Packaging History Of Cannabis
Marijuana has been around for much of recorded history as a natural plant. And boy, has its history been tumultuous and contentious. But where did it all start?
Cannabis was first used to make rope by humans in the third century BCE, and it was later discovered to have medicinal properties. Around 2700 BCE, China’s Emporer Chen Hung is credited with being one of the first to find the medicinal properties of cannabis. Cannabis was used to treat conditions like leprosy, rheumatism, and opiate withdrawal worldwide, from the Middle East to India to Greece and everywhere in between.
First, it began to Arrive in 1611, when Jonestown colonists brought the marijuana plant to the New World, turning hemp fiber into one of their most profitable exports. Weed, according to many historians, played an important role in the founding of the United States.
The Role of Cannabis in Society has Been a Hot Topic Since Then.
But besides its controversial nature, marijuana is now a worth billions of dollars industry that are rapidly expanding. And it wouldn’t be as successful if it didn’t come with packaging. The history of cannabis packaging is littered with innovations, setbacks, discoveries, and controversies that have shaped its evolution over time, from tins and jars to plastic baggies and premium pouches.
So come learn about the evolution of cannabis packaging at Packaging History!
Cannabis Packaging Innovations from the late 1800s to the early 1900s
Cannabis was once legal to sell and use for medical purposes in the United States. Park Davis & Company and S.B. Penick & Company, two pharmaceutical companies, were the first to package marijuana in airtight tin containers (now Pfizer and Siegfried Ltd.). Because it was discovered that exposing cannabis to light for an extended period reduces its potency, these containers were opaque.
EARLY 1900 – 1850
Cannabis was packaged in glass or ceramic jars and was sold in apothecaries and general stores.
In 1906, at the start of the twentieth century,
The good times couldn’t last indefinitely. One of the first cannabis-related laws in the United States was the Pure Food and Drug Act. This governed the labeling of cannabis, opiates, cocaine, and alcohol-containing products.
Many states have chosen to classify cannabis products as poison, following California’s lead (and label them as such).
From 1930 to 1960,
Some regulations and laws have been enacted in the United States to regulate (and often demonize) marijuana.
In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act was passed, effectively making marijuana possession and transfer illegal throughout the United States, except for cannabis for industrial or medical purposes.
With the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis products became a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, forcing their production, packaging, and use underground. The resealable plastic baggie becomes the packaging of choice because it is inexpensive, portable, and easy to obtain.
From 1980 to 1990,
Marijuana penalties have been increased in many states and at the federal level. In the mid-80s, mandatory sentencing and three-strikes legislation were passed, resulting in higher incarceration rates and harsher penalties for cannabis-related drug offenses.
The Push for Legalization Lasted from the late 1900s to the early 2000s.
In 1907, California was the first in the United States to declare marijuana poison. With the passing of Proposition 215, California has become the first state in the United States to legalize medical marijuana. California didn’t implement a system to regulate these products until 1992, 22 years later. As a result, the market, as well as cannabis packaging, was a free-for-all for many years.
Washington and Colorado are the first states in the United States to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Child resistance, opacity, resealability, and tamper-evident seals have now required packaging features.
A booming industry for nitrogen gas flush, a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) solution, has emerged in the cannabis supply chain. The inside of a filled package is blasted with nitrogen shortly before it is sealed shut, a packaging technology already popular in the food industry. The goal is to eliminate oxygen, which is the primary cause of spoilage. This increases the potency and shelf life of the cannabis product sealed inside.
As the industry’s future appears bright, cannabis businesses are looking into the possibility of automating their packaging methods to keep up with demand and streamline operations.
Canada has become the first G-8 legalizing marijuana across the board, creating a huge new market. There is a slew of packaging-related regulatory questions to address.
Large national packaging manufacturers have not gotten involved in this market because of the patchwork of laws governing packaging in the United States and federal laws still on the books prohibiting interstate commerce. Smaller, niche packaging companies can thrive. As a result, they produce creative, premium packaging tailored to their state or region.
Cannabis packaging machines are becoming increasingly popular. To keep up with demand, manufacturers must scale up quickly, which necessitates an upgrade to their outdated, unreliable packaging processes.
Cannabis contract packagers appear on the scene, offering specialized packaging services to cannabis businesses that would prefer to outsource their entire packaging process.
The market share of dried flower products has dropped to 26% from 50% just two years ago. Instead, edibles are gaining popularity as a more convenient and discrete way for new users to get acquainted with the product than smoking a joint. Flexible plastic pouches emerge as the preferred packaging type for edibles, accounting for about 43% of the market.
A Growing and Developing Market…plus a disease outbreak in the 2020s
If every marijuana initiative passes on November 3, 2020, ballot, marijuana will be legalized for medical and/or recreational use in even more states across the United States. One-third of the population lives in areas where recreational marijuana is legal, and medical marijuana is legal in 70 percent of states.
Cannabis packaging has evolved as a result of its widespread legal availability. There will be no more clear plastic baggies. Instead, cannabis packaging has a high-end, sophisticated look that is meant to demystify the product and appeal to people who have never bought a sandwich baggie of weed.
Every business, including cannabis, is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Smaller packages of products became more popular as consumers were told to socially distance themselves, and most began using them at home rather than in large groups. Furthermore, because COVID-19 affects the lungs, demand for inhaled cannabis products falls, resulting in a drop in pre-roll and joint packaging demand.
Cannabis growing is known for being environmentally damaging. Furthermore, strict cannabis packaging regulations frequently result in single-use packaging, which adds to the waste stream. As consumers demand environmental stewardship, cannabis producers focus more on sustainable packaging strategies and materials.
Find Out All About Automated Cannabis Packaging.
Want to automate your cannabis product packaging but not know where to begin? Are you simply curious about packaging marijuana technologies? To learn more, download our free eBook, Getting Started with Cannabis Packaging Systems.