Canadian Licensed Producers and cannabis brands are relatively restricted when it comes to marketing regulations. Promotion is almost completely prohibited. Point-of-sale is one of the only places that LPs can get creative. The problem is, there is a large amount of information, health warnings and ugly red symbols that are required on compliant cannabis packaging in Canada.
Packaging is an extremely important factor in purchase decisions in all sorts of product categories. Let’s take a look at how 6 Canadian cannabis brands are differentiating with creative packaging, while remaining compliant with the Cannabis Act.
The Green Organic Dutchman
The Green Organic Dutchman has some of the most unique and best packaging in the Canadian cannabis game. If not the only, they are one of the only recreational brands that sells their strains in glass jars. These glass jars are dark green and semi-opaque, allowing consumers to view the buds contained inside. The jars are indented on one side, allowing you to prop them up for convenient examination and rolling.
TGOD cites environmental consciousness for the reason they chose glass jars:
“We’ve said to no to plastic containers from the very beginning, instead choosing to go green with recyclable glass packaging for oils and flowers and recyclable paper for shipping. We’ve also designed our glass packaging with a care that lends its hand to reusing instead of recycling. We encourage innovative ways to reduce the impact of cannabis legalization on the environment because we believe a greener cannabis industry is not only possible, but essential.”
They even published an article on their website about how to turn your TGOD glass jar into a Christmas tree ornament, just in time for the holidays.
The Green Organic Dutchman is a Licensed Producer headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. TGOD is both a medical and recreational cannabis supplier.
Houseplant’s brand is all about retro vibes and they have created a novel concept for their dried flower packaging that reflects this. Available in Sativa (yellow), Hybrid (green) and Indica (purple), these packages resemble old school VHS tape sleeves.
There have been some concerns and complaints online about the excessive amount of packaging for only 3.5 grams of cannabis. Houseplant flower comes inside of a plastic jar inside of a large box that is inside another box. It looks great, but it might be a little much for environmentally conscious consumers to continually purchase.
Houseplant is a Canadian cannabis company founded by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and partners. Houseplant is owned in partnership with Canopy Growth Corporation and offers strains of dried flower cannabis, softgel capsules and pre-rolled joints across Canada. All of their branding follows the “Sativa”, “Hybrid” and “Indica” distinctions and the yellow/green/purple colourway.
Canopy Growth is one of the world’s largest cannabis and hemp companies, offering brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms. The company, formerly known as Tweed Marijuana Inc., is based in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
48NORTH has created a sustainable and visually pleasing package for their pre-rolled joints. This pack is made out of 100% bio-degradable cardboard and soy-based ink. Each pre-rolled joint is 0.35grams of dried flower containing an unbleached crutch and paper. Consumers concerned about their health and the environment may derive substantial benefits from these features. The pack is opened by squeezing on the middle of each side and sliding the top open.
48NORTH is a vertically integrated Licensed Producer based in Toronto, Ontario that is focused on low-cost cultivation, brand, and next- generation cannabis products. Brands associated with 48NORTH include Apothecanna, Avitas, Mother & Clone, Quill, Sackville & Co, F8te and Latitude.
When cannabis was first legalized in October of 2018 and recreational users began receiving their shipments, there was a slew of complaints online about excessive packaging. For such a progressive industry with such progressive consumers, it seemed irrational. Cannabis companies are required to put a lot of information on their packaging, which is a valid excuse. However, Redecan found a compliant loophole to reduce the amount of plastic used.
Redecan created 1 gram packages that resemble small film canisters. These miniature containers allow curious consumers to try Redecan products for the first time while also preventing the buds from bouncing around too much during shipping and handling. They are made out of black plastic, which unfortunately is not recyclable in Ontario but is recyclable in a few other provinces in Canada.
Redecan is a privately-owned Canadian Licensed Producer based in Fenwick, Ontario that provides both medical and recreational cannabis.
Wink Cannabis’ pre-rolled packaging is slick and clean but it is also a bit unremarkable. We included the package in this list for one reason: it has started to become a status symbol among cannabis consumers. Wink has done a great job of branding themselves and integrating into the entertainment and nightclub culture, especially in Toronto. Wink’s pre-rolled packaging is starting to gain recognition among the “cool crowd”. Recognition is an important part of branding.
Because of the child-proof mandate, Wink’s pre-rolled packages are also notoriously difficult to open. Acknowledging this, they created the #WinkChallenge, which featured different Wink staff, consumers and influencers attempting to open the package, with varied levels of success. A highlight can be find on their Instagram page (look for “challenge”) with some of the videos.
Wink Cannabis is a relatively new brand focused on the intersection of fashion, art, music and culture (and presumably, cannabis). Wink was launched by Trec Brands in July of 2019. Trec Brands was co-founded by entertainment veteran Charles Khabouth, which has helped them tremendously in their marketing efforts. Kayla Rochkin, VP of Marketing at TREC Brands, has been nominated for Marketer Of The Year in the ADCANN 2019 Awards.
More than one year into recreational legalization, and the majority of consumers are still not familiar with many legal cannabis brands available in storefronts and online. The problem is that the barrier of entry is usually too high to try a new brand. Most brands only offer 3.5 gram options or more, requiring new and curious consumers to spend at least $35 to try a product they likely haven’t seen, smelled or consumed before.
AHLOT, a cannabis curation company, created a compliant solution to this through creative packaging. AHLOT teamed up with five licensed producers: 7ACRES (The Supreme Cannabis Company), Edison (Organigram), Saturday (Starseed), Symbl (Emblem) and Haven St (TerrAscend) to create a value pack. Each LP contributed one strain per combo pack to allow consumers to try one gram of each of their offerings. Conceptually, this would open the door for more consumers to try these brands and eventually buy more from the brands that impressed them. The packaging is a long purple (AHLOT’s brand colour) cardboard box with five branded plastic jars contained inside.
AHLOT stands for “A Higher Level Of Thought”, intended to celebrate a refined relationship with cannabis. AHLOT partners with like-minded cannabis brands to offer customers the “most thoughtful choices in the industry”. AHLOT is widely known for their Cannabis Curation Committee and their marketing campaign that preceded the selection of said committee.