Custom Cannabis PackagingJecris Gallardo
Custom Cannabis Packaging
For many, when it comes to selecting custom cannabis packaging, the task may seem overwhelming. It is probably safe to say most of those charged with the responsibility are not packaging experts and find the undertaking to be more burdensome than anything. Selecting and designing cannabis packaging should be given the utmost diligence as it, with the product it contains, are the two most important and tangible representations of your brand. Still, often it is put off until the last minute, causing essential factors such as cost-effectiveness, quality and vendor reliability to be set aside for the shortest lead-time and least upfront cost.
For many, when it comes to selecting custom cannabis packaging, the task may seem overwhelming. It is probably safe to say most of those charged with the responsibility are not packaging experts and find the undertaking to be more burdensome than anything. Selecting and designing cannabis packaging at the same time as mylar bags should be given the utmost diligence as it, with the product it contains, are the two most important and tangible representations of your brand. Still, often it is put off until the last minute, causing essential factors such as cost-effectiveness, quality and vendor reliability to be set aside for the shortest lead-time and least upfront cost.
Compliance: Meeting the Requirements for cannabis bag packaging
First and foremost, it is best to make yourself aware of the regulatory requirements for packaging in your state. Most legal states require child-resistant (CR) packaging, meaning the design and construction make it significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open, yet not difficult for an adult to use correctly. This requirement, regulated under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA), is aimed at reducing the risk of poisoning in children via the ingestion of potentially hazardous items. The packaging becomes CR certified after it has been tested by a third-party using the protocols under the federal PPPA 16 CFR 1700.10. Some states may require approval of your packaging, prior to use, or require proof of the CR certification, so it is always best practice to request a copy of the certification from your vendor.
In addition to being CR certified, many states require opaque packaging (for products as well as exit bags). Opaque cannabis packaging, which prevents visibility when the package is unopened, has been found to make products less appealing to adolescents. Opaque packaging also helps prevent the product from light degradation, which is beneficial to preserve the quality of the cannabis product. Cannabis packaging is also typically required to be tamper-evident, meaning a consumer will know if the product has been opened. This regulatory requirement can typically be met with the use of a heat seal. Also, packaging is often required to be resealable between uses. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s specific packaging regulations to ensure your company is meeting all compliance requirements.
Cannabis Marijuana Packaging: What it is and why you need it
Another critical factor to be considered when choosing your cannabis packaging is degradation mitigation. When a product arrives at a retailer, we typically do not know how long it may sit on their shelves, and we need a way to combat degradation and preserve quality and freshness for the end-user. Barrier packaging eases those concerns as it is designed to create a sealed environment inside of the package, and protect the product from oxygen, moisture, and light, three significant causes of cannabis degradation. This type of packaging consists of multiple layers of barrier films which are toxic and BPA free, as well as food-contact compliant. Barrier packaging proves to be smell-proof, as well as virtually impermeable to the outside environment.
More specifically, flexible barrier packaging proves to be more beneficial over more rigid containers, as it is light-weight, cost-effective, and requires minimal storage space. This type of packaging is also compatible with modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP), which has become a popular packaging solution to preserves freshness. When cannabis oxidizes the cannabinoid structure of the product changes, THC turns into CBN, thus reducing the potency and degrading the efficacy of the product. Through the MAP process, an inert gas such as nitrogen is pumped inside the packaging before sealing it shut. The nitrogen (inert gas) then displaces oxygen, thus delaying oxidation of the contained product. The nitrogen simultaneously creates a barrier around the cannabis, assisting in preserving product shape and masking aroma. Acquiring the equipment for the MAP process may be costly, especially during the start-up phase of any company; however, flexible barrier packaging creates the option for future need of it.
Custom Cannabis Packaging: Elevate your brand
Another benefit of flexible barrier packaging, such as a pouch, is that they can be easily customizable in terms of printing and size. Once you have your packaging design, there is the process of transferring that design to your pouch, in massive quantities. It is at this point that knowing the terms “plate printing” and “digital printing” come in handy. Both have various advantages and have multiple factors to consider, leaving it to you to figure out which type will be most beneficial to your brand and your bottom line.
Custom Print Marijuana Packaging: Plate VS Digital
Plate printing uses a thin aluminum plate to transfer your design onto the pouch. Images and artwork used are separated and converted into four ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (referred to as CMYK), with each color requiring a plate. Most print jobs can be completed with the four plates or even less if you are, for instance, printing in only black. For more detailed artwork, such as the use of metallic coloring, additional plates may be needed. Plate printing is ideal for larger runs of customized packaging (multiple thousands). While there is a standard one-time plate cost, the price-per-unit is usually significantly less than that of digital printing.
That is not to say, however, that digital printing is not the right option for you. For those just starting, and not ready to commit to ordering thousands of customized packaging units without knowing what your demand is, digital printing allows for smaller print runs, as well as the need for a high color count. In addition to this, digital printing technology does not require the use of plates, thus avoiding the cost and making it easier to print multiple versions of your design. Production time is typically shorter than plate printing projects, and although the cost of plates is avoided, digital printing is usually more costly.
Customizing the specific size of a barrier cannabis pouch is also an option.
Stock options can offer typical unit sizes for cannabis (eighth and half ounce), however, if you find your company’s needs are different than stock sizes, flexible barrier packaging allows for creating what size is best suited. With customizing your pouch size, you can still ensure your packaging is CR certified.
Factoring in Time and Cost
Another factor to keep in mind when selecting your custom printed cannabis packaging cannabis packaging is lead time is lead time, which will vary dependent upon your specific project. Ordering stock packaging, without printing will ship significantly faster than packaging that requires customization, whether that be printing, sizing, or both. As we now know, there is a lot that goes into customizing packaging. If you are opting for customizing your cannabis packaging, it is also essential to understand where your mylar bags packaging will be custom printed, as customization can typically add anywhere from an extra two to eight weeks. For instance, if you are working with a vendor that customizes and their packaging in-house or even Mexico, the turnaround time will be quicker (four weeks) than a vendor having your packaging custom printed in China (which is typical for numerous vendors and can range from 6-8 weeks). Packaging custom printed in China comes with not only advanced wait times and expensive shipping costs, but there is also the unknown variable of getting your packaging through customs
In addition to time, your cost is another factor to consider, both immediate and long term. As previously stated, flexible barrier packaging is an incredibly cost-effective option, and some vendors even offer price-match options. The cost of customization will also need to be figured in, so deciding what type of customization you need (digital, plate, sizing) is beneficial to research and know as well.
Choose the Right Vendor
One major factor in choosing your custom cannabis packaging is selecting the right vendor! Your vendor is someone you will rely on, create a long-term relationship with and help you build your brand. Having a vendor that is experienced and knowledgeable, as well as the ability to work closely with you for all of your customization needs, is key to success.
You can attain your cannabis packaging needs and company goals by exercising diligence when it comes to choosing your custom cannabis packaging. While the feat of ordering your custom cannabis packaging is a large one, the possibilities can come to fruition by first deciding what your needs are. Ordering sample packaging is a significant first step in meeting those needs, as well as starting a relationship with the vendor that will help you build your brand.