Plastic marijuana packaging has become, ah-hem, a growth industry.
With more than 40 percent of all states already allowing medical marijuana, and four of those also permitting recreational use, the packaging for Panama Red, Acapulco Gold and all those other colorfully named strains is heavily dependent on plastics.
Both flexible and rigid packaging helps keep the nation's stash fresh for both the casual smoker in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska and medicinal users in 23 states.
And those packages aren't just holding marijuana plants, as there are a whole host of edibles and concentrates for folks who don't always, or ever, want to light up.
The prevalent pot brownie has long been a chewy, fudgy friend of the marijuana community. But these days, a whole crop of edible products have been developed to allow for the ingestion of marijuana's active ingredient, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Gummy bears. Chocolate bars. Granola. Popcorn. Even infused beverages can deliver THC.
“This side of the industry is huge. We call them edibles. They've proven to be very popular and a lot of people buying them,” said Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily, which reports on medical marijuana and retail cannabis. Those edibles are commonly found in one type of plastic packaging or another.
“Plastic is a huge part of the packaging dynamic in the cannabis industry, and it's only getting bigger,” Walsh said. “And that's because a lot of states are finally introducing regulations around packaging.
“They have a bunch of requirements now, and it really varies by state. There is no one standard across the industry,” he said.
And that's where companies like Kush Bottles Inc. make their mark.
Kush, based in Santa Ana, Calif., dates back to 2010 and was formed by entrepreneurs Nick Kovacevich and Dallas Imbimbo. The two had sold a moving and storage building they had started in college and were looking for their next big thing.
It ended up being weed. More specifically, packaging for weed.
“People were flocking to these medical marijuana dispensaries and purchasing a ton of product. We wanted to get involved,” Kovacevich remembered about when medical marijuana began to flourish.
“One of the things we noticed right away was the packaging was a good niche,” he said. “It kept us on the packaging, plastics side which was a more stable, secure, less gray area. But it got us in the door with the growth of the industry.”
He estimated that about 60 percent to 65 percent of all marijuana packaging his company sells is made from plastic.
Kush has become one of the most recognizable names in the marijuana packaging industry. But make no mistake, there are plenty of other companies out there looking for a piece of the action.
A need for something unique