Growth in the cannabis segment is leading to more opportunities for the packaging industry.
Packaging companies, automation suppliers, and RFID tag-makers are increasingly in demand as medical marijuana is legalised in more places, and the cannabis market expands.
The US cannabis industry has grown by over 200 per cent in the past five years, topping $7.3 billion.
These figures come from a paper produced by PMMI: Here to Stay or Up in Smoke: A Look at the US Cannabis Market.
This growth, along with an influx of business startups, has helped legitimise marijuana use.
Locally, the Federal Government this year announced it would allow exports of cannabis-based medicines, in a move aimed at creating a more stable and secure supply for Australian patients.
There are also said to be ambitions for Australia to become the biggest producer of medicinal cannabis products in the world.
By the year 2020, the cannabis industry is expected to reach $24.5 billion globally, with $11.2 billion for recreational products and $13.3 billion for medical products.
One challenge facing cannabis manufacturers is the need for separate RFID tags for the plant and packaged product.
Packaging for cannabis products is highly regulated, with requirements for child-resistant and resealable lids, tamper-evidence, and opacity.
Formats also vary for the different forms of cannabis, with cannabis flower in glass jars and tubes, concentrates in heatproof, borosilicate, glass or polystyrene containers and edibles in resealable smell-proof bags.
Cannabis manufacturers are actively looking for equipment and technology to aid them in implementing new processes, particularly automation.
Packaging solutions for the cannabis industry will be further discussed at Pack Expo International from 14-17 October in Chicago.