As Legal Marijuana Expands, Labeling Must Keep Up

In news that seemed unthinkable even a few years ago, a legal recreational cannabis industry is poised to develop in the U.S. and Canada. As with any industry on the verge of expansion, the opportunities for entrepreneurs are significant.

However, they'll have to be prepared – between regulations still in development and the competition sure to spring up, producers will have to be ready to create compelling, compliant labels and change their designs frequently.

Similar to the Liquor Industry

For a model of how the cannabis industry will develop in locations where it's legalized, beer could be the best analogy. When it comes to both the types of companies that sell products and the regulations needed to enforce safety around them, Calgary mayor Naheed Nensi sees many parallels between alcohol and cannabis, according to the CBC. He opined that when it comes to the rules dictating where stores can be located and other such details, the city may in fact adopt the exact same rules it applies to liquor.

Of course, alcohol producers face special packaging requirements, with warnings mandated by federal law. There is every chance that recreational marijuana packaging will go the same way. With the regulations still taking shape and and certain locales without a timeline for legalization, prospective marijuana entrepreneurs should be ready to not only alter their labels to suit legal requirements. They should also prepare to potentially do so several times over the next few years.

Proposed legislation in Massachusetts shows the direction cannabis packaging rules may take next. The Boston Globe noted that if the planned pieces of legislation pass, labels will have to be devoid of bright colors or cartoon characters, so as not to create the impression that the product is for kids. Furthermore, the main color of the packages might have to be opaque gray.

A Huge Opportunity

Of course, the quest to create packaging within strict regulations will prove worthwhile if the industry is lucrative enough, and the opportunity is there in recreational marijuana. Dispensaries.com, via Entrepreneur, recently compared 2016 legal cannabis sales in North America with the amount spent in 2015 and found a huge increase – 34 percent year-over-year. Even with only a few states and provinces allowing the sale of these products, they generated $7 billion last year, and with each new territory that opens up, there will be new chances for expansion and competition.

Take Labeling In-House

Companies that want to compete in the growing legal cannabis space can help themselves stay relevant and agile by adding their own label printers. Faced with a host of brand-new products to introduce, a need to stand out among competition and malleable labeling laws, taking control of this element could free companies up.

Ramping up from a small company into a market leader is very demanding from a labeling perspective, with few labels needed at the beginning and many as time goes on. Organizations that take label printing into their own hands can cross an item off their lists of concerns as they expand by adding the right hardware.

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