Technology & Software

The Next New Wave in Cannabis Packaging – Tin Cans?

Written by Staff

Just two years ago, in 2016, medical  and legal recreational marijuana totaled $6.9 billion in sales throughout the United States. (ArcView Group). Not only has this boosted the cannabis industry, but also many different ancillary industries tied to it. This includes the cannabis packaging industry. Marijuana packaging history began with the small plastic baggies, back in the days when it was illegal. Most of the time they were zip lock bags or small brown paper bags. Now, however, cannabis packaging has become an all-important part of the industry as a whole. This is due to social outlook, legalization of cannabis, as well as political changes. Today, marijuana packaging encompasses issues of branding, marketing, transportability and legal safety.

Experts in the cannabis packaging industry, such as the ladies who run High Standard’s Packaging, Deb Baker and Barb Diner,  have stated that one of the biggest points is being able to remain flexible at all times. Of course, this isn’t just for packaging experts, but also for manufacturers who have to create their packaging design. Being able to quickly change course as the laws and regulations change is key. You also need to stay on top of the packaging industry by researching in journals like this one.  One of the new waves of changes that have been noticed is the use of metal and tin cans.

Metal & Tin Cans for Marijuana Packaging –  What Are The Benefits?

  • Protects from light, moisture, and oxidation
  • No chemical leach, unlike plastic baggies
  • Food industry safe
  • No degradation of product, regardless of temperatures
  • Long shelf life (Up to 2 years)
  • Retains & improves freshness
  • Child-Resistant Compliant
  • Re-resealable lid
  • Sustainable & Recyclable

Tin cans can dramatically improve the freshness of your buds and also add sustainability to the game plan. Freshness is crucial as it can really make or break your brand loyalty. They also keep your product from being crushed and losing form during distribution, sale and transport.  It enables your cannabis product to maintain its magic for many months beyond the traditional plastic baggies. Mercy Wellness Marijuana Dispensary (West Bay, CA) uses an in-house packaging facility. They have completely changed the whole game for themselves, as the metal and tin cans keep the skunky smell of the buds away up until one gets to their destination. This enables dispensaries to carry more of your product stock, as the product remains fresh much longer. Some tin can packaging can help make the buds last up to two years shelf life.

CalyxGreen, the packaging outfit for Mercy Wellness Marijuana Dispensary use one standard size (one-eighth cans). Dispensary workers check over each can to be sure that each has the right sized buds within and that everything looks the way it should be. After carefully checking through, each can has all the oxygen sucked out with liquid nitrogen. Next, the can is hermetically sealed, and immediately shipped directly to the dispensary.

Traditional cannabis packaging, including the plastic baggies, usually will keep your cannabis buds fresh for approximately 60 days. The baggies are not recyclable, as opposed to the tin cans that are. So why isn’t everyone using this method for packaging? One reason could be due to the price tag. Bags can cost anywhere from 10 to 12 cents a piece, while each can costs a dollar. However, many swear by it and say that it is worth every cent and predict that in the near future, tin cans will be the norm for cannabis packaging. Keep in mind that while the tin cans cost ten times as much, you can also purchase more inventory and have peace of mind knowing that your buds won’t be going bad any time soon. The tin and metal cans also help eliminate risk of moisture and mold on your product, which can be a very bad problem if you’re using other forms of packaging.

According to the Packaging Digest, food-grade tin cans are being used by  Honest Marijuana Co. This company drew their cannabis packaging inspiration directly from the food industry. This is an area where you could also draw ideas from and learn some valuable tips.  Their products come in an easy-to open container that has a ring pull for super easy accessibility. There is also an over-cap that provides child-resistant safety. Their cans come decorated with two paper labels. One is on the can and one is on top of the re-resealable lid.

Honest Marijuana Co., also uses a sustainable and green producer for their labels.

The labels are Safe Quality Food certified, with only water-based ink systems used. However, the labels are not recyclable in general, due to the adhesive required in affixing them to the packaging. So in other words, the labels themselves are recyclable and environmentally friendly, but the glue or adhesives are not. At this time, the cannabis packaging industry as a whole is limited in this respect. However, more and more innovative methods are being developed, which will definitely have a positive impact in this regard. Currently the company packages approximately 12 different strains in the metal cans, which were custom designed for the dispensary by N2 Packaging.

New Rules Go Into Effect January 1st!

In conclusion, look out for the new laws going into effect in California, Colorado and Oregon, concerning the cannabis packaging industry. While a large portion of these laws remains the same, there are some considerable key points to really take serious. One of these is the new mandatory symbols and language. While each state is a little different, the main goal is to make your packaging child-resistant, so that children don’t accidentally ingest the product. When you think about it, that does make sense and serves as a public safety issue. Having said that, metal and tin cans can provide an easy, sustainable and convenient method to do this.


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