Marijuana Packaging: Things You Need to Know

When you think of your favorite products, you can likely picture the container they come in. Think back to when you started buying groceries on your own. You probably looked for labels that looked like the ones your parents had at home when you were young. You may not know the name, but you could recognize the product in a sea of options.

Whether it’s a color scheme, a logo, or even the shape of the package itself, branding and packaging are essential for companies. That includes cannabis companies.

The cannabis industry is booming—in the United States and beyond. More states are starting to legalize marijuana use for recreational and medical use. This growth is inspiring many companies to get into the cannabis industry as quickly as possible.

This growth also presents marijuana producers with a unique challenge: standing out from the crowd.

When customers walk into their local cannabis dispensary, they will see many products. Growers will want to make sure their brand and their products stand out and are easily recognizable.

That’s quite the challenge. But, there are still more you need to consider as you create marijuana packaging for your cannabis products. See what they are below.

1. Create Your Brand 

If you are a new company just launching in the marijuana world, you will need to decide what your branding will look like. That includes your logo, graphics you want to incorporate onto all your packaging, and even font size.

You’ll need to choose colors that meet your brand’s identity and the general aesthetic you want to convey. And, of course, you’ll need to find your brand’s voice.

As you design all this, you’ll also want to keep in mind that you want your brand to be distinct and stand out from all the other options consumers have. Your brand is the first step in making your company and your products stand out from the crowd.

2. The Right Containers

Choosing the correct container to store your product in is another essential part of creating your marijuana products. Selecting the best container is not only a part of your brand and the way your products are presented, but the correct container can also maintain the quality of the product inside it.

There are many types of cannabis containers available, each offering its benefits and designed to store specific products. You will likely need to use different types of containers if you market multiple kinds of products.

Common containers marijuana companies use include:

  • Glass jars. These are often used to store both marijuana flowers and even cannabis concentrates that could stick to other types of containers. It is essential to make sure they are airtight to prevent air from degrading the product inside. You also don’t want them to be bigger than it takes to store the product, as too much space will allow extra air to get in there.
  • Silicone jars. Suitable for short-term storage, silicone jars can be used to store many items. They are not airtight, so they do not make the ideal container for things that will be stored long-term. If you decide to use silicone jars as part of your packaging, make sure you choose a medical-grade option. And keep in mind, your customers may need something to help their product last longer once purchased. Be sure to include instructions on how to store your product long-term.
  • Mylar bags. These are among the most popular, if not the most popular, bags for storing cannabis. They are airtight and light-proof, which are essential to keeping your product protected and retaining its quality. They are also smell-proof, which makes them even more appealing to customers. These are ideal for packaging cannabis buds but probably are not the best option for packing other products like cannabis concentrates.

3. Think About Your Target Demographic

Who is your ideal customer? Who are you selling your products to? Knowing the answer to these questions is essential when it comes to creating your marijuana packaging and even your branding in general.

Perhaps you want to appeal to a younger demographic. Then you will probably want to keep your packaging fun and bright. Maybe you want your products to reflect a more high-end and luxurious line.  Or, perhaps you want to target older people or market to the medical marijuana community. Your packaging would need to look different than marijuana packaging that is catered to recreational users.

In addition to helping you craft the look of your marijuana packaging, knowing your target audience can dictate what your packaging is made out of. More and more people are trying to be environmentally friendly. Perhaps choosing a biodegradable container would be the best option? Or, you may want to include instructions on how to properly dispose of your packaging to prevent it from getting tossed in the trash inappropriately.

Do you want your customers to be able to re-use your containers? Invest in quality packaging that will hold up against re-use and include information on how users can re-use them, whether to store more cannabis products or other uses. 

By understanding who you wish to buy your marijuana products, you can better create a package that reflects them and their values.

4. State Compliance Laws

Though marijuana use has been legalized in most states, it is very regulated. What makes it even more confusing is that every state has its guidelines and requirements for cannabis packaging.

These guidelines include listings of what specific information needs to be incorporated into each package. Each state also has restrictions on the package appearance, such as if it should be opaque. They impose specific disclaimer language that the companies need to include.

State guidelines can also change quickly and frequently. So, when designing your packaging, it’s a good idea to stay flexible and have a plan in place on how to implement changes should they occur suddenly. 

Keeping on top of all these regulations can be challenging. After all, you have other parts of the business to focus on too. This is why it may be a good idea to hire professionals with experience in the cannabis industry to create your package design. You may also want to have a compliance officer on staff to monitor any changes that occur. You’ll save time and have peace of mind that your package is the best it can be.

5. Keep the Product Safe and Secure

Your marijuana packaging must also be:

  • Child-resistant
  • Tamper-evident
  • Sealed

One of the reasons each state has so many regulations is to keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and children. As such, having child-resistant packaging is critical, especially if your cannabis products are things that would appeal to children, such as chocolate or gummies, which they may not realize are cannabis-infused and not for them.

Tamper-evident packaging is vital in protecting your customers. This regulation came about during the Tylenol scare and is still essential today. Tamper-evident packaging will notify customers if someone has previously opened the product so they can choose another one.

Finally, your products will need to be sealed. This seal will help preserve the freshness of your products and give your customers peace of mind that they are getting a quality product. Plus, having a resealable package helps customers keep the product protected between uses.

6. Keep Functionality in Mind

Though your packaging will need to be child-resistant, you also want it to be functional and easy for adults to use. Your package design should be easy to figure out to open and break the seal. Few things are as frustrating as buying something, then not being able to open it.

You may also want to design your packaging with storage in mind. Your customers may not use all the products in one session. Will they need to purchase another bag or item to store their item? Though your package should be resealable, you’ll also want to make sure it can function well as a storage container.

This is yet another reason why choosing the right container is so important (see #2).

Beyond Packaging Your Product

In addition to selling marijuana products like flowers and cannabis, many retailers sell accessories such as lighters and even stickers or t-shirts with their company logo on them. While some of these items can be sold unpackaged, some will need to be packaged.

As you design your logo and packaging, think about how you can carry over your brand elements onto other merchandise as well. After all, accessories make great advertising for you when users carry them around.

Bring in the Professionals

Like we mentioned before, designing your cannabis packaging (and your logo) is a big deal. And you will likely want to bring in professionals to help you tackle these jobs.

There are many companies out there that have resources to help you as you look at designing cannabis packaging and even crafting a brand for your company. But you’ll want to make sure they specifically have experience in the cannabis industry as they’ll know the complexities you face in your branding. For example, did you know some states do not allow bright colors or cartoons on marijuana products?

Bringing in the Money

Once you have your logo created, your brand established, and your packaging designed, you are ready to sell. You may sell your cannabis products in your dispensary. You could also have other dispensaries to handle the sale of your products on your behalf. Or, perhaps you are doing both so you can reach even more people.

Whatever way you sell your products, you will need to be able to accept and process payments. This is one of the final team members you’ll need to bring in as you get your cannabis store up and running.

Using a professional payment processing service can help make it possible to accept payment, get your sales tax submitted to the state in which the product was sold, and even help manage delivery and shipping.

Plus, you will likely want to be able to track how certain products are performing. Many payment processors offer reporting tools to help you monitor all that and more.

Finally, being in the cannabis industry can make it challenging to find someone to process your payments. So, finding a payment processing provider that specializes in that area is a bonus.

In Conclusion

The branding and packaging of products are vital for many reasons:

  • It helps products stand out.
  • It makes it easy for customers to find your product quickly.
  • It is a quick way to show what your company is about.

But, when it comes to marijuana branding and packaging, there is so much more to consider. Businesses like yours have a lot to take into consideration. Not only do you need to keep general branding and packaging best-practices in mind, but you also have to consider other things as well, such as:

  1. Your brand in a crowded market.
  2. The container(s) you use.
  3. Your targeted demographic.
  4. State law regulations.
  5. Protecting your product.
  6. Keeping the packaging useful beyond the shelf.

That’s a lot to keep in mind. Many companies may find it helpful to bring in professionals with experience designing for marijuana companies to make this process easier. Two heads are better than one when it comes to creating the perfect package. You’ll also want to consider having a compliance officer on your staff to monitor the ever and quickly changing state regulations.

Don’t forget to design packaging and logos for any accessories you sell as well. These may or may not need to be packaged to sit on the shelf but should not be forgotten.

Have fun creating your packaging and your brand. This is your chance to connect with your customers and give them a genuinely innovative package that meets their needs and helps your products stand out from the rest while on the dispensary shelf.