Here’s everything you need to know (but may not have thought to ask) about marijuana packaging and packaging compliance.
How is cannabis packaging different?
Packaging for cannabis isn’t fundamentally different from packaging for pharmaceuticals. Cannabis packages need to be child-resistant; most pharmaceutical packages need to be child-resistant too.
But packaging should always be tailored to the product, and cannabis products — from gummies to concentrates — have special requirements for package design. Sometimes the difference simply affects the shape of the package. Other times, the products need special, airtight protection from the elements.
And specific rules may apply to cannabis packaging in particular jurisdictions. In some states, packaging must be opaque to hide the contents. And a variety of labeling requirements apply (read more below).
How can I know if my cannabis packaging is compliant?
The baseline of compliance in all markets is child resistance. If child-resistant packaging isn’t statutorily required in your market, it will be soon.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has guidelines for packaging to ensure small children are safe from accidental ingestion. Accidental ingestion is a big problem for sweet edible products.
Look for a CPSC-certification label with your cannabis packaging to show it meets CPSC standards per 16 CFR 1700.20. Beyond that, seek packaging with an F=1 rating. It’s the highest level of protection set by the CPSC.
While all packages should be child-resistant, laws vary. Labeling requirements are unique, particular, and often changing. A packaging company can help you select a CPSC-certified design. A labeling expert — or a deep dive into your local statues — will tell you what to print.
Here are links to the regs in larger markets. If you’re in an upstart market without finalized regulations, you may want to reference the guidance from the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation.
What’s F=1 child resistance?
The stringent F=1 rating applies to multi-use packaging when each dose is individually child-resistant. This prevents instances of child exposure when consumers fail to reclose a non-F=1 rated package, such as a bottle. The AssurCard® blister pack carries the F=1 rating.
What’s the best packaging for edibles?
There’s no universal, ideal packaging type for any cannabis product category. Needs vary based on branding requirements, laws, and the type of edible (or concentrate, or pre roll).
Though AssurPack® offers many edible packaging solutions, our AssurClam® is a noteworthy option because of its versatility. AssurClam® is available in a variety of sizes for just about any baked good or edible you could imagine.
We also offer the AssurPro® Carton, which is a reclosable clamshell suited for chocolate bars. And if you’re looking for the ultimate in airtight edibles packaging, make sure to check out AssurSeal™ for edibles. AssurSeal™ meets stringent standards for airtightness set by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). It’s laboratory-proven to keep edibles fresher, longer.
Do you have edible packaging that’s not plastic?
Since 2014, AssurPack has been the industry leader in sustainable package design. We use bioplastics, BPA-free plastics, and carton board that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Most of our products are recycled or recyclable.
Yet, because the cannabis industry is pushing the envelope of sustainable packaging, current plastic alternatives — such as hemp-based resin — struggle to meet the desire for ultra-low environmental impact. Infused-product manufacturers are forced to compromise between product freshness and environmental ethics. That’s why our engineers continue to develop new products — like the BP SecurSlide® — that minimize or eliminate conventional plastic while maintaining product quality.
Can your blister packs be used as molds for my edibles?
Yes, our edible packaging can serve as a direct mold for your product. Molding your product in the blister pack saves significant time and money. AssurPack® blisters have the highest possible rating (F=1) from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Do you sell the heat sealing equipment for my blister packs?
Yes. We can supply you with a compatible heat sealer for cost-effective, on-site production.
Where can I find airtight pre roll packaging?
Closure tightness (commonly referred to as “airtightness”) is important for keeping vulnerable products protected. Terpenes in pre rolls are especially prone to damage from dry conditions.
We’re proud to say AssurPack® has developed AssurSeal™ for pre rolls, the industry’s leading airtight package for pre rolls (and edibles too). It’s the only package line to achieve the highest rating for closure tightness per the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
What about labeling?
Labeling is tricky because requirements vary between markets. There are common elements — such as product quantity, potency, and a “THC!” symbol — but you’ll want to check your specific regulations carefully, and frequently.
When you have your label perfected, expect regulatory changes. Changes to cannabis package labeling are a common stumbling block for manufacturers that can leave them sitting on wasted inventory.
Some companies choose to outsource their labeling to a third party. This removes a step on the production line and leaves the compliance issues to an attentive specialist.
I want to be sustainable. What plastics actually recycle?
Cannabis consumers care about the environment. At AssurPack®, we do too. We use sustainable and recyclable materials whenever practicable.
Here’s a list of plastics that recycle and some AssurPack® products where they can be found.
Polyethylene terephthalate (#1)
High-density polyethylene (#2)
Used for milk jugs, shampoo bottles
Low-density polyethylene (#4)
Used for grocery bags, garbage cans
SecurSlide® (clear portion)
Miscellaneous plastics (#7)
SecurSlide® BP (bioplastic)
Should I use bioplastic or biodegradable packaging?
Few packaging materials are truly biodegradable. The term “biodegradable” has a specific definition in the world of packaging. If a packaging supplier tells you their packaging is fully biodegradable or rated as biodegradable, they’re probably referring to its biodegradability in an industrial composting plant — not a backyard garden.
AssurPack® takes a practical approach to bioplastics. Our bioplastic packaging recycles as a conventional plastic. The SecurSlide® BP is made from 50% wheat resin for sustainability’s sake. It provides all the strength and utility of a conventional plastic but, at the end of its lifecycle, it recycles rather than “biodegrades.”
What should I ask my packaging supplier?
If you’re selecting a new package, make sure the manufacturer can:
- Deliver in a timely fashion, reliably
- Provide the expertise to custom-design your packaging if needed
- Consult with you to find a package that meets your production dynamics
- Accommodate your minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirements and lead times
- Provide reviews from lots of happy clients
Should I consider custom packaging?
Everyone wants a distinctive package. And here at AssurPack®, we offer customization services to perfectly pair our designs with your product and brand.
But that doesn’t mean you need custom packaging. The development process — which can include creating new molds and cutting dies — may be cost-prohibitive for smaller companies.
You might find that premium printing can convey upscale branding at a lower cost. Specialty coatings such as soft-touch matte or high gloss can increase your product’s perceived value, as can embossing, metallic inks, and innovative graphic design.
Can you customize your cannabis packaging with my company’s branding?
Yes. We provide an easy-to-use template for your graphic designer. Some of our designs, such as the SecurSlide®, are compatible with direct printing as well as adhesive labels.
How can I get the best price for packaging if I’m starting a new company?
If you’re starting out, you’ll want to find a package with a low minimum order quantity. However, expect a higher price per unit when ordering in smaller quantities.
Sourcing supplies is always a balance of quantity and cost. At higher quantities, you’ll receive lower prices. But when order quantities drop, your supplier’s ability to turn a profit drops too. Below a certain quantity, they cannot profitably fulfill your order.
At AssurPack®, we pride ourselves on our selection of in-stock packaging available at low MOQs. Because we inventory many of our products, we can fulfill smaller orders quickly.
Make sure to find a low-MOQ package that can scale with your business. The design of your packaging matters — even if you’re just starting or trial testing a new product.
Should I select my own packaging or get help?
Picking a package isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Your new package may have unanticipated effects on your production line and shipping.
At AssurPack®, we work with our clients to find the packaging solution that’s best for their product, facility configuration, and goals. And your packaging supplier should too.
Make sure to ask your packaging supplier the following questions:
- Do you have Child-Resistant (CR) Test Certificates for this package?
- How much will it cost to ship my packaging to me?
- What secondary packaging is needed to deliver my product to customers?
- How quickly can we fill and label this package?
- Is this package ready for automation technologies?
- Can you meet my needs as we grow?
- What is your lead time for custom packaging?
- What is your quality control system for assuring packaging meets specifications?
What’s AssurPack’s lead time for new customers?
We inventory our injection-molded products; they’re available within days. Custom-order requests require 4-8 weeks for completion.
Where do you ship?
Our products ship to the United States and Canada.
What are my next steps?
If you’re ready for a consultation, contact an AssurPack® representative now. They can help you assess your needs and uncover the special considerations that will impact your success.