A surprising pair of sustainable plastic innovations in cannabis packaging

There’s plenty of similarities between pharmaceuticals and cannabis, both in the strict regulations that guide controlled substances and for the packaging requirements that include child resistance, among others. In fact, that relationship is why PharmaSystems (Markham, ON, Canada) has been involved in meeting the particular needs in cannabis for the past five years in a subdivision, cannasupplies.

I was able to get an in-person look at three of the supplier’s latest packaging innovations in the marijuana market earlier this month during PackEx Toronto. That was surprising in itself: I went to the booth for my work with Packaging Digest expecting one new packaging introduction that was promoted preshow, a special angled glass jar. Instead, the booth also had on display two diverse plastic packaging breakthroughs for the PlasticsToday audience. Cannasupplies hemp jar beauty

The first breakthrough was for injection-molded brown-pigmented jars and lids, both made with 20% hemp; the balance of the material in the packaging is polypropylene (PP). A parallel line of green-pigmented jars and caps is made with an even higher amount, 33% hemp. I subsequently learned the jars and lids are molded by Mold-Rite Plastics (Woodinville, WA).

The mandatory child-resistant lids perform similarly as the ubiquitous amber-colored pharmaceutical bottles we’re all familiar with, requiring downward pressure while twisting to release them.

Stock sizes will include 1-, 3.5-, and 7-gram capacity jars, though Hilary Lieberman, marketing manager, said that any of the company’s range of containers sizes can be made to order for customers from 1oz to 16oz. 

“This demonstrates full-circle sustainability for hemp,” she pointed out, “in a market that’s drawing a great deal of interest.”

That’s no surprise: the legal marijuana market will be worth $66.3 billion by 2025 globally at a nearly 24% CAGR, according to a May 2019 report from Grand View Research. The study states that “increasing legalization and use of marijuana in medical as well as recreational applications is expected to promote growth.”

In addition to the U.S., one of the major near-term North America opportunities is Canada, where regulations that take effect Oct. 17 will allow the national sale of cannabis edibles, extracts, vapes and topicals. “Businesses expect to start shipping a limited selection of new products in December,” Marijuana Business Daily reported June 19.

Compliant cannabis packaging for Canada was the subject of several presentations during PackEx. What I heard underscored the fact that what is allowed on-package and what isn’t is astonishingly complex from a graphics’ branding, imagery and colors standpoint all the way through to the font type, size and use for both required and optional text.

CR top for cans of cannabis-infused beverages

Cannasupplies’ second plastic packaging introduction was a child-resistant top for cannabis-infused beverages in aluminum cans, which are expected to Cannasupplies cannabis can and top be the next big thing in the market. For one thing, cannabis in drinkable form can deliver a precisely measured dose of the narcotic for consumer assuredness. For another, it enables brands to market an alternative product in form and function to help grow sales.

Injection-molded of PP with a biodegradable additive, the intricate-looking plastic ring requires that an equal amount of finger pressure be applied to opposite sides of the ring. That releases the finger-sized ring-tab that can be pulled upward and removed so the user can access the can’s standard aluminum pull-tab ring. The ring fits #202 aluminum beverage cans, which can be 12oz, 16oz or other sizes. The ringed top can be applied in-line on canning lines, according to Lieberman.

The patent-pending can-top ring was designed by CAN’+.

Cannasupplies has sold child-resistant cannabis packaging for more than five years and further solidified its position in the market in 2018 when the parent company spun it off as a separate division.

Business in approved cannabis markets are brisk, said Lieberman. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in cannabis and business is extremely busy.”

Click here to read more about cannabis packaging at PlasticsToday.

 

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