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How Cannabis Companies Can Save Money On Packaging

With a predicted annual growth rate of 14.5%, it’s no surprise that so many businesses are rushing into the cannabis industry. This “green rush” side effect results in rushed decision-making and high transaction costs. When companies break into a new sector, they often overlook the initial funds required to expand effectively.

One of the more expensive costs of transitioning to this industry is cannabis product packaging. Its shortened shelf life makes shipping and storage vital and costly as an agricultural commodity. Yet, even with vendors and third parties offering secondary packaging services, businesses are guaranteed affordable prices.

A secondary service means said vendor may not understand the challenges in the cannabis supply chain as well. These nuances can hike up costs more than necessary, although there are many ways to package cannabis products without compromising quality. Let’s explore these solutions below.

Branding and Client Targeting

One of the most effective ways to cut down on product packaging costs is branded client-targeted cannabis package design. Market research protects a business from overinvesting in low-return opportunities when breaking into any industry. Imagine a marketing campaign aimed at an utterly disinterested consumer group.

Client targeting for the cannabis industry may require custom designs, mainly if aimed at specific demographics based on age or economic status. Luxury groups want elite value and quality, which can come at a premium to the businesses. Yet investing in luxury packaging can be cost-effective (when developed proactively).

If your clients are targeted by other demographics, such as age or generation, packaging may need to convey more than luxury. Millennials value authenticity and value alignment. Targeted packaging may highlight sustainability or reused materials. Or even target by need, such as mental health or chronic pain.

Tailoring cannabis packaging to medical needs offers other unique opportunities. For example, proper seals, clinical imagery, and straightforward design communicate function and purpose to consumers. These may also more easily meet restrictive packaging requirements across states.

Avoid Vanity Packaging

Whether branding targets clients who value authenticity or it’s more valuable to reduce costs, one such way is avoiding vanity packaging. Most dispensaries offer an elevated experience reminiscent of a trip to a high-end doctor or a luxury candy store. Unfortunately, tailoring products to this aesthetic appeal often results in vanity packaging. 

Child-resistant and preservative packaging is necessary and already bulky enough. Products often weigh less than their packaging with foils, wraps, heavy cardboard, batteries, and cartridges. Even with innovative cannabis package design, it proves challenging to brand products affordably while complying with state regulations.

Stop Blaming “Nanny States”

State regulations are not the sole reason for excessive cannabis product packaging. The industry produces roughly 150 million tons of waste annually. Avoiding vanity packaging and better targeting consumers helps reduce this waste. In addition, prioritizing sustainable, reusable, or recyclable packaging can reduce waste. 

Consider the following state regulations for packaging cannabis products. All of these provide opportunities, rather than obstacles, to designing innovative product packaging.

  • Florida: requires individual packaging with plain, opaque wrapping, state-approved logos, and no product images or graphics for all edibles and containers
  • Washington: requires labeling disclosures, including cannabis-related health risks, habit-forming risks, and unlawful use outside the state
  • Massachusetts and Oregon: no neon or bright colors to remove desirability for kids
  • Nevada: specifies the minimum allowed thickness for plastic containers. 
  • Maryland: requires “plain” cannabis packaging indicating possible health risks associated with cannabis use.

These are only a few of the legalized states with packaging regulations. Although it’s tempting to blame high packaging costs on “nanny states,” it’s only a result of poor design. Better market research and proactive design strategy cut costs, save time, protect products, and meet government compliance requirements.

Set a Clear Partnership Standard

Reliable, experienced, high standards for cleanliness, success, and long-term growth set the standard for any successful business. Those companies who push to advance their profits in the cannabis industry’s green rush set such high standards. However, scaling and expanding in this industry can cost more than necessary without clear branding goals, market research, and strong partnerships.

It’s essential to set high partnership standards ahead of time. To innovate cannabis product packaging for cost-effectiveness, top-tier packaging, shipping, and distribution partners are crucial. Developing proactive processes to prevent supply chain crises only happens with dedicated experience and expertise.

With clear consumer targeting and packaging goals, product design is only the beginning of a cost-effective, high-profit cannabis business. The Calico Group is the go-to strategy for budding startups and vertically integrated public entities. Trust our ability to support local and global cannabis supply chains.


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