The Fine Line Between Cannabis Product Appeal and Requirements

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By Gina Kranwinkel and Mark Gorman

We’re living in “high” creative times. The creativity in today’s cannabis marketing is soaring; it’s not just enough to have great marketing and a nice package for your product – your brand and product must stand out, shouting above the noise to be seen and heard. Cannabis marketers are doing that amazingly well.

Packaging & Labeling: Compliance Components

However, creativity and branding aside, there are myriad compliance components that must be adhered to in packaging and labeling your product – with some of the most critical being that the product is light-resistant to what’s visibly inside, and child-resistant; the latter includes the requirement that it not be easy for a child five or under to open, while also not being appealing to children (a subjective concept that must be handled with the utmost care – especially with edibles).

Your local and state government requirements may or may not go even deeper into what is important and required, so it’s crucial that cannabis product marketers know and follow what’s required.

The first National Association of Cannabis Businesses’ national standard was Cannabis Safety: Packaging and Labeling. The standard’s goal is to be as all-encompassing as possible, which may feel onerous to marketers who want to sell, but is critical to ensuring not only compliance but best practices.

As a self-regulating organization, we created this standard with a committee of experts and made it publicly available to anyone regardless of membership status. We also provide a checklist for use when creating or updating existing packaging or when reviewing any packaging inventory.

This checklist is a great tool to help marketers with their compliance.

Consumers Accustomed to Warnings & Protections

Here’s the good news – most Americans are familiar with consumer protections and regulatory requirements on most packages we buy.

While, as a marketer, it may feel like your entire package looks like a warning label, the reality is that’s normal. From alcohol and tobacco (a given) to the foods we eat daily with their “Allergen information: may contain milk, soybean, wheat or nuts,” most Americans are very familiar with these kinds of protections that help us make decisions on what we purchase and consume.

We expect manufacturers and retailers to ensure not only the quality of their product but also the safety. Cannabis is no different. If anything, our industry must hold itself to the highest standards, going above and beyond what is required and expected.

What’s Your Packaging Challenge or Victory?

As the industry continues to evolve, more and more cannabis brands are now competing for retailers’ shelf space. It’s not enough to have a great package – there’s a small amount of space to make a big impact. Getting products in stores, visually appealing, and then also ensuring marketing, packaging, and labeling compliance are at the forefront of the right sales mix.

What’s your latest packaging challenge or victory? We’d love to know – drop us a line at [email protected].

This article was originally featured in the fall 2021 issue of Cannabis & Tech Today. Join the newsletter and read the full issue for free.





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