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​America’s Pot Boom: Playing it Safe with Child Resistant Plastic Storage

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According to Forbes magazine, in 2018 marijuana is the fastest growing industry in the US[1].

Full disclosure, I live in California, where the Gold Rush potential off legalized pot has long-since been unearthed. But recently, that momentum is spreading across the nation, moving into new and emerging markets at an impressive rate that’s only increasing. [2]

At the moment that I’m writing this, thirty states have legalized marijuana in some form or another. Legal cannabis sales in the US reached nearly $10 Billion in 2017 and is predicted to cross the $20B mark by 2020, illuminating that the economic possibilities of a fully realized American marijuana market are massive, not just for pot but for the adjacent industries as well. [3] And make no mistake: those poised to reap the rewards of marijuana’s momentum include companies producing plastic storage and packaging options.

States with Legalized Medical and/or Recreational Marijuana
New York
North Dakota
Rhode Island
New Hampshire
New Jersey
Washington, DC
New Mexico
West Virginia

But the opportunities stemming from a fruitful marriage of pot and plastic don’t end there.

With regulated, state-sanctioned legalization comes loudening calls for marijuana safety, specifically keeping children from getting into mom and dad’s legal stash.

In 2018, that “stash”contains not only flowers, (the dispensary term for conventional pot) but also,

Edibles marijuana infused foods and snacks that are rapidly are gaining popularity as the wave of legalization sweeps across the country.

Typically, edibles take the form of candy—gummies, chocolates, lozenges, hard candies—or snack foods—cookies, chips, sodas, cereals, brownies, cupcakes and Rice Krispies treats.

The inherent ‘danger’of edibles is that so many of them APPEAR like ordinary versions of the marijuana-free foods from which they derived and this can pose a real risk for consumers with kids.

Emerging as one of the most popular (and trailblazing) solutions for the risk marijuana poses young children is  child-proof packaging, specifically child resistant caps that can accompany most plastic storage containers.

Child-proof packaging, specifically child-resistant caps, emerge as one of the most popular solutions for the risk marijuana poses to young children.Child Resistant Caps accompany plastic storage containers

According to San Francisco Weekly, child-proof packaging had not evolved much in the 45-plus years since the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. But the marijuana business has already started to change that.

As of 2016, child resistant packaging was mandatory in 13 of the states where marijuana has been legalized. Twenty-four states now have laws that dictate the packaging guidelines for cannabis products. [4] And that number is expected to grow as more states take a closer look at their pot policies.  

Writes journalist Joe Zurka, “These states are —by necessity — revolutionizing how legal marijuana is kept out of children’s hands.” [5]

Even before the point of sale, demands for plastic packaging seem to be popping up. Keren Sookne at Packaging World sites a California state regulation which requires that, “prior to delivery or sale at a retailer, cannabis and cannabis products shall be labeled and placed in a resealable, tamper-evident, child-resistant package and shall

include a unique identifier for the purposes of identifying and tracking cannabis and cannabis products.” [6]

Observes Sean Williams at The Motley Fool, “the ancillary business could be more exciting”than the pot,”noting that companies that “specialize in child-resistant and tamper-proof packaging may play just as important a role as the growers themselves.” [7]

With more and more states dipping their toes in the legalized marijuana pool (and with many immersing a lot more than just their feet) the mutually beneficial relationship between pot and plastics is just ramping up. And with no signs of slowing down, the pot boom promises to unlock endless opportunities for ancillary industries.

Moving forward, it’s up to plastic manufacturers to make sure they have a seat at the table. And by appealing to a group of loyal consumers who are already becoming more mindful of how they store their recently-legalized pot, they can do just that.

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Drew Eisen grew up in New England and is a Los Angeles based writer, music fan and full-time dog-lover.

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