Opportunities for Printing and Packaging in the Booming Cannabis Market

Cannabis legalization is growing worldwide, as more countries change their regulations, and companies, growers and retailers around the world try to make their mark in this “green rush” era. Hemp, the source for CBD (which is the non psychoactive compound) has lots of proven benefits, and is being added to countless retail products – from food to cosmetics. Overall, the CBD market is expected to grow to $2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020, and these products will require packaging.

hemp products

What started as creams and tinctures, has evolved to a plethora of retail products such as savory snacks, drinks, dried beef and even candy – all containing CBD, and all of them need packaging, which poses a huge opportunity for design, print and packaging companies that seize it, in addition to books, magazines and brochures.

While the CBD market is growing across the entire US, so does the recreational cannabis (with THC) market, depending on regulators in each state. To date, 17 US states have decriminalized possession and use, 11 states have legalized recreational cannabis, and 33 states have legalized medical cannabis, which opens the market for pre rolled cigarettes and other smoking products, which also, require packaging in some way.

Interestingly, in most CBD products, the packaging is rich with eye-catching colors, graphics and stamping, and the backside is full with printing to address all the legal requirements. Printing requirements also include branding, stay-fresh features and safety. Additionally, since the market is in its infancy and regulations tend to change often, the packaging must change as well to reflect the new regulations, so most companies order short runs of packaging due to the uncertainty.

Packaging for the CBD industry is very challenging, due to the nature of the product, the changing regulations, the need for child-resistance fixtures and the usage of print materials suitable for the food industry. Packaging suppliers who can adapt their product line to this new industry may experience significant growth in the next few years.