As legal cannabis markets surge across the United States, there are also a whole host of related businesses which are taking off with it. One of the biggest of these is cannabis packaging.
Weed packaging regulations can change state-by-state and year-by-year. And in the fast-evolving market, consumer tastes are changing rapidly too. All this adds up to make cannabis packaging not only one of the most profitable areas of cannabis commerce, but one of the most dynamic as well.
Equites recently talked with some of the most successful people in the cannabis packaging business to find out what the most important new innovations in the field are.
- Smell-Friendly Packaging
“People often forget that a product’s packaging can be the first sensory contact they make with their customer, says Pantelis Ataliotis, President of Dr. Dabber. In crowded dispensaries, it’s important to have packaging which speaks to the quality inside.
Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, Co-CEO of The Blinc Group, says that a big component for customers will be the ability to smell what they buy. This can only be achieved through experiential packaging: being able to experience and feel the cannabis product while keeping it in child-proof packaging will be the next big curve with regards to cannabis packaging.”
- Green Packaging
Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of overlap between people who enjoy cannabis and those who are looking out for mother earth. More than one of the pot packaging entrepreneurs spoke to the growing importance of green packaging in the industry.
Lex Pelger, Science Director for Bluebird Botanicals, said his company tries to create sustainable packaging in as many fields as possible. “Our glass bottles are recyclable, the packaging to protect the products is biodegradable and our cardboard comes from recycled sources,” he said. “We also try to use hemp paper and hemp byproducts as much as possible, but that market is still coming to fruition.”
“What has changed is the consumers’ preference for sustainable options over plastics,” added Mitch Britten, CEO of Thrive Cannabis Marketplace and Green & Gold Supply Co. “While we were in the formation phase, sustainability was a fundamental building block for our organization and the concept has influenced nearly every decision we’ve made from cultivation practices, facility design, building materials, but most importantly, our packaging.
One of the most obvious and challenging areas of cannabis packaging is keeping up compliance with new and changing child-proof laws.
Erik Knutson, CEO of CANCORE, notes that these obstacles can also be a good thing for the business. “While challenging for operators, it has presented an incredible opportunity for packaging suppliers,” he said. “The child resistant rules in particular have led to a tremendous amount of innovation and new patents within the space.”
- Luxury Packaging
Like in almost any other media, there’s definitely a market for high-end luxury brands. Some cannabis companies and packagers have found ways to capitalize on that niche.
“We look to high-end, premium products in other industries for inspiration with our packaging,” says Ataliotis of Dr. Dabber. “Our Aurora packaging, which was awarded ‘Best Packaging/Kit’ by High Times magazine, was heavily inspired by a beautiful high-end camera box. We are trying to bring years of experience from more mature industries and introduce it into the cannabis market, but the bottom line is your package should be as good as your product.”
Sasha Kadey, CMO of Greenlane, says he has noticed an important change in the industry. “We are seeing commodity packaging that was purchased solely based on what was available at the cheapest price, replaced with high quality premium packaging that helps cultivators differentiate their product at point of sale. I believe that we will quickly see this taken to the next level with full custom packaging akin to high-end spirits brands…”