I can honestly say that, in more than 35 years in the packaging industry, I have never seen such a diverse and rapidly growing market as the current surge in cannabis sales.
As more and more states legalize the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana, the marketplace has exploded with new products covering just about every vertical market. There are cannabis beverages, edibles of all sorts, oils, lotions, candles, clothing, and, of course, the dried flowers for smoking.
The cannabis industry is exponentially growing with a forecast of $24.5 billion in sales by 2020. That's just a year and half away. As an example of state income, Colorado sales for combined recreational and medical for April 2018 was $124 million dollars. Just a one month total in a state of 5.6 million people.
The packaging requirements are varied by state and often can conflict with each other. Child-proof packaging is required in most states, for example, and Colorado allows child-proof resealable zipper bags but Washington state does not. Some states require single-use packaging even for large quantity items. And edible food products that might be mistaken for non-cannabis products need to have the THC symbol coded onto the product with edible ink in Colorado. These are just a few examples of the range of hoops that manufacturers have to jump through.
Branding has become a focus of the cannabis packaging, especially with products that are trying to attract more affluent buyers willing to pay a premium for products. Up-scale packaging designs are appearing to improve the reputation of cannabis products. But the US Trademark Office (federal government) denies trademark protection to cannabis brands making it difficult to clearly protect your identity.