Now that the laws are finally starting to change, the marijuana industry is set to become a lot larger. Many companies are rushing to get into this lucrative business, but it’s important to know about the business before you set up shop. Although marijuana is now legal in many states, there are still many regulations that must be followed.
In this article, we will concentrate on the proper packaging of cannabis products. Before you invest your money in a new type of cannabis package, you should review this article for ideas and guidance.
Types Of Cannabis Packaging
In most instances, your choice in marijuana packaging will need to reflect the product inside. For instance, let’s say you are selling dried marijuana buds (which is probably the most common form for this product). You might choose a plastic bag due to its cheapness and simplicity, or you might want to use a jar to maintain freshness and taste more effectively.
On the other hand, there would be no need to use a jar for THC vape cartridges. Since those are already enclosed in a container, they require only a plastic sleeve for anti-theft and display purposes. Because concentrates are usually purchased in very small amounts, smaller containers are needed. These are just a couple of examples of how packaging will vary from one marijuana product to the next. Let’s think about some of these options in greater detail.
Glass jars are probably your best option when you want to maintain maximum freshness. By creating an airtight seal, you isolate the product from everything else. For good cannabis, a pleasant smell is often one of the best selling points of the product. By trapping this smell, a mason-type glass jar is the best option for long-term storage of dried buds.
Unlike plastic containers, glass containers do not impart a smell or taste to the product. That means the customer can enjoy the natural flavor of the bud with no interference. Also, glass jars are usually easy to open and close. That makes it easy for your customers to get a sample of the aroma. In many cases, cannabis aroma is used to distinguish one strain from another. Therefore, your smarter buyers will want to do the smell test before they pay.
Of course, there are some problems with glass jars. For one thing, they are more expensive than plastic containers, and they take up more room in storage. They are also less practical for packaging small amounts. It would be kind of a waste to use miniature glass jars for small-scale purchases.
Plastic bags have always been the most popular way to package cannabis. Of course, the legalization of this product has changed the game. While plastic bags are still popular, they can now be custom-made for this purpose. There are a lot of variations on this package type, but all of them serve the same purpose: They provide cheap and efficient packaging.
Plastic bags can be resealable, and these bags are definitely preferred for cannabis business. When cannabis dries out, it tends to lose a lot of its distinctive look and taste. Consumers don’t like that, so it’s good to give them an easy-seal bag with their purchase. In humid climates, cannabis can also take moisture from the air and become “wet,” making it difficult to smoke and introducing the possibility of mold.
Plastic bags are usually chosen for their low cost, but they aren’t the best in terms of quality. The big problem lies in the durability factor. Most plastic bags are easily torn, and the zipper devices that close them can often malfunction. Also, it is very easy for these bags to seem closed when they are not. Even a small air leak in the seal will render the package useless.
Pop-top plastic vials have become very popular with dispensaries in recent years. These are just small tube-shaped containers with a lid on top. The lid can be “popped” by squeezing the bottle, which causes the trapped air to shoot upward and open the lid. They can also easily be opened with a flick of the thumb. For senior citizens, this easy-opening feature can be a great benefit.
These vials offer a lot more durability than a simple plastic bag, as it would take a much sharper object to cut through their thick plastic. While a plastic bag might be ripped by a thumbnail or a hanging nail, a pop-top will just flex and bend. These containers are a little more expensive than plastic bags, but still quite a bit cheaper than glass jars.
There are a couple of small problems with this package type as well. Some of the cheaper models can impart a slight taste difference to the weed. That is a small problem, but it can be remedied with the use of higher-quality vials. Another problem is the risk of product loss. When you squeeze the vial and pop the top, there is always the chance that some of your cannabis might pop out as well! Finally, we should also consider the fact that these containers are not child-resistant or tamper-proof.
Wide-Mouthed Plastic Jars
These are very similar to the pop-top containers, except that they are usually opened with a screw-off top. They are wide enough to get your fingers into the jar, so that makes them quite convenient. At the same time, they offer more security than a pop-top and can hold just as much product as a glass jar. Like a glass jar, these are usually airtight and well-sealed. These little “canisters” come in many sizes, with the smaller ones being used for concentrates.
These small jars can be vulnerable to crushing in transit, as they are often made of thin plastic. If you opt for these wide-mouth jars, make sure you get them fairly thick. These containers are quite popular but are not practical for large packages.
How Much Difference Will Packaging Make?
Regardless of which package type you choose, your choice of package type will make a big difference in your sales figures. Product packaging is the first point of interaction between the product and the consumer, so it makes a big difference. In fact, this study found that packaging and price were the two most influential factors for most consumers.
Obeying The Law
Marijuana is still heavily regulated on many levels. It is important to remember that you are walking a fine line between legal activity and criminal activity when you open up a marijuana business. But where is the line? That is simple. The difference lies in your ability to follow the regulations in your state.
Of course, the law doesn’t make it easy or simple. At present, there are no national standards in place regarding the proper packaging of marijuana products. In the absence of accepted standards, each state is allowed to regulate this matter as they see fit. That’s why you need to research the laws in your state and find out what is required.
Every State Is Different, So Do Your Research
Thankfully, it’s not all that hard to research these packaging laws. For a start, you might check out this website. It offers a state-by-state guide to marijuana packaging laws, but you shouldn’t stop your research there. Once you have a rough idea about the laws in your state, make sure you look up the actual statutes. Otherwise, you will be staking your business and reputation on the research of an unknown person.
These labeling regulations will vary a lot from state to state. For instance, let’s consider the cannabis packaging laws of California. As one of the most pro-cannabis states in the union, its laws are not particularly strict. However, the law requires cannabis manufacturers to follow the following rules:
- All product labels must include a universal symbol for cannabis
- The package must include the weight or volume of the product
- Labels for edibles must include the words “cannabis-infused”
- Every layer of cannabis packaging must include a separate label
- Labeling cannot include the name of any California county unless 100% of the product was produced in that county
- Cannabis products cannot be marketed to children via cartoon character mascots
- Packages for marijuana edibles cannot show a picture of the product
- Labeling must not include any unproven health claims
This is just a partial list, so check the link above if you are operating in California. While some of these regulations might seem frivolous, all of them exist for good reasons. For instance, edible products cannot show a picture of the product. This rule is meant to keep products like cookies and brownies from being marketed to children. Besides, you have to comply with these laws, whether you like them or not!
For comparison, let’s look at a state with stricter laws on this matter. West Virginia has not legalized cannabis for recreational use, nor have they decriminalized its use. However, medicinal use is legal in WV, so a dispensary can still do business in that state. Of course, the rules are a little tighter, and include the following:
- Cannabis products can only be sold to qualified and licensed patients
- Labels must contain percentage values for a variety of compounds including THC, CBD, and all other cannabinoids
- All packages must be child-resistant
- Only unopened packages can be sold
- Cannabis packages must be airtight
- Packages must be completely opaque
- All cannabis products must be sold in resealable packages
Again, this is not a complete list, so consult the link above for more information if you are operating in West Virginia. While California’s cannabis laws might be a little restrictive, West Virginia’s cannabis laws are much tighter. You are also likely to suffer greater penalties if you break the law in this state. Companies that operate in “medical use only” states will have to be a lot more careful.
A Set Of General Guidelines
Most of us aren’t legal experts. And so, in order to make your legal research a little easier, we would like to offer a set of general guidelines that should be followed in any state. These rules are taken from a proposal made by the National Association of Cannabis Business:
- Child-resistant packaging should always be used, even if the product is not displayed in that packaging
- Edibles should be separated into 1-dose portions for added safety and convenience
- Any product containing THC should have a label indicating such
- All batches of cannabis products should be numbered for easy tracking
- Labels must not contain unproven claims or false/misleading information
- Product labeling cannot deliberately appeal to minors
- All cannabis product labels should contain a list of ingredients
- All labels must show the percentage of THC that the product contains
- Labels should also indicate place of origin/cultivator information
- Edibles should contain special warnings about the possibility of food allergens
- Labels for edibles should also mention that the product requires 1-2 hours to take effect
Of course, these rules do not carry the force of law, but they might become the basis for federal regulations in the future. Many of these regulations are based on existing state laws, while others are the invention of the NACB.
Because cannabis is still mired in a legal “middle ground,” those who sell this product have to deal with a lot more oversight and a lot more regulations. Still, the cannabis business is booming, and it shows no signs of stopping. For those who can regulate this maze of rules, the rewards can be great indeed. We hope that our article has been helpful to you and that you have enjoyed our work. If so, you can show your gratitude by following us on Facebook.