Regulatory requirements select for a robust, secure, child-resistant (CR) package, and state-dependent rules around product leaving dispensaries, package opaqueness, etc., have tended to lean toward overpackaging out of an abundance of caution, and reliance on often multi-material plastics for functional or CR purposes.
But as the industry matures, that’s changing. One example is Oregrown Industries, a vertically integrated Oregon cannabis grower, processer, packager, and brand owner that’s keeping the robustness and CR, but adding sustainable packaging measures in clever ways. The packaging in question here centers around the company’s cannabis extracts and its vape offerings in what are called Pax Era Pods and Oregrown 510 Cartridges.
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“Historically, we’ve been handcuffed by regulation,” says Riley Ruano, marketing director at Oregrown. “We’ve recently been in a transitional phase to where we are taking as many of the necessary steps toward sustainability as we can, but there’s only so much you can do—everything has to be either childproof or leave in a childproof exit bag. In the past, that meant a plastic pop-top here, a jar and a pop-top there. There was just so much plastic. More recently, we started transitioning away from that into paper boxes. But then we were still using things like foam and transparent plastic for a window. We’ve steadily taken steps away from all those things to get to where we’re at now.”
“Specifically for the PAX Era Pods and the Oregrown 510, they have an off-the-shelf childproof box that we were able to customize,” Ruano says. “Part of their production is they use wind energy, they use recyclable paperboard, and then we can also opt in to use the FSC paper tracking which essentially certifies that the paperboard is produced responsibly.”
Customization doesn’t extend to changes to the carton’s structure since the structure accomplishes the CR requirement. Customization might jeopardize the integrity of the CR capability. But look, feel, and print are all fair game. Oregrown went with a soft-touch paperboard carton with debossed logos on the side, and an all-black interior and spot UV printing for important info, like social media @s and #s. Consumers can expect both a tactile and visual experience with this packaging.
“All Packaging Company been great to work with. They’re really knowledgeable when it comes to their whole process and what they’re capable of doing,” Ruano concludes.