Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

5 Smart and Safe Ways to Package Edibles

How to both protect kids and innovate the market with your edibles designs.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Edibles are the most commonly scrutinized product by state legislators -- and for good reason. Unknowing minors are more likely to eat what appears to be a tasty sweet than a nug of weed, and even if they did eat weed, the result would be less detrimental than a magic brownie. Adults, too, are not immune to negative edibles experiences. How many stories have you heard of people trying too much of an edible and then enduring a scary high for hours?


For this reason, edibles bear the most weight when it comes to safety in cannabis packaging design and solutions. As the recreational market has evolved, regulations surrounding edible packaging are getting stricter and more definitive. Read more to learn about the cause of product deviations, regulations and the changes to come for some states as soon as 2019.

Related: Edibles Are Gobbling Up the Cannabis Market

1. Know the law

Edibles create a unique situation in which brands must consider consumer safety in the design of its packaging or risk being in violation of the law. For example, in Colorado edible potency must be labeled in a font two sizes larger than the rest of product's typography. Other states are proposing an onset pictogram be placed on packaging to inform the consumer that edibles caused a delayed reaction as opposed to smoking it. By knowing the laws in your state, a brand can choose to make iconography a part of their brand while educating their consumers on their product.

2. Keep it simple


As consumers, it’s fun to see a brightly colored package that looks like it could have popped out of a futuristic film, but this type of packaging may be too appealing to children and also happens to be against the law in many states. In California, cannabis product labeling cannot refer to the product as a candy, be attractive to children, make health claims or include cartoons.

Clean and simple designs limit the likelihood that a child would be drawn to the packaging. At my design firm, we’ve created designs under the direction of our clients that were not approved by their cannabis officer because they were deemed “appealing to children.” To save you the hassle and expense,we say keep it simple on edible packaging design.

3. Childproof your packaging as a design choice

We believe lower milligram dosages should be kept individually wrapped and in tamper-evident packaging, while higher milligram dosages should be kept in childproof packaging. So do many state legislators and anyone who's had a bad edible trip. Having different packaging standards for low and high milligram dosages is beneficial for the consumer. If you have a child-proof zipper or lock top you must open first you automatically know your edible is going to pack a powerful punch.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Know About Edibles

Two packaging modernisms are boxes with trays and blister packs that lock in place. These devices both stop a child from accessing product and make them hard to remove.


4. Take inspiration from the food industry

Looking for inspiration for your edible package design? Take a walk through your local grocery store. For example, if you're selling edible personal pizzas, see what types of packaging work best for storage, are most appealing to consumers, and promote the maximum ROI. The possibilities for packaging are endless and just as fun as the high edibles produce!.

5. If they regulate, you innovate.

The laws around edibles change all the time, and smart companies will want to stay up on the regulations. As of April 3, Washington State processors are facing new challenges with laws coming into effect within the new year. 2019, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board will be cracking down on products that appear “especially appealing to children,” including “products such as, but not limited to, gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly colored products are prohibited”. 

Rather than throw your hands up in frustration, find new was to innovate with product limitations such as these. Make a product shine in its own way, regardless of any constraints.