primary packaging inc.


Packaging and Labeling Trends and Challenges of the Cannabis Industry

April 20, 2023
By Ben Kaplan

Packaging and Labeling Trends and Challenges of the Cannabis IndustryThe cannabis industry has seen explosive growth in recent years, with the legalization of cannabis in many states across the United States. While this growth presents exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, it also comes with its own unique set of challenges.

Challenges To The Cannabis Industry

One of the most significant challenges faced by cannabis businesses is navigating the complex web of government regulations. Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, which means that businesses in this industry must comply with a patchwork of state and local regulations that vary widely in their requirements. For companies that can successfully navigate this sometimes confusing mixture of regulations to participate in this high growth industry, a strong competitive advantage awaits, but its a lot easier said than done.

Labeling Regulations

One area where these regulations are particularly stringent is labeling. Cannabis products must be labeled accurately and clearly to ensure consumer safety and compliance with state and local laws. This can be a daunting task for businesses, especially those that are new to the industry.

Labeling is a critical component of any successful cannabis business. Proper labeling can help build trust with consumers, establish your brand, and ensure that your products are compliant with all relevant regulations. Each state has its own set of packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis products. For example, here is a great resource for the requirements for California and Illinois. Be sure to check the specific regulations for the state you plan to operate in before choosing a product label. Labels also provide a way to differentiate your products from competitors, which is essential in a crowded market.

Working With The Right Label Partner

Addressing the labeling challenges of the cannabis industry do not have to be complicated and time consuming. Presumably your goal is to purchase product labels that appeal to consumers, establish your brand as a trusted source of cannabis and check all the boxes for regulators. By working with a label manufacturer that is well-equipped to produce labels of all shapes, sizes, colors and features, all the heavy lifting can be handled by your label partner. This will give you more time to focus on producing a top tier product and building a relationship with the consumer. One of your first questions when selecting a label partner should certainly be whether they can produce tamper-evident or tamper-resistant labels to allow you to meet regulations. 

Payments and Handling Cash

Handling Cash Payments at Cannabis Retail StoresAnother challenge faced by cannabis businesses is how to securely handle cash. Since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, most banks are hesitant to work with businesses in this industry. This means that many cannabis businesses must operate on a cash-only basis, which can be both time-consuming and risky.

Strengthening Your Cash Handling Protocols with Security Bags

Security bags offer a solution to this problem. These bags are designed to securely store and transport cash, making it easier for businesses to manage their finances and ensure that their employees and customers are safe. Security bags are an essential tool for any cannabis business that wants to operate safely and securely.

At the most basic level, security bags are a plastic bag that can hold cash or other valuables and allow the user to seal the bag to prevent unwanted access using a one time sealing tape. Some security bag brands offer more advanced security features or highly customized solutions to meet the specific needs of an industry or a particular customer. Whatever your appetite for custom vs simple designs, introducing the use of security bags into a cash-only operation is not only smart, its essential for optimal security.

Preserving Freshness

Cannabis packaging to preserve freshnessOne of the main challenges for cannabis companies regarding freshness is the short shelf life of cannabis products. Cannabis is a natural plant-based product that can degrade quickly, leading to a loss of potency and quality over time. Cannabis products need to be stored under specific conditions, such as a controlled temperature and humidity, to maintain their freshness. If these conditions are not met, the products can become contaminated, moldy, or dry, which can affect their potency and overall quality.

Sealing To Extend Shelf Life

Cannabis packaging comes in all shapes and sizes, but they all have something in common: barrier properties. Cannabis companies use packaging with barrier properties to keep their product fresh to be enjoyed by the customer days or weeks after harvest. Barrier laminated film is a common element in cannabis packaging. Whether its a lid on a rigid container or flexible packaging, such as a pouch, barrier laminations are an effective way to seal in freshness to extend shelf life. Besides maintaining freshness and potency of their products, barrier laminated film also helps to comply with regulations and consumer expectations for quality. 

Trends in Cannabis Packaging

The strong growth of the cannabis industry in recent years has led to a surge in demand for innovative and functional packaging and labeling solutions. As the industry continues to evolve, trends in cannabis packaging and labeling are emerging to meet the needs of businesses and consumers.

Child-Resistant Packaging:

One trend that has emerged in cannabis packaging is the use of child-resistant containers. These packaging designs have helped to prevent children from accessing cannabis products – a major concern for regulators and the industry.

Sustainable Packaging:

Another trend in cannabis packaging is the use of eco-friendly and sustainable materials. Many cannabis businesses are now choosing to use packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials to reduce their environmental impact. These materials include paper, cardboard, and hemp-based products, which are renewable and have a lower carbon footprint than traditional packaging materials. However, it is not always possible to completely eliminate plastic from packaging for products that require a moisture or oxygen barrier to prevent spoilage. In situations like this. another way to achieve sustainability goals is to work with plastic packaging manufacturers with highly sophisticated engineering teams to choose materials that let you down-gauge without sacrificing the critical barrier properties that keep the products fresh for consumption.


The most important labeling trend in the cannabis industry is the proliferation of tamper proof labels. These labels can take a variety of shapes and designs, but the purpose is to alert buyers and sellers of product that has been mishandled or even tampered with before it can cause issues. This trend addresses freshness and product safety issues, which has led many states to require tamper proof labels on all cannabis products.

Another labeling trend that has emerged is the use of QR codes. QR codes provide a quick and easy way for consumers to access information about a product, including its potency, dosage, and ingredients. These codes can be scanned using a smartphone, providing a convenient way for consumers to learn more about a product and its effects. This convenient yet simple technique allows the cannabis brand to put a wealth of information about its products at the fingertips of the consumer; far more than it would otherwise be able to communicate on a product label. A high level of communication between producer, retailer and consumer is critical to establishing brand loyalty and avoiding regulatory issues.

Overall, the cannabis industry is driving innovation in packaging and labeling, with a focus on safety, sustainability, and convenience. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative packaging and labeling solutions emerge to meet the needs of businesses and consumers alike.

Servicing the Cannabis Industry with High-Quality Packaging Solutions

The Field Packaging Solutions portfolio of packaging companies is well positioned to meet the packaging needs of the cannabis industry. Whether you need barrier lamination film for containers, labels to meet industry regulations and develop brand loyalty, or you need a way to strengthen your cash handling protocols to help you navigate federal limitations on the sale of cannabis in the United States, we have the capabilities and resources to meet your needs!

Barrier Laminated Film for Cannabis Packaging

Momar Industries is a flexible packaging manufacturer specializing in adhesive lamination and lidding. Momar’s focus areas include, but are not limited to, lidding (custom die-cut lids and rollstock), adhesive laminations for barrier packaging, and flexographic printing. Momar Industries offers a wide range of lamination capabilities for flexible packaging. Momar manufactures high barrier solutions for all flexible packaging formats and machine types. Our barrier laminations for flexible packaging are ideal for applications in the cannabis industry as well as many others. Momar has robust technical expertise to meet your packaging needs with foil barrier film, metalized barrier film and transparent barrier film laminations.

Cannabis Product Labels

Labelmart is a full-service manufacturer specializing in high-quality custom prime printed labels, tags, decals, product identification, and more. We work with a wide variety of materials and print thousands of shapes and sizes for just about any industry in the marketplace today. With experience navigating regulations for the food and beverage industry as well as the healthcare industry, Labelmart is familiar with the complexity of challenges faced by the cannabis industry. It has the capabilities to produce tamper proof labels to meet industry regulations and your specific specifications. It also offers robust flexographic and digital label printing capabilities for all your product labeling needs.

Security Bags to Securely Collect and Transport Cash

Alert Security Products manufactures the industry leading solutions for tamper evident bags for storing, protecting and transporting sensitive assets, while maintaining a secure and unbroken chain of custody. Alert Security Products offers the widest range of security bag formats in the industry to provide protection against theft, damage or manipulation of your highly sensitive assets. Its security bags have been specifically designed to address critical needs of various industries. The bank deposit bag designed by Alert Security Products is a simple solution to hand-carried bank transfers and are extremely effective tools for preventing theft and tampering in cash-only business, like cannabis.

All security bags from Alert Security Products are loaded with additional security features to ensure you have everything you need to protect your assets from tampering and theft. One key way Alert Security products bags are differentiated from other options on the market is the bag-on-roll design, which keeps the bags organized in sequential order for better tracking. A roll design is also much easier to dispense and then store for later use.

In conclusion, packaging and labeling have evolved significantly and will continue to do so in the cannabis industry. In addition, cannabis industry growth is challenged by the complexity of cash-only operations and until federal regulations loosen, finding ways to minimize that burden is key for cannabis companies. With the right tools and strategies, these challenges can be overcome and cannabis business can flourish. By investing in high-quality security bags and taking the time to develop clear and accurate product labels, cannabis businesses can build a successful and thriving enterprise in this exciting and rapidly growing industry.