Packaging has been a challenge for cannabis companies eager to get their products on the market while adhering to regulations.
That’s why “medical marijuana was one of the hot topics at the recent PACK EXPO Las Vegas/Healthcare Packaging EXPO,” according to Packaging World.
At the expo, Presto Products Co.’s Todd Meussling gave an interview on opportunities for packaging companies to work with the cannabis industry, as well as regulations challenges. Presto is a market-leading supplier of products ranging from private label food and disposer bags to packaging closures to soil stabilization materials to specialty stretch films. See the full interview here.
Meussling said, “Whether it’s medical or adult use – one statistic I came across that’s very interesting is that by 2020, the cannabis industry will be at approximately $17 billion. To put that in perspective for packagers, the natural cheese market right now is at about $12 billion.
“So there’s — outside of medical — 20,000 commercial uses for cannabis. When you look at it from a packaging standpoint, every one of those products is going to have an application.”
Meussling said the most common product categories with packaging needs have been inhalants, topicals like lotions, and then edibles, “which is the most substantial category that I see growing.”
Meussling said the packaging industry has the solutions and methods to package, for example, medical cannabis cookies, because they have the experience of packaging cookies. The new element will be the child-proofing requirement that will need to be added, he said.
In 2014, packaging was the ‘Wild West’ as companies tried to get their products on the market quickly. “We’d see products that were over-packaged and under-packaged,” Meussling said.
“The challenges that they’re faced with as I understand are a result of regulations,” he said, adding that there is room for standardization and automation in manufacturing cannabis packaging.
The need for child-proof and odor-proof packaging has led to a variety of industry-specific cannabis packaging companies, including Marijuana Packaging, Green Rush Packaging, and more.
Garett Fortune of FunkSac founded his company after noticing the need for child-proof packaging. “I saw some major gaps for packaging cannabis and noticed that there weren’t currently any packaging that utilized child-lock features to prevent accidental consumption,” he told Cashinbis in 2015.
Cannabis product packaging regulations are similar to those of other legal drugs. For example, they need to be tamper-proof and clearly labeled, with qualifications for any health benefit claims.
California’s 2015 Assembly Bill 266 established packaging requirements for cannabis flowers and edibles throughout California. The California Bureau of Marijuana Control enforces these cannabis packaging laws by imposing fines or revoking the licenses of businesses, according to Green Rush Packaging. Green Rush also lists these requirements:
- Packaging must be clearly labeled as a cannabis or marijuana product.
- The label can’t have any cartoons or other elements that make it attractive to children.
- Labels also need to list information related to the cultivation of the medical marijuana in the product, including the source and the date.
- For dried cannabis flowers or leaves, the business needs to list the weight of product in the package.
- For cannabis edibles, food labeling including whether or not allergens are in the product is required by law.
- Perhaps most importantly for cannabis businesses in California, the label needs to contain precise information about the active chemicals in marijuana, including THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.