Marijuana and the Ecomony

Marijuana Packaging Adding to Recycling Problem

Marijuana Packaging

Marijuana Packaging has added to the problems of non-recyclable plastics in landfills. Before 1970, unintentional poisoning deaths by medications or common household products were considered to be the leading cause of death of children aged 5 and under. Against this backdrop, Richard Nixon signed the Poison Prevention and Packaging Act into law. This legislation required child-resistant packaging for drugs and household chemicals that were hazardous to children.

Child-resistant regulations for marijuana packaging of products have led to staggering innovation in packaging design. Indeed, it has become impossibly difficult even for some adult stoners to get their stash open. And although innovation has kept up with the pace of demand, it too much conforms to the bigger is better American ideal. Marijuana packaging is heinously large and mushrooming out of control.

At the turn of the century, Colorado residents passed Amendment 20 legalizing medical marijuana. A crucial part of this framework was rules to protect children from accidentally ingesting it. As for prescriptions, child-resistant packaging is required for everything sold, no matter how small the amount.

Sales later skyrocketed with recreational pot becoming legal in 2012. Like its medical predecessor, Amendment 64 required child-resistant marijuana packaging for all cannabis products sold at retail outlets.

Consider that the standard opaque, plastic container a quarter of flower (7 grams) comes in weighs almost 29 grams, making it four times larger by weight than the content it holds. A standard container for half-eighths of flower (1.75 grams) weighs a whopping 10.10 grams, six times as much as the content it holds.

If that weren’t bad enough, marijuana packaging for a single gram of concentrate can weigh as much as 30 times as the product. And it isn’t biodegradable in the short-term.

Which leads to a grave concern about packaging, the bulk of it isn’t recycled, especially the small stuff. In Denver’s Cannabis Environmental Best Management Practices Guide, they note the small packaging for concentrate and pre-rolls, while technically recyclable, is usually sorted out by recyclers and taken to landfills.

And the exit bags (often plastic zippered, heavy weight bags), they’re typically not recyclable due to their mixed materials.

The reason the marijuana packaging is so large has less to do with the contents it holds than what it is required to say about them. Marijuana packaging is required to communicate a great breadth of information. For example, a container of flower must list its harvest batch, weight, ingredients, warnings, and basic cannabinoid profile.

The list of required information continues to get longer. In October of 2018, the Marijuana Enforcement Division again added to this list. From the point of view of bureaucrats charged with public safety, more regulation is better than less.

The problem could be solved one of two ways: through a bill in the Colorado legislature or through the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) rulemaking process. Either way, private industry must take the lead.

Excerpt from original article written by SPENCER J. WARD for Read full article at


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