Living the Dream: Shawn DeNae

Shawn DeNae

Washington Bud Company

Snohomish, Washington

Who knew glue would play a vital point in legal cannabis packaging? I didn’t until redesigning our pre-roll packaging recently.

Our original packaging is very laborious to assemble, though it is beautiful! It has a pricey but sexy, custom, perforated “flag” that creates a complimentary sticker for the consumer and doubles as a large area on the back to place the store sticker, including the bar code, cannabinoid levels, weight and other state requirements.

The problem of glue began to arise this summer during the heat. Apparently, when I reordered the labels from a more economical source, the reason I was able to cut some costs was because of the glue. It just wasn’t the same strength, and in the heat our labels were unwinding from the plastic joint tube while hanging on a display peg. PROBLEM! 

This happened in conjunction with reading an article highlighting that these extremely common plastic tubes do not recycle, as believed. They are apparently too small for the recycling machines to catch so they tend to end up in landfills. PROBLEM!

The hunt to solve these dilemmas began. I found a recyclable tube that could be pre-printed with the static information: branding, warnings, web link, Department of Health, 21+ warning, etc. It is really tricky to design for these small packages. Another challenge is to design them so the processing crew can prepare them efficiently. Add to the challenge that they must comply with the child-proof rules to make them difficult to open.

Here comes the glue issue again: There are glues that allow one to reposition a label if placed incorrectly, before it eventually hardens to become permanent. There are glues that stick hard right away so accuracy of hand placement is vital. I experimented with the former and found that even after curing, the label designed to hold the pre-roll tube together would not meet the criteria for child-proof packaging. So, to comply, we are stuck with the unforgiving glue that will actually hold the two pieces of the tube together securely. However, it holds so tightly that no manner of twisting, pulling or anything short of a sharp blade will allow the end user to open the package. (In rural areas folks may tend to carry knives but not so much in the city. Gotta allow those city folks to get to their joints!)

Enter in another pricey (but not so sexy) custom perforation. I really do not know yet if this new container will actually save us in overall costs of packaging, printing and labor but at least I am comforted by the fact it is totally reusable and recyclable.

And I’ll stick with that.


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