Chicago — As the stigma of marijuana use — both medicinally and recreationally — continues to wane in the United States, more plastics packaging companies are embracing the market.
That was clearly evident at Pack Expo in Chicago, where companies openly displayed a willingness to jump into the market.
Companies, both private and public, are typically risk adverse, so the fact that one of the largest plastics processing companies in the world is now openly talking about cannabis packaging signals both a market opportunity and a cultural shift.
But Berry Global Group Inc. CEO Tom Salmon made one thing perfectly clear: His Fortune 500 firm is only interested in the legal cannabis market.
"As you see the proliferation of legalization of cannabis, of medical-grade marijuana, there has to be a responsible way to package it. So why not take advantage of those years of expertise, knowledge and know-how to deliver value to those customers that are using it for medical purposes, and in states where it is legal for recreational purposes, in a responsible way?" Salmon said in an interview on the show floor.
"This is taking advantage of a packaging know-how. If you think about what we are trying to do, we're supporting, in all instances, a legal industry, right? A legal business on a state-by-state basis, region-by-region basis," he said. "We're not, obviously, going to drift beyond those confines."
Todd Meussling, senior manager of market development at Presto Products Co., remembers his expectations going to a marijuana-themed trade show.
"Quite frankly, I was expecting a bunch of bong salesmen and flower children running around the aisles," he said.
Instead, he encountered professionals, including those in the medical field, who see value in the changing attitudes toward the subject.