Jeff Phillips, the owner of Green Canoe Cannabis in Salmon Arm, said bulky packaging is the number-one complaint received from customers since the store opened for business.
Regulations related to the packaging of cannabis products are set by the federal government. The packaging criteria, set by Health Canada, requires cannabis to be packaged in sealed, tamper-evident containers. It is also mandated that cannabis packaging prevent contamination, be child-resistant and keep the cannabis dry.
Retailers have no say in how the products they sell are packaged because they are sealed when they arrive at the retail locations.
Phillips said his impression of the way cannabis has been packaged in the early months of legalization is that suppliers did not fully understand what was required on packaging, so it was bulky to ensure compliance with all regulations.
“I get the impression that it was overdone and it’s going to start scaling back,” Phillips said.
Part of the reason for the bulky packaging is all the information which has to be on it. Phillips said as many as four bar codes with information such as packaging dates are on the cannabis packages.
He said as the owner of a cannabis store with a small floor plan, the bulky packaging limits the amount of stock he can carry and the variety of products he can offer.
“Talking to all the reps, they all want to make packaging better and use less packaging, and I think it will come sooner than later.”
Phillips said one of the sales reps he deals with has drawn his attention to a recycling program which aims to make it easy for customers to recycle their cannabis containers rather than sending them to landfills. Phillips said customers will soon be able to bring their empty containers back to Green Canoe where they will then be picked up by the supplier and recycled.
The liquor distribution branch noted that most of the paper and cardboard packaging used for cannabis sales are recyclable. The hard plastic containers which are used for packaging cannabis are made from a variety of recyclable plastics which can be recycled into everything from beverage containers and shampoo bottles to pillow stuffing and ice scrapers.