The legal cannabis industry, in its medical and recreational channels, has existed in a state of constant evolution. With little precedent regarding labeling requirements, authorities at federal and state levels have taken steps to create new systems from scratch. The businesses within the sector have had to keep up with these directives, understanding that capitalizing on the industry's potential is based on strict regulatory compliance.
The medical cannabis industry in particular involves walking a fine line between promotion and compliance. Selling medical supplies is a naturally unglamorous business, but providers of cannabis are competing with one another in a relatively new niche and want their items to stand out.
Making the graphic design choices
A recent Healthcare Packaging interview with COHNNABIS Creative Director Jesse Pixler revealed some of the considerations that go into labeling and marketing new medical products incorporating cannabis. Pixler's brand recently debuted a new nasal spray, and he stated the intention of the packaging is to create a feeling of elegance. This directive meant not relying too heavily on stylized cannabis designs. Instead, the bottle and box carry understated illustrations.
Pixler also told Healthcare Packaging the company is acutely aware of legal requirements – even those that aren't active yet. The inhalers have production facility and dispensary license numbers on their bottles. At the time the item was introduced, those details weren't needed. COHNNABIS is also careful to ensure its packages include childproof elements, obliging rules that force brands to make packages inaccessible to curious kids.
Pondering Canada's next moves
While the U.S. legalizes marijuana products at a statewide level, Canada has promised to make recreational sale legal nationwide relatively soon. A recent Ottawa Citizen report indicated that this push toward regulated distribution of nonmedical products could have repercussions on the health care field. Namely, plain-packaging stipulations for recreational products would also affect medical cannabis if enacted.
This leveling of the rules would have negative effects, OrganiGram Chief Commercial Officer Ray Gracewood told the Ottawa Citizen. He suggested there would be confusion and displeasure. Gracewood suggested that if the proposal passes, items that have not had to bear major health warnings would be given new, carefully managed labels, making the products look like "rat poison." Whatever the outcome of the government's deliberation, cannabis providers operating across Canada will have to pay close attention.
In the ever-changing world of medical and recreational cannabis packaging, producers may find it economical to print their labels in house rather than outsourcing. Printers for this purpose are available at Optimedia Labs' U.S. store and Canada page.