IS OVER-PACKAGING MAKING YOUR HERB LESS GREEN?To some it’s no secret that the environmental legacy of the marijuana industry isn’t very pretty. Prohibition of cannabis and the failed War on Drugs has driven cultivation of cannabis indoors, driving energy-hungry artificial lighting to grow a plant that naturally thrives in the sun. Less than scrupulous operators have damaged public lands and poisoned the environment with dangerous pesticides and fertilisers.
Cannabis marketing and packaging is a crucial aspect of the industry - but is it causing too much harm when it comes to the environment?
While the legalisation of cannabis appears almost certain to have a more positive than negative impact on the world, as an industry takes shape and drug war victims incrementally receives a modicum of restorative justice, we do at times overlook the negative impacts along the way. Waste continues to be a primary concern.

Legalisation leads to an influx in operators and often strict rules and regulations around child-safe packaging. To make matters worse, cultivation from licensed and unlicensed farms can often have huge impacts on water, waste and the land. The waste concerns aren’t solely exclusive to that of producers and retailers. The marketing materials produced to promote the products contribute a smaller, yet still troubling amount - be it copious amounts of fliers at dispensaries or promotional materials wrapped in layers of plastic or cardboard.
Evolved discussed this with numerous cannabis marketing leaders to understand the issue better, its magnitude and why cannabis, a space aiming to revolutionise, often falls into such wasteful marketing practices. 
Most believe that marketing and promotional waste isn’t the primary industry concern. However, most also felt it is an issue worth addressing.

Marketing leaders advise brands to consider the environmental impact of their marketing materials used. At the same time, they have to consider if people will use the product rather than be concerned about its production cost. In certain cases, that consideration may lead to digital efforts rather than that of physical materials. Don’t all brands want to fuse style with innovation and still uphold an environmentally conscious ethos?

To achieve this, brands must adopt a forward way of thinking when approaching their packaging needs.

The other side of the equation is the consumer. Most brands converted to eco-friendly packaging, but it’s up to the consumers to turn into repeat buyers, even if it means paying a slightly more premium price.
The three most common ways to produce sustainable packaging is going with one of these routes: recyclable or reusable, plant-based, or reducing packaging altogether to eliminate plastics.Sampling and gift boxes is the best practice for getting your product into people’s hands. Rather than fighting the inevitable, brands need to consider what they create and where it may eventually lead- the landfill. Products directed at the luxury cannabis market seem to be particularly guilty of outlandish over packaging. Perhaps extra consideration should go into using compostable packaging or simply avoiding branded items people will likely throw away?

Waste will likely continue to be a great source of negativity in the cannabis space for some time, despite the issue being acknowledged. 
Waste will likely continue to be a great source of negativity in the cannabis space for some time, despite the issue being acknowledged. However, the consensus is that now is the time to act. If you’re not thinking about the environmental impact of your marketing efforts, you’re probably not thinking about the impact of your product.

Trailblazing Partners - Issue 6


Foreword - Issue 6


Issue 6 - Cover

Issue 6 - Cultivation