A Renaissance in Cannabis Branding Comes to Portland

Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and Washington, Oregon, and Alaska followed soon after, there has been a bit of what can be described as a gold rush mentality in the world of cannabis products. Many companies were so desperate to bring their products to market, trying to establish brand presence while consumers adjusted to new paradigms in distribution and retailing, that package design and branding where afterthoughts at best.

In the early days of recreational legalization in Portland, many of the providers bringing products to market relied on the branding and packaging that they’d already worked up for their medicinal lines, if they were a part of the medical marijuana production and distribution community. Much of this early packaging reflected what many would call clichés surrounding the use of cannabis and cannabis products, utilizing tie-dyed, Rastafarian, and new age tropes to market the products.

marijuana cannabis packaging labels portland pdx

Thankfully, in the relatively short time since recreational legalization came into effect, many producers and distributors of cannabis products have gotten more serious about branding and marketing their products more effectively. The result has made for a bit of a renaissance in cannabis product packaging, with many beautiful results. Here are our picks for some of the best packaging ideas currently being used to market cannabis and cannabis products in Portland area dispensaries.

PDX Package Design and Printing for the Marijuana Flower Itself

Easily the least developed category (in terms of packaging and branding), with most flower being sold in nondescript plastic tubes that resemble enlarged film canisters, the majority of flower sold in the Portland area has almost nothing other than its strain name; its designation as either high-CBD, Sativa, or Indica; and its THC percentage to attract customers.

A refreshing exception to this current wasteland of generic packaging are the Pachecos three packs of one-gram, pre-rolled, filtered joints. The attractive boxes use what could be called retro imagery that gives them a timeless and yet modern look.

Standout Cannabis Edibles Packaging and Printing for Portland Companies

Edibles cannabis products, coming to market under somewhat stricter regulation and several months after flower became legal to sell to the recreational user, had a bit of a head start on flower and other products in terms of packaging design.

Though dose restrictions and other state rules have made designing great packaging for cannabis-related products more challenging in Portland and beyond, the results have made for some of the best packaging in the entire cannabis products sector. Standouts include Cannacane sweetener packets from Jolly Greens, Drip Ice Cream, the chocolate bar line from Leif Medicinals; Periodic Edibles’ caramels; and the snacks packaging used by Epic Edibles.

Topical Marijuana Products and Excellent Packaging Examples

One area that seems to be out in front of the rest of the recreational and medicinal cannabis industry, when it comes to packaging, is the topical sector. This may have everything to do with the number of herbal apothecary companies that viewed medicinal marijuana topical products as a natural line extension for their established brands.

Stand out packaging in the world of cannabis topicals from Portland and beyond includes the Cannabis Cure-All line from Luminous Botanicals and the Cannabis Beauty Defined line from Kannaway.

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The Marijuana Industry Gold Rush Evolves Into Regular-Old Consumer Packaged Goods in Portland

As the market has settled and the dispensaries have begun to reorient their business model around the recreational customer, the packaging of cannabis products has undergone a shift as well.

The majority of the Wavy Gravy style packaging that dominated the category has been gradually replaced by more contemporary consumer-focused, marketing-driven, brand-identifying packaging. For more information regarding packaging compliance with Oregon law for retail sale of cannabis products, go to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s Packaging and Label Pre-Approval page.

And if you’re a Portland-based company that’s currently producing any kind of cannabis-related product, East Side Printing Co. can help! We’ve been instrumental in the design, printing and production of all manner of product packaging, from labels to boxes to bags, and we’d love to talk with you about your next project! Drop us a line today and start your packaging development process off right.