It's All In The Packaging: How Cool Cannabis Branding And Display Can Boost Sales

When a state legalizes cannabis for recreation or medical purposes, products flood the market hoping to gain an early foothold on sales, consumer preferences, and brand recognition. Companies in the fast-paced industry need to create compelling packaging that meets strict state regulations and can stand out in a crowded storefront. The wrapping can be as important as what’s inside.

Packaging cannabis products goes far beyond a cool logo and regulation-compliant containers said Jenna Zilincar, founder and creative director at M studio based in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She began working with packaging and display concepts for the weed industry about three years ago.

 Green Jay Single Packaging

Green Jay Single Packaging

There’s a story to the brand, a target customer, an overall look and feel, and more. The brand becomes “a dynamic platform that tells a compelling visual story,” said Zilincar, ”and the packaging is an integral part.”


Mo Taxon who has helped run the California-based cannabis branding and marketing agency, A Growth Industry since 2016, says branding and packaging build long-term value. “Businesses and entrepreneurs understand making an ad or a website,” said Taxon, but fewer know that “branding is about creating a feeling rather than a sale. It’s strategy rather than tactics.”

The distinction is important he said. “When national legalization comes, companies that have widespread brand recognition and a strong reputation will be acquired quickly and at a higher valuation.”


Legal marijuana has unique challenges when it comes to packaging. Each state has its own safety requirements, especially around child-safety and clear THC dosing. Packaging must be compliant with all regulations so the product can stay on the shelves, but within these requirements, good packaging “maintains the integrity of the brand,” said Zilincar.

 Green Jay Single Product and Packaging Display

Green Jay Single Product and Packaging Display

It’s important to think about how the consumer will see the packaging “in a retail setting when other competition is screaming for the attention of the buyer,” said Zilincar.  She often creates stand-alone displays to set the product apart and attract new consumers. Design elements like embossed lettering rather than printed text and stamped gold foil can communicate quality Taxon said.

The information contained on the package is also critical. For example, while standard candy packaging may encourage the consumer to eat as much of the product as often as they like, cannabis infused edibles need to clearly communicate THC dosage. This helps buyer easily decide how much to consume and prevents them from taking too much and having a bad experience.

Practical packaging considerations come when working with dry goods and pre-rolls. “Cannabis flower is a delicate substance,” so more protective materials like recycled chipboard and cardboard, as well as some plastics and glass, can work well and comply with state regulations said Zilincar.

Child safety is a critical factor, especially when developing packaging for cannabis-infused edibles. “None of your branding should remotely appeal to children,” said Taxon. Edibles should not be confused with candies. Cartoon characters cannot be used.

States require strict child-resistant packaging. Some allow only plastic that requires scissors to open it, rather than plastic that can be ripped open by hand. Others require separate packaging for each “dose.”  Working with an organization that understands the regulations completely can save costly mistakes from going into production.

Taxon will be applying branding and packaging lessons to his own product, a grow-your-own cannabis kit for the California home market. Taxon has sold about 100 home grow kits so far and plans to develop packaging that reflects the high quality of the components inside. “Everything from the LED lights, to the fan mounts, tubing, and even scissors are top-of-the-line,” he said. The curated box of components needs to communicate the value of the investment the consumer is making “to easily grow high quality cannabis.”

Some businesses are preparing for the possibility of legalization, working on their branding and packaging in case it happens. “We have been seeing a trend of people developing custom branding systems and packaging solutions for products that are yet to be distributed,” said Zilincar. In New Jersey for example, “with the anticipation of the state going legal, companies big and small are preparing to go to market once they get the green light.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/julieweed/2018/08/01/sharp-cannabis-packaging-boosts-sales-and-could-help-companies-sell-at-higher-valuations/#69b5362fef4b