolls them for him. Started as a true business rather than born out of passion – although you could definitely say he’s incredibly passionate about smoking a good roll – Mikey saw what was happening with the hash hole wave and realized that while selling weed wholesale was cool, this was a way for him to actually reach consumers directly, as opposed to just pushing other people’s gear. While it’s still other people’s gear, of course, Mikey sources the product based off his preferences, and is very likely the one who will put it into your hand. Once you meet him you’ll see, but he’s one of those guys that you kind of just want to give your money to, and since the product smacks it’s real easy to go back for more.

GT Rolling Co

Courtesy GT Rolling Co

I first caught wind of GT about a year ago, but they haven’t seemed to slow up. Another pro based in Detroit, Michigan, GT’s not only holding down the pure flower bars, but also tapping into the hash hole wave with their Flintstoned line. What stood out to me most about GT though wasn’t their ability to create a logo or brand a doob tube – it was the flavor their joints produce. IDK if there’s some secret sauce in their papers or filters, but every one of the rolls I’ve had from them have tasted like there was no paper involved, just pure terps. While I don’t get to tap in with them as often as I’d like, I can see from afar that they’re also tapped in with some of the hottest names in the Michigan market, so I don’t expect things to slow down over there anytime soon.

Rolled By G

Courtesy Rolled By G

G’s not so much a new name, in fact he’s been doing this a while and I’ve included him in my Cop List before, but this mention is due to the way he’s gone from a professional roller into a full fledged rolling factory brand, in like, no time. Currently rolling most of the donuts you see from the Backpack Boyz, including the Parlay Mochilatti I’m a massive fan of (I brought 10 back to New York with me this trip), G seems to stay working with the hyphiest names on the street, and pumping them out en masse. His team is currently producing hundreds of rolls every day, so if you’re not familiar yet, expect to be real soon.

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2 comments
    1. you mean pixie stix? i mentioned him in the first section, and in the first story he’s got a whole paragraph. but if you actually mean ‘piff stix’ i have never heard of that roller. i know a piff sticks that is a vape co though, which obviously doesn’t apply here… but if they’ve got a page or something link me.

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