With the disparity between state and federal governments, regulatory edicts and interpretation of those directives have resulted in frustration and quick pivots for those who are operating in the industry – and it’s not vastly different in adult-use markets versus medical-only states – the struggle is one that is shared across the nation.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the industry in terms of packaging is the child-resistant (CR) requirement for some packaging of cannabis products. What is considered CR in California differs greatly from what qualifies as CR in Nevada. Case in point, in California, a chocolate bar must be child-resistant for multiple points of entry, while in Nevada, the same bar must only be child-resistant from one point of entry.
California has been the poster child for changes in direction for regulations related to packaging and labeling, with frequent changes every few months since legalization began, leaving many operators sitting on empty packaging that has to be modified or scrapped.
“We’ve heard from many of our customers that they’d like to order as little as possible, like a couple hundred units every two weeks, because of constant language changes in the packaging. So, if they buy four months of inventory and, all of a sudden, the state of Washington changes the law, they have to change it or throw it out.” This from Ed Kilduff, the founder of New York-based Pollen Gear which launched in November 2016 and offers about 14 products.
Among the obstacles facing operators is the interpretation and sourcing for packaging. Packaging woes have plagued the smallest players to the largest brands. Packaging companies are widely distributed throughout the US and around the globe, but the differences in understanding of state-by-state cannabis-related nuances haven’t quite made it to all packagers. This has resulted