Many people are still celebrating the legalization of cannabis in Canada. This isn’t true for all consumers, though. Some customers were in shock after their first purchase – not because of the product, but because of the packaging.

There’s nothing on the packaging causing eye-rolls (or in the products themselves). It’s actually just the sheer amount of packing that has people up in arms. Some consumers are pretty disappointed, with many coming forward calling the packaging excessive and environmentally unfriendly.

How Much Packaging is Too Much?

Some people have reported as much as 80 grams of packaging for only one gram of cannabis. Adding to it is the fact that each different strain a consumer buys comes individually wrapped. And, once opened, there’s no way to reseal your cannabis with the original packaging. You need to find your own bag or jar for that.

The amount of packaging is already discouraging some consumers from wanting to sample different strains. Instead, they’re looking to buy in bulk (as much as legally possible, anyway) to lessen their environmental impact.

Who’s to Blame?

Most producers are pointing their fingers at Health Canada. Health Canada has created some strict guidelines for packaging cannabis. The excessive amounts of packaging are a result of these rules.

Health Canada rules have stated that the packaging needs to follow certain guidelines. The packaging must:

  • Be tamper-proof
  • Prevent contamination of the cannabis
  • Be child resistant
  • Have single-colour logos
  • Have no metallic or fluorescent flourishes
  • Must feature the same health warnings as tobacco products
  • Keep their symbols smaller than the government’s warning
  • Only display one brand element beyond product name
  • Must list percentage of active ingredients

It is easy to see why packaging would bulk up with all these regulations to follow. But it’s also clear to see why these guidelines are in place. After all, we all want to know our cannabis hasn’t been tampered with. Plus, it’s pretty important that people know what the risks are – especially since a lot of Canadians are new to cannabis.

Better Packaging Moving Forward

So, is there a way to adhere to the above guidelines while cutting down on the amount of packaging? Some cannabis companies have come forward saying they’re willing to work with Health Canada to find a greener way to package their products.

One idea is to include the health warnings and active ingredients lists as inserts inside the package, rather than on the outside. This would allow for packaging to become smaller and more compact, while still providing the mandated information.

Some consumers are suggesting companies sell cannabis in glass jars or bottles. After setting up a refund system, these jars could be returned for a refund and reused by the sellers.

Another option is to create the packaging out of recyclable materials. The good news is that most of the packaging is already recyclable. This should put people’s minds at ease for now. Still, we need to find a way to cut down on the amount of packaging or find a way to make it entirely recyclable (or reusable).

For now, Health Canada seems to be setting some pretty high standards for safety. We can’t really blame them for that, this is, after all, uncharted territory. We’re not sure where the great packaging debate will go, but we’ll be watching for updates.