Business & Legal

How to Market with Plain Packaging Laws

Written by Nicholas Demski

If I don’t have a pen that writes smoothly, with a sharp, bold black line under the lightest of pressure, I panic. Is that overstated? Yes; but, I do despise cheap pens because they stifle my creative energy. That is not overstated.

There are a few ways to kill creativity in a person:give them a deadline, tell them it’s a deal-breaker, lock them in a cubicle with just water to sustain them. Without going that far, regulations on plain packaging are a shiv to a creative person (1). What’s great about creative people, however, is they’re great at overcoming obstacles (not a real shiv).

Here are a few ways creatives can overcome the obstacle of plain packaging.

  1. Stylize It

Yes, the packaging must be plain. That doesn’t mean a customer can’t grab a free, package-sized tote bag on the way out that can market your brand and make your customer look like their carrying a gnome’s hand-woven purse, though. That’s a win-win.

If you’re an organic-only dispensary, I’d recommend organically-grown, handmade, hemp tote bags to physically codify your brand.

  1. Personalize It

You’ve got the tiny tote bags, what about when the package is opened? Let’s say an elderly, chronically-ill patient regular orders a mixed bag of edible and whole-flower products each month. A hand-written note to them wishing them well with their illness, thanking them for their business, and asking them for feedback on your website is a great way not only to show kindness and empathy, but also to continue marketing your brand in a way that’s valuable to your customers.

When they get that handwritten note, do they think they will mention your dispensary the next time one of their friends complains about the product they got from one of your competitors? You know the answer.

  1. Augment It

Augmented reality is on the verge of taking over the market place. It sounds intimidating, but it’s quite a simple idea (2). Place a marker similar to a QR code on the inside of the package and attach that code to an augmented version of the package. Augmented reality is a marketing tool that allows for a plethora of information, ideas, and even brand history to be stored on any packaging.


While people may try to continue to stigmatize cannabis by limiting packaging styles, creatives have this opportunity to show their flare, and continue to peck at the idea of limited branding in the cannabis industry.


  1. ‘Canada Details Packaging Rules Ahead of Marijuana Legalization.’ Accessed April 17, 2018.
  2. ‘Augmented Reality–The Future of Cannabis.’ Accessed April 17, 2018.

About the author

Nicholas Demski

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