Cannabis Packaging Feature Trends in 2024

November 21, 2023

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Solutions

The growing importance of sustainability and environmental consciousness is increasingly influencing consumer choices. Studies reveal that 77% of Americans are mindful of the environmental impact of their purchases. This trend is particularly pronounced among young, socially aware consumers who are major contributors to cannabis sales across the country.

Cannabis producers can make a positive environmental impact through their choice of packaging. Embracing the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” there are various critical decisions that cannabis brands need to contemplate in their packaging strategies.

Trending to Waste-Free of Raw Material
The most effective environmental strategy regarding raw materials is to minimize their use. Designing packaging that uses fewer materials-such as flexible packaging films, paperboard cartons, or printed promotional materials-companies can significantly reduce the ecological impact of their products.
Supply Chain Efficiencies
Reducing material use often leads to lighter and more compact packaging. This translates into several benefits: less fuel needed for transportation, fewer pallets and trucks required for shipping, and reduced warehouse storage needs.
Innovative Packaging Perspectives
The environmental footprint of packaging is not always immediately apparent. For example, while paperboard cartons might seem more eco-friendly than plastic-based flexible packaging, the latter often requires less energy and water to produce. Its lighter weight and smaller size also mean lower fuel consumption during transportation. Additionally, flexible packaging often has a better product-to-package ratio, a vital indicator of sustainability in consumer products.

Smart Feature

The emergence of smartphone technology has forever transformed the function of product packaging. No longer merely a means of delivery, packaging has evolved into an interactive tool and an integral part of the brand experience.

Data-driven digital printing technology enables the creation of distinct QR codes and barcodes on every cannabis package, whether it’s a box, can, or flexible pouch. These “intelligent packaging” attributes pave the way for a myriad of possibilities, including:

  • Immersive augmented reality experiences
  • Special offers and incentives
  • Detailed product information
  • Engaging in interactive games
  • Customer loyalty schemes
  • Efficient product tracking and tracing systems
  • Access to video content, among others.

Product Security

The final trend focuses on ensuring consumer safety and securing the purchase transaction. The foremost aspect of this is child resistance. Since 1970, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has mandated “special packaging” for products that could be harmful to children. Over 20 states now have regulations concerning cannabis packaging, many of which include specific child-resistance standards. But child resistance is just one aspect. Many states also mandate that cannabis be sold in opaque containers. Some require double packaging for extra safety or special warning labels to clearly inform consumers about their purchase. It’s crucial to understand the distinct requirements of each state before expanding into new markets.

Another critical aspect is brand security. The rise of counterfeit cannabis products poses risks to both consumers and producers. The National Cannabis Industry Association categorizes counterfeiting into two main types:

Packaging Impersonation: Here, counterfeiters replicate the design, colors, and labels of a legitimate brand to sell inferior products as authentic.
Product Tampering: This involves altering the cannabis inside the package, potentially introducing harmful substances, or changing the product’s potency.

To combat these fraudulent activities, cannabis packaging manufacturers are adopting techniques similar to those used in protecting currency from counterfeiting, such as:

  • Color-changing inks
  • Digital watermarking
  • Holograms
  • Microtext
  • Unique serial numbers
  • Tamper-evident seals and bands

These measures are essential in safeguarding both the consumer and the integrity of the