Business & Legal

Cannabis Packaging Development Timeline

Written by Bill Ludlow

Coming from the medical device industry, I’ve launched multiple medical products as a manufacturing project engineer. I’ve learned that packaging plays a critical role in the timeline regardless of the industry and,if not planned properly, will be the reason products are delayed.

I created the following timeline as a guide for those wanting to get in the industry, or simply need a little push.

  1. Understand your regulatory environment(1-8 weeks).
    1. Assign someone or yourself to study the packaging and labeling requirements and how they impact your product. This person will be there to interpret any ideas and make sure everything is up to par while exploring options.
    2. Hire an attorney from the very beginning, it is imperative before you go to market.
  1. Size up on your product (2-6 weeks).
    1. Start by doing a google search and request samples from everyone you possibly can.
    2. Be flexible on the size of your product, child proof packaging requires third party certification, there are less options to choose from.
    3. Once you have received the samples, choose one that meets the requirements for the next step.
  1. Develop your branding and labeling strategy (2-4 weeks).
    1. Assess whetherthe packaging has enough space to print all the labeling required including your brand.
    2. Make sure to assess the cost of labor required for labeling, assembly, and secondary labeling.
    3. Purchase a minimum order. Thetype of printing indicates lead time.
  1. Select your supplier (1-2 weeks).
    1. Choose a supplier and discuss a forecast and lead time.
    2. Confirm that your supplier has enough inventory to service you based on the forecast that you provide.
    3. Develop a trusting relationship and be transparent with them about how your business is launching and growing.
  1. Get artwork/ labeling approved (1-6 weeks).
    1. Receivedie lines from your supplier.
    2. Use a graphic designer to lay out the brand and regulatory information, making sure the artwork fits on the packaging of choice.
    3. Schedule meetingsandestablish revision control.
    4. Legal review.
  1. Order your cannabis packaging (1-8 weeks).
    1. Consider ordering a small lot to make sure the product that arrives matches the final approved proofs that were submitted.
    2. Order your packaging.
    3. Remember to be open and communicate with your supplier how your launch and your growth are going.


It will take anywhere from 2-9 months to get child proof cannabis packaging in place. You might be able to come up with a quick and dirty interim solution, but you must make sure you are compliant with regulatory labeling and child resistant packaging requirements andyour supplier can support your quantities. Companies that develop brands and strictly adhere to regulations are those that will ultimately take and maintain market share.Be a serious competitor in the cannabis industry and plan your packaging and labeling strategy as soon as possible.

Image has creative commons license

About the author

Bill Ludlow

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