Navigating the Cannabis Packaging Process

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Even though cannabis has been around for many years in the black market, it is very new to legal commercialization. Even still, it is not federally legal, which leaves many gaping holes in manufacturing, selling, and even packaging processes. Retailers need to professionalize packaging, create products which are recognizable to consumers across different locations, and meet the compliance regulations that are out there, which can be very difficult. 

“As the industry matures, there are more requirements regarding consumer protections and child resistance. Every industry faces these challenges, and thankfully other businesses have solutions available that our industry can leverage,” John Hartsell, Co-Founder of DIZPOT, said. “Soon, the industry will face federal regulations, as well as regarding the FDA, USDA, and Department of Weights and Measures.” 

6 Common Cannabis Packaging Issues

According to CannaCon, there are six common cannabis packaging issues that retailers face:

  1. Child-Resistant Cannabis Packaging & Sustainability.
    Cannabis packaging must be strong enough to be child-resistant as required by legislation, but balancing safety with sustainability is difficult seeing as plastic is frequently used for packaging for its strength. 
  2. Labeling Can Interfere with Branding.
    State regulations may require opaque or clear packaging and warning labels may need to be a specific size or appear in a specific location, but regulations change all the time and this can interfere with retailers branding their products. 
  3. It is Difficult to Stand Out on the Shelf.
    Unlike grocery or liquor stores, dispensaries do not have that much shelf or display space, which leaves brands fighting for the area that is available. Because of all of the competition, it can be difficult to stand out. 
  4. A Lack of Creativity.
    With limited packaging shapes currently available, new products and constantly changing legislation means cannabis packaging issues and an industry screaming out for more innovation. 
  5. Finding a Trustworthy Supplier.
    When looking for cannabis packaging providers, retailers should not only look for innovative packaging, but they should also be sure that they are dealing with a trustworthy supplier who can deliver products on time. 
  6. Making Sure Customers Like Your Packaging.
    Cannabis consumers want packaging that is easy to use and sustainable, so suppliers need to cater to their needs, which means a balance is required when designing it. 

Technology in the Cannabis Packaging Industry

In order to help prevent retailers from running into these issues, or helping them to get out of a problem, technology can assist in multiple different ways. “Technology is expanding and evolving to meet the needs of the cannabis industry to include RFID for risk management and marketing, software to track the supply chain, and machines to automate filling. These technologies may already exist for other businesses and are retrofitted to cannabis or, more often, tech is being developed to meet our specific needs. For example, DIZPOT is developing supply-chain software, an ERP, and other software for our industry,” Hartsell said. 

How to Make Your Packaging Stand Out

Superior customer service and a quality product that delivers consistent results is the only true way of making your product stand out, but until your customers know just how good your products are, catching their eyes with your packaging is key. Some ways to do this is by using a logo that is simple yet memorable, always include the name of your product on the package, include information about how much THC or CBD is infused, and give as much information on the item as possible, such as how it can help with sleep or focus. 

Planning for Compliance Changes

As most cannabis companies should be, as long as you are constantly paying attention to industry news, changes in packaging compliance will not happen overnight. According to Hartsell, regulators sometimes do make decisions in a vacuum with little information regarding impact — however, with attention to decision-makers and their efforts to help professionalize cannabis, rule implementations can be fairer. 

“For instance, we have successfully negotiated timelines for the implementation of packaging and testing for compliance that are reasonable, allowing customers to prepare for the changes by running through old products while also ordering new products on timelines that are efficient and enable profitability. That is a win-win situation for commerce and regulation. We hope for more fair negotiations and cannabis in legal commercial markets as it continues to grow,” Hartsell said. 

The more states that legalize cannabis means the easier it will be for brands to navigate the intense packaging process. Until then, let these tips be your guide to help you deliver top notch products and packages to your customers.

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