Company: Sana Packaging
Title: CEO and co-founder
One of the major downsides of cannabis legalization is the tremendous increase in packaging waste, but marijuana is just a microcosm of a far greater plastic epidemic.
Ron Basak-Smith recognized this problem while attending graduate school for his MBA at the University of Colorado.
“If we keep using (plastic) at the rate we are, the total mass of plastic is going to outweigh the total mass of fish,” he says. “Stuff like that becomes alarming. It gets us off our ass and gets us doing something.”
So Basak-Smith got off his ass. He started doing something.
With the help of classmate and co-founder James Eichner, Basak-Smith started Sana Packaging, a company focused on sustainable packaging solutions for the cannabis industry. As a university student, he took Sana through Canopy Boulder’s 16-week accelerator program, then spent the year after graduation raising capital.
Sana Packaging launched its first product in 2018, a plant-based pre-roll container made entirely from hemp plastic. Earlier this year, the company introduced packaging made from reclaimed ocean plastics.
Sana Packaging now works with about 40 companies all across the country, but it’s still a two-man operation that relies heavily on manufacturers and research-and-development partners.
“James and I feel super fortunate to have this opportunity to make an impact in this industry and help bring solutions to something we both care very deeply about,” Basak-Smith says.