One of the largest plastics processing companies in the world now openly talking about cannabis packaging

Legalisation leads top global packaging firms to cannabis

Only interested in the legal cannabis market

AS the stigma of marijuana use, both medicinally and recreationally, continues to wane in the United States, more plastics packaging companies are embracing the market. According to, that was clearly evident at Pack Expo in Chicago, where companies openly displayed a willingness to jump into the market.

Companies, both private and public, are typically risk adverse, so the fact that one of the largest plastics processing companies in the world is now openly talking about cannabis packaging signals both a market opportunity and a cultural shift.

But Berry Global Group Inc CEO Tom Salmon, made one thing perfectly clear: His Fortune 500 firm is only interested in the legal cannabis market.

“As you see the proliferation of legalisation of cannabis, of medical-grade marijuana, there has to be a responsible way to package it. So why not take advantage of those years of expertise, knowledge and know-how to deliver value to those customers that are using it for medical purposes, and in states where it is legal for recreational purposes, in a responsible way?” Salmon said.

“This is taking advantage of a packaging know-how. If you think about what we are trying to do, we’re supporting, in all instances, a legal industry, right? A legal business on a state-by-state basis, region-by-region basis,” he said. “We’re not, obviously, going to drift beyond those confines.”

Child safety
Presto’s Child-Guard zipper was originally designed to help keep children out of detergent pod packaging, but the opportunities now go beyond that application, Meussling said.

Cannabis companies know they need to upgrade their packaging as they become more mainstream.

“There’s a lot of regulations they are faced with. States are trying to figure it out, but they know they want child safety. So that’s how they started using our product,” he said. “As time goes on, we’re finding the cannabis market is not just a bunch of people who want to smoke it.”

But that doesn’t mean it comes easy for package designers and packaging processors. Companies have been making effective cookie packaging for a long, long time, Meussling said, but that packaging never had to be child-safe. Now the firms are faced with making child-resistant packaging for a wide variety of products that contain cannabis.

Zip-Pak, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc, introduced its own child-resistant slider called Safety-Lok at Pack Expo. The slider requires more than one action — in this case both squeezing and sliding — to open the package.

Carrie Strieter, Zip-Pak’s director of marketing and innovation, said Safety-Lok has multiple applications and also pointed out its potential use for medical marijuana packaging. But Zip-Pak is cautious about how to approach the opportunity.