Until recently Colorado’s little experiment has been overseen by a group charged with coordinating efforts to implement regulation for Colorado’s recreational and medical marijuana industries. This was a group of lawmakers and medical professionals made up to aid in the roll out of legalization. The group was recently disbanded by the governor, so it can be assumed that he feels the experiment has worked thus far. Hopefully, this also means that the cannabis industry will get a little break. Every six months or so, since 2014, this industry faces changes that cause our entire business model to be thrown out and re-written. Most changes have been for the better and will cause things to run more smoothly. There is also a great deal of waste due to packaging, something we need to figure out how to cut down on moving forward.

The packaging laws are out of control for the cannabis industry. Does some Colorado congressman’s brother own a plastics and packaging company? The waste that is accumulated due to this industry is getting out of control. Please do your best to reuse those bags that the budtenders give you, don’t just go home and cut them open. Do they not care about the waste that is going into everything? People and politicians have become so concerned about the idea that a kid could get into an edible. Cannabis is more regulated than every other industry. We were initially based off gaming laws but I think even those laws are a little less strict than buying a bag of weed is these days. Why is it necessary that I label everything that I sell you a second time if it already has a label on it? And why does it matter if there is a receipt on the bag if you don’t want one? When a person buys hash from me we have it packaged with the label on there. Then, I have to print out a label and affix it to the hash package because that will tell you the date it was purchased on. Then I have to package it in a giant envelope that will have the same sticker that is already on the hash package. Then I have to staple or tape the date to the outside of the bag. Holy hell that is a lot of labels. People who smoke weed also tend to be people that might be a little conscious of their carbon footprint out there. Let us use the minimum if we want. Why does the damn date have to be on everything purchased? A gun does not need that kind of exit packaging so why the hell does an unprocessed plant? You want your kids to stay out of your stash? Put it somewhere they cannot get it. Do not rely on those around you to protect your kid, you chose to have them so it is your job to raise them correctly.

Packaging laws require a handful of things to be on them. First, they must be childproof, which means an oddly shaped container of some kind that can lock. Then they must be opaque so regardless of how nice those products look no customer will ever be allowed to see them until they open them. The way one checks for hash and bud quality in this industry is by looking at the product. In addition to the unflattering packaging, there also must be a classic novel written on the packaging regarding all the different state laws and warnings, in addition to all the nutrition facts and THC info that people are actually interested in looking at. This novel essentially contains all the same info that I will be sticking on the package before it leaves the shop too. The font on the packaging must be a state regulated size as well, so what that means for a great deal of the products on the shelf is that the packaging requires more stickers and literature than is actually capable of fitting on the product itself. So that means the company now must make a box that is three times larger than the product itself just to get all the language on there. You know what happens to all that labeling when the customer gets home? It goes in the trash! If I had a nickel for every time someone read the state mandated labels on their edible and weed package I would have about $.25. The amount of money that was spent on packaging and labels though must be in the millions by now. Although the state of Colorado has made cannabis legal they have really gotten involved in the business on a more personal level than I have ever heard of the state doing. The guy I work for showed me the regulation manual for disposing of nuclear waste versus the regulation manual for growing and selling cannabis in the state of Colorado. The nuclear waste manual resembled more of a pamphlet handed out at a conference whereas the regulatory pamphlet for cannabis resembled the novel War and Peace.

When I was growing up I would hear the phrase “make weed legal and tax the heck out of it”. To me that always sounded like a logical idea, why not add an excise tax to make extra money for something people want anyway. I think taxing this industry is a good idea, there is a great deal of income there and over sixty percent of this nation smokes so why not help everyone out? But why do all the other restrictions have to get put on the industry? Why does the business owner have to spend so much money on their packaging and labels just to sell a product? I can only imagine the redundant things the growers must do when growing the weed because there is no way the state would let someone just grow a plant without attaching a bunch of pointless fees to the process.

Packaging is necessary. As the consumer, it is important to know what is in the products you buy and as the manufacturer, it is necessary to have a certain aesthetic that will appeal to consumers. A product needs to look good. With advertising options severely limited by law, the way a cannabis product presents itself is critical to its success. These laws are not being designed with any empathy towards the businesses who make these cannabis products. It is hypocritical how cannabis is being treated and this has become a challenge for companies.

The reason why this is a big deal is that it causes waste. It is important that items purchased from cannabis dispensaries are labeled properly to inform the customer, nobody would argue with that. It is important to know the potency of the product and it is important to know the nutritional facts. It is also important to know that this is, in fact, a marijuana product. The moment you step foot in a cannabis dispensary you will see the abundance of waste we create.

Cannabis products are designed for adults 21 and older. Please consume responsibly.

Photo Credit: Marijuana Venture Magazine

Chris grew up in Dover, Delaware with his sights set on the wild west. Inspired by 80’s and 90’s- era ski movies Chris found his way to Gunnison, Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, now Western State University, and to ski Crested Butte. In this little mountain town in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains Chris also found a lovely little plant called cannabis. Chris still lives in Colorado, having moved to Steamboat Springs after graduating to follow his love of skiing, mountain biking, and all things outdoors. Currently working as a budtender with 7 years experience in the cannabis industry Chris has a passion for cannabis, a desire to write, and a love for Colorado.