While medical and adult-use cannabis is a difficult market to pin down due to its varying state by state legal status in the U.S., the demand for cannabis packaging continues to generate high projections. Depending on the study, expectations for the cannabis product packaging market reveal an increase between 30 and 35 percent per year to $1 – 1.5 billion by 2024. Both The Freedonia Group’s “Cannabis Packaging Opportunities,” and Smithers Pira’s The Future of Cannabis Packaging to 2024  note that primary and secondary containers, mainly jars, bottles and folding cartons, will continue to account for the largest share of packaging demand at 62 percent of sales in 2024. These containers account for the bulk of unit packaging costs, as they not only offer aesthetic and performance advantages but also meet the distinctive regulations of each state government. The versatility of jars and bottles have led to widespread use across nearly all cannabis delivery formats, including flower, edibles and topicals. As edibles continue to grow in popularity, however, manufacturers of folding cartons, bags and pouches expect to post substantial increases.

As more and more cannabis suppliers enter the market, packaging suppliers will remain competitive by offering containers that can support product differentiation, such as high-quality graphics and a premium image. Newer container types that are finding a foothold in the industry include glass bottles and vials, metal tins and niche packaging types such as cloth bags.

Despite a lack of federal approval, the U.S. currently sits as the leading market for cannabis packaging according to data culled from both reports, representing 63 percent of the world demand in 2019. The highest demand is in states that have legalized recreational use with California, Washington and Colorado purchasing the most packaging in 2019.

Small cannabis producers that use hand packaging and labeling are demanding automation in packaging as they look to build scale. Predictably, black market sellers are already copying the branded packaging of emergent legal cannabis brands. In response, brand manufacturers are investing in anti-counterfeiting and track-and-trace technologies for seed-to-sale transparency.

Most states within 200 miles of Philadelphia have already legalized medical marijuana, with some passing laws headed towards the legalization of recreational use. This makes the return of PACK EXPO East (March 3-5, Pennsylvania Convention Center) to the City of Brotherly Love the number one option in 2020 for both suppliers of packaging equipment and materials and cannabis growers and dispensers looking for solutions to their packaging needs. Produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, PACK EXPO East offers a projected 7,000 attendees the opportunity to gather insights from more than 400 exhibiting companies as well as network with industry peers about solutions they have deployed.

Free education on the show floor provides opportunities for attendees not only to see machinery in action and talk with suppliers but also learn about best practices and industry breakthroughs. The Forum includes 45-minute seminars about the latest industry trends with hands-on activities, small group discussions and Q&A sessions. The Innovation Stage consists of a series of 30-minutes sessions presented by expert suppliers each day,  including the return of what has become a standing room only session with PMMI Media Group’s Vice President of Content Jim Chrzan. From his extensive travels to growers and dispensaries around the U.S., Chrzan discusses the latest considerations in cannabis, highlighting trends in packaging automation and regulatory restrictions.

Register and learn more at www.packexpoeast.com.

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