Few agriculture sectors, let alone any branch of commerce, are more regulated with red tape, road blocks and barriers in the agriculture community than cannabis packaging and distribution.
Regardless of a person's philosophical stance, cannabis is coming to a state near you. Setting personal conviction aside, the packaging of cannabis is going to play a part in how cannabis is both perceived and kept regulated.
Packaging is one of the most important aspects for any brand in any industry. Both minor and major retailers put billions of dollars into packaging and communications into their brand message. A business can sink with a single misstep.
Not only must packaging meet a host of government regulations that change from one jurisdiction to the next, but it also needs to communicate that what a customer has just purchased is both safe and a known product. It must connect with the consumer and entice a favorable purchasing decision before the customer even takes it off the shelf.
A consumer must be able to readily identify your product and know that what they are purchasing is exactly what it should be. Imagine if a six-pack of Coca-Cola didn't have that nice bright red "Coke" packaging. The validity of the product would come into question. Branding opportunities impact consumers and communicate that the product they are buying is what they are expecting.
Until cannabis advertising is legalized, a company's package is the only billboard, advertisement or media influence that the consumer is impacted by. A cannabis product's package is one of the only ways to build a brand in the infancy of this hyper-competitive market. It is the first, last and only thing a consumer sees at the point of purchase and when they get to their destination. It needs to communicate reliability, authenticity and your brand.
Cannabis packaging regulations are quite different from state to state. Therefore, your packaging must accommodate varied regulations with minimum impact to your own brand. The branding and government regulations has created a need for cannabis packaging experts to emerge and offer their skills, insight and expertise to the industry. There is no shortage of run-of-the-mill packaging companies that may not have the experience or knowledge that comes with having to produce a photographic-quality barrier bag.
Roger Throckmorton is marketing manager at International Plastics in Greenville, S.C. He has more than 25 years of marketing and manufacturing experience in the advertising and flexible packaging industry.