Packaging Your Potential: Customization Options in Cannabis Packaging

A good packaging strategy is essential to any marijuana brand.  It can help distinguish your
brand, and make or break your success.
The cannabis industry faces a tricky balancing act in regards to marketing, as legalization and
mass consumption loom in many states.  Large grow ops and industry insiders argue that
branding is necessary to legitimize the business and to convince consumers to make the switch
away from the black market – all while legislation is calling for plain packaging and stringent
advertising.  In an economic landscape where marijuana is a commodity, grow ops and
dispensaries alike will survive based on their ability to differentiate themselves from
competition.

STICKER LABELING FOR CANNABIS PACKAGING

Stickers are a powerful tool for marijuana brands in all stages of marketing development.
Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution, or you’re in a product category with
seasonal turnover, stickers and sticker labeling are popular solutions to catch the eye of
potential customers.  The only limit to your design is your creativity.
Sticker labels allow you to print anything from detailed branding and design, to nutritional
information, on a single sheet.  This is at a fraction of the price it would cost you to print
directly on the substrate (AKA the packaging material itself).   Stickers also offer ease of use – no
special machinery required – and a relatively short production time, dependent on the quality
and quantity of stickers.
Stickers can be applied across product genres to create brand unity; Cannabis producers can
label everything from Pop-Top Bottles, to Flip-Top Bottles, Reverse Cap Bottles, Pre Roll Tubes,
Glass Jars, Barrier Bags, Child Safe Bags, Exit Bags and more.  You can procure labels and
labeling services from nearly every packaging company and some may offer design services as
well.
If your brand is more developed, and you’re looking at semi-custom or full-custom packaging,
sticker labeling can allow you the flexibility to stay current without the hassle of changing your
design.  Want to highlight seasonal promotions? Doing limited runs of flavors? Sticker labeling
enables brands to evolve as packaging legislation evolves.

SEMI-CUSTOM CANNABIS PACKAGING

Semi-custom bags are a powerful next step for companies who’ve built their fan-base and
discovered their aesthetic, but are also perfect for new companies with very dialed-in and
focused branding.  While semi-custom options are a slightly more expensive, the effect of the

branding applied directly to the barrier bag, pop top or concentrate container is undeniably
elevated.
Although there are limits to the color variety and placement which semi-custom packaging can
afford, the look of the finished product lends itself to brands shooting for a vintage look, to a
clean modern look, to a limited-run boutique look, and nearly everything in between.

Hot stamping, also known as foil stamping, is a popular type of semi-custom printing that has
existed since the 19th century.  Ink or foil sheets are transferred to the material surface at high
temperatures, imparting not only color or sheen, but texture, just like a hot iron brand.  This
texture adds to that luxury feel that many cannabis brands are after and can be applied in
several overlapping colors to both the front and back of barrier bags, child resistant bags, and
more.
Select companies also offer an ink printing service with a similar price point as hot stamping for
custom pop top bottles, custom concentrate containers and custom child resistant bottles.
Only a select few companies offer the affordable, stylish, mid-range semi-custom option for
bags and pop tops. If you go with a packaging company like Green Rush Packaging, capable of a
full range of semi-custom effects with in house production and short turnarounds, semi-custom
branding can be an excellent option.  Unfortunately, many companies outsource this process
and lead times on production can be long.

FULL CUSTOM CANNABIS PACKAGING

Nothing says “the cannabis industry has matured” more than full custom packaging.  Cannabis
growers and purveyors are starting to recognize the need to force the issue; their product is
deserving of the same packaging fate as any commodity fighting for shelf space.
Brands hoping to become household names have given up the rastafari color scheme, the
Marley caricatures and the bad marijuana puns in favor of clean modern designs.  And while
some brands still embrace the cannabis leaf itself, the industry is trending away from its use as
key to brand strategy, opting for subtler uses instead.
Full custom packaging is the ultimate branding solution, and offers a company complete control
over color, format and presentation.  Because full custom printing is primarily done overseas in
larger quantities, many packaging companies offer full custom services but at a varying levels of
cost.
To take full advantage of full custom packaging, you’ll need a very clear brand message and a
well thought out packaging strategy, but it can be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.