Canada legalized recreational cannabis on October 17 and the ongoing shortages aren’t the only thing that is having Canadians concerned. Many have expressed their displeasure regarding the amount of plastic packaging that comes with each gram of marijuana that they buy.
Some keen consumers have even measured the total weight of the plastic packaging and they found that a gram of cannabis could be packaged in as much as 70 grams of plastic! That amount of packaging raises concerns since plastic is not biodegradable.
Furthermore, Canada currently lacks a program targeted at recycling the plastic waste generated by the cannabis industry. This creates the risk that all that plastic may end up in the ocean, especially in communities that live close to the shore.
Some Canadians have even taken to social media to post the pictures of the packaging materials that come with the cannabis that they buy. The views and comments that such pictures attract show that concerns about plastic packaging aren’t isolated to environmental protection fanatics alone.
Customers who used to get their marijuana from medical marijuana dispensaries say that the medical cannabis was packaged in simple, plastic zip lock bags. That form of packaging wasn’t as wasteful as what is being seen with the cannabis that comes from recreational cannabis retail outlets.
The question therefore becomes, is there a reason to explain why recreational cannabis is packaged “excessively”?
The information available on Health Canada’s website doesn’t appear to dictate the way cannabis should be packaged. The website states that the immediate packaging of cannabis should clearly reveal when tampering has occurred. That packaging should also be child-proof while keeping the cannabis dry and free from contamination.
Manufacturers are therefore free to choose how they package their products as long as the options they choose meet the requirements of Health Canada.
One can therefore conclude that the manufacturers have opted to use plastic packaging probably because it is cheap and can keep their production costs low. Glass is a more eco-friendly but costlier material to use.
What about the zippered plastic bags? Manufacturers may have pushed them to the sidelines because they may not have been as child-proof as Health Canada would like. Remember, concerns about access to recreational cannabis by minors was one of the biggest objections to legalization.
As things stand, suppliers of cannabis to the recreational market need to go back to the drawing board and find ways to avail their products without harming the environment. After all, cannabis has always been seen as the eco-friendly (natural) option to the problems that come with synthetic drugs. It wouldn’t be fair for the footprint of this green remedy to be soiled by the containers in which cannabis is carried and distributed. Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) and Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) wouldn’t want cannabis to have its reputation mired in a plastic mess.
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