CULTURE

Smoking Weed With Traditional Pre-Rolled Leaves From India? It's A Marvelous Thing.

You might want to try these natural pre-rolls for your next blunt.
You might want to try these natural pre-rolls for your next blunt. / Image courtesy of Herbal Goods Co.

If your smoking method of choice is rolling a joint, you may be familiar with the struggle of trying to find papers that work for you. From unsavory smell and harsh effects to canoeing and gross aftertaste, bad papers are enough to turn someone off from rolling for good.

But wait--imagine a world where, instead of having to pick a pack of papers and hope for the best, you could pack your weed into leaves hand-rolled in India? 

You can now try this yourself thanks to the entrepreneurial minds behind the Canada-based Herbal Goods Co. And it turns out these leaves from India make for the “smoothest and cleanest pre-roll you’ll ever experience.”

The Birth of Something Beautiful

Herbal Goods Co packaging
If other cultures are doing something cool, why not embrace it? / Image courtesy of Herbal Goods Co.

When Canada legalized cannabis for adult-use in 2018, the co-founders and life partners Oscar Bonilla, Jr. and Jess Freeman started planning Herbal Goods Co., a concept they’d thought of five years earlier during a trip to India.

“We had gone to India for a language course, and we began to notice how people smoked cigarettes out of these tiny rolled leaves. We were like, what is this?” Bonilla says. 

After noticing several people rolling with these leaves over the course of the next few weeks, Bonilla and Freeman discovered that these were ebony leaves, the local “paper” of choice for tobacco rollers. They tried the leaves for themselves and were blown away by how insanely smooth the hits were. 

“When the cannabis industry started coming to fruition in Canada, we were like, remember those leaves? What if we made pre-rolls with them?” Bonilla says.

They began the process of trial and error, which took a lot more effort than either of them had anticipated. “We partnered with a cigarette company and reformed all of our molds, grids, and drying processes. There were patents, industrial designs to submit...it was a long, stressful process.”

The duo met with industry leaders, doing their best to put together the pieces and figure out exactly how they could make this work on their terms. 

Eventually, the team successfully worked the leaves into something that could house what is Herbal Goods Co. today: 88-millimeter long pre-rolled cones waiting to be stuffed with your favorite weed and smoked in a completely guilt-free, eco-friendly fashion. 

Uplifting Women and Keeping the Tradition

tools for creating pre-rolls
These pre-rolls are manufactured in India using traditional, eco-friendly methods. / Image courtesy of Herbal Goods Co.

Beyond the brand’s desire to innovate the way weed is rolled up and smoked, the Herbal Goods Co. story is one that celebrates creative entrepreneurship, empowering women, learning from other cultures, and educating the world on cannabis and eco-friendly consumption. 

Once Bonilla and Freeman realized they had something special, the duo began hiring locally, employing a talented Bengalese workforce made up of 85 percent women. 

“Our team works from their village, and they all have a lot of responsibility there, especially the women, taking care of their family and performing roles within the community as well. This is a generational, solidified industry, and we don’t plan on disrupting that,” Bonilla says. 

The women have been crafting these leaves in these factories for centuries, and Bonilla and Freeman were determined to ensure their process continued to work for them and cater to their specific needs. 

While other cannabis companies opt for medically-sterile buildings with stainless steel countertops, Herbal Goods Co. can confidently and honestly say that’s never going to happen. “We’re keeping it all localized, and every company we work with is just going to have to accept that,” Bonilla says. 

The cones are crafted in India and then sent to Vancouver for final approval before they are distributed for sale. And while cannabis isn’t legal worldwide, rolling papers are, so you can order Herbal Goods Co. pre-rolls from anywhere in the world. 

Another thing Herbal Goods Co. can confidently say is that no one else in the cannabis accessory industry is doing exactly what they’re doing. Each leaf takes about 15 days to craft into a pre-roll, and that doesn’t even include the 50-day sun-dry process.

The brand also recently redid their entire packaging system to be fully eco-friendly. The cases the pre-rolls come in can be composted, and many customers end up adding soil and growing seeds of their own. 

Overall, Herbal Goods Co.’s mission is to innovate the cannabis industry on an ecological and social level, both doing good for the environment and creating programs and resources for those interested in getting involved in the movement. 

“Our next goal is to implement give-back programs, where we give back to the communities our workers reside in. We want to provide them with the tools they need to create art and continue to learn and expand,” Bonilla says. 

They’re also looking into using different materials in future models, like rose leaves or corn husks. Herbal Goods Co. is hoping to expand their reach in a way that is organic and true to the goodness of their product. 

What Herbal Goods Co. is doing today is an excellent example of the conscious consumerism cannabis lovers would like to see more of in the cannabis industry and beyond.

“At the end of the day, we just want to be recognized as a solid-ass company that’s actually trying to make a change--not just saying they are,” Bonilla says.

“A lot of other accessory products in the industry have the platform and ability to change things up and be less wasteful, but they’re not taking that initiative. We’d love a chance to come onto that platform and really make a difference.”

Here’s what happened when we tried these pre-rolls

Herbal Goods Co Pre-Roll Ash
White ash is a telling sign of a pure smoke. / Image courtesy of Herbal Goods Co.

Herbal Goods Co. was kind enough to send me a pack of pre-rolls to try for myself, and I can attest fully to their intent. Before I even finished inhaling my first hit, I thought to myself, “This is about to be the smoothest joint I’ve ever smoked.” And it was. 

Smoking joints has never really been my go-to--my method of choice is always my bong. However, the Herbal Goods Co. pre-rolls are truly designed for function, no matter what kind of smoker you are. 

The taste was immaculate, the smell was refreshing and not overwhelming, and there was absolutely no canoeing--a rare feat for a pre-roll. 

Lastly and most importantly, I didn’t feel any sort of harshness or pressure on my lungs, which usually happens when I smoke joints. Herbal Goods Co.’s ebony leaves are so smooth, it almost felt like I wasn’t smoking at all.

Cannabis connoisseurs who prefer to roll are usually hesitant at best and judgmental at worst in regards to pre-rolled cones--after all, the process of rolling up is undeniably ritualistic. However, don’t let this deter you from trying out Herbal Goods Co.’s product. 

While you may not be the one rolling these leaves, the care and intent that went behind each pre-roll is palpable when you spark up, and the first pull you take is a mini-ritual in itself. 

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