The Ins & Outs of Cannabis Packaging

Since the 2000s, the States has become quite progressive in advancing medicinal and recreational cannabis. These advancements have also yielded new state legislation regarding the packaging of cannabis-related products to be sold. Everyday consumers and corporations alike can quickly identify the pure absurdity of the statutes concerning cannabis packaging. This article will discuss the problem of the wasteful packaging of cannabis products and the hazard it poses to current and future generations.

Origins of cannabis packaging

All medical and recreational states have installed legislation that strictly outlines the packaging and appearance of all cannabis-related products in dispensaries and clinics. Mandates such as tamperproof, child-deterring, and the omission of ‘organic’ content have been installed everywhere. Moreover, virtually all of the ‘green states’ have these same laws in effect. These states treat cannabis packaging similar to cigarette and tobacco regulations: health warnings must be visible and not sold to minors. Although this approach is appreciated, additional clauses of laws and statutes that some growers and businesspeople could claim are utterly ridiculous.

It is highly commendable that the state of Washington has taken the proper measures to ensure that cannabis is kept out of the wrong hands. However, some guidelines outline ‘champagne-style bottling for certain products exclusively marketed towards adults. One can only envision what other types of tedious cannabis packaging are mandated by law.

Cannabis packaging & legislations

Suppose one takes an in-depth look at the current statutes that mandate cannabis packaging across the United States. In that case, it will become immediately evident how much waste cannabis companies are required to produce via intricate and unnecessary packaging and design. Most states require sellers to embody their rolled products, treats, tinctures, creams, concentrates, dermal patches, oils, and more to be wrapped and packaged virtually five times over. For example, California’s Prop 64 and 65 summarily state that cannabis packaging must be: (1) child-resistant, (2)Tamper-evident, (3) Opaque, and (4) tagged with a Surgeon General warning as well as (5) list any other harmful chemicals in the packaging itself (i.e., lead paint, cancerous plastics, etc.) 


According to the University of Southern Indiana, the average individual wastes a whopping 1 ton (approximately 2,000 pounds) of plastic per year. Famous brand Swisher Sweets sell roughly 200 million swishers (with non-biodegradable plastics but reusable foils) annually. When crunching the numbers, this equates to a hefty 790 tons of plastic discarded when partaking in tobacco-rolled cannabis. Using the statistics above, one can only imagine how much non-recyclable waste makes its way to landfills considering the current bureaucratic state of cannabis packaging across the nation.

Alternatives options for packaging cannabis

Despite the current trend of wasteful cannabis packaging, there are many alternatives that businesses, growers, and consumers could partake in. The presence of biodegradable cannabis packaging is on the backburner, but it is time to become educated. Here are a select few biodegradable alternatives to current cannabis packaging:

  • Ricepaper
  • Cardboard
  • Plant-based Bioplastic
  • Corn husks
  • Banana leaves & other fruit husks

Benefits of Biodegradable Cannabis Packaging

One of the few biodegradable alternatives to cannabis packaging is Bioplastic. Bioplastic is the general term given to plant-based plastics composed of organic, recyclable, and reusable materials and vegetable oils and fats. Plant-based plastics are an optimal alternative to virtually useless cannabis packaging. Instead of hosting a heavily plastic-wrapped cardboard box with a CBD muscle cream inside, how about preserving the product in a bioplastic? Plant-based plastics offer a realistic way to help the environment. Brands such as Sun Chips are a perfect example. All of their bags are certified biodegradable. Wouldn’t it be grand if most cannabis companies mandated similar packaging?

Final thoughts

With every new legislative session, budding bills are waiting to be heard that affect the cannabis industry as a whole. This includes laws that could affect not only the medicinal, recreational, and decriminalization of cannabis but also the packaging. As the numbers of adults who partake in ingesting cannabis increase, people have become conscious of the current and wasteful state of cannabis packaging. There are a slew of biodegradable alternatives that companies ought to research and develop. It is proven that we waste tons of non-biodegradable materials with each passing day. By switching over to more eco-friendly cannabis packaging, manufacturers can cut costs. Growers can help provide plant materials for bioplastics, all while these parties are reducing their carbon footprint. The Pacific Garbage Patch is already large enough for the generations of the future. Let’s perform our part to ensure that cannabis packaging does not add to this crisis.

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