In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. This sparked a trend that spread throughout most of the United States since. As more states are legalize the medical cannabis market has grown more then 310% globally within the past 4-5 years.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Since then, other states have joined them, including Whitlam Groups home state of Michigan.

In 2019 the cannabis packaging market in the US was valued at $101.48 billion. By 2025 this market is expected to reach $297.51 billion. This is a 22.59% growth rate within a 6-year period.

As the medical and recreational cannabis markets grow rapidly it is necessary to have suitable packaging for your cannabis products. Due to various government regulations across the globe, the packaging of cannabis is of the upmost importance. Let’s look at some of the design and packaging trends within the cannabis market.

Green Packaging

One trend that we have noticed to be popular within the cannabis market is green packaging. Green packaging uses materials that are recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.

Cannabis is promoted as on all-natural solutions so making sure the packaging is eco-friendly is important to promote an image of environmental consciousness. Some eco-friendly solutions include

  • Using green, amber, or blue glass bottles to keep products potent longer with UV filtering abilities
  • Using less packaging waste by cutting unnecessary shipping and packaging materials
  • Using Sustainable materials such as hemp, cotton, glass, and recycled materials
  • Using earth-friendly materials such as renewable, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable
  • Non-toxic design methods such as plant-based dyes and inks, embossing, and etching, biodegradable adhesives

Compliance Needs              

Making sure your packaging has shelf-appeal while complying with packaging laws is important when designing the right packaging solutions. While creative design is important for image appeal, complying with regulations and requirements are important for brand-trust.

Before designing your packaging product, it is important to check with your state regulations and other requirements for cannabis. It is important that before starting packaging production you share the regulations and requirements with your packaging manufacture.

Labeling requirements for cannabis products vary in each state, but there are general labeling requirements for all cannabis products. Products with more THC have a more pronounced testing and labeling requirements than products that are more marijuana-based.

One requirement for cannabis labels is that it must include the potency of marijuana and concentrates. This information can be displayed in two ways on a label. One way is to have the font be no smaller than 10-point font, bold, framed, and in a font that is at least two sizes bigger than the other label text. The second way is to have the font be no smaller than 10-point font, bold, framed, and highlighted with a bright noticeable color.

When displaying the percentage levels for cannabinoids on labels it should be shown by range and appear from lowest to highest concentration. All marijuana-infused products must also have a potency statement.

For mor information regarding laws and regulations on labeling and selling of marijuana in Michigan please visit this link:,4601,7-154-89334_79571—,00.html

 Creative Design

 When designing cannabis packaging it is important to first know who your audience will be. The cannabis market is not a one-size-fits-all proposition though. Different demographics find different benefits from THC and CBD. Each consumer group is also split between using for health and wellness or for recreational purposes.

There is also a growing market for dog’s as well. Reports indicate that cannabis products for pets could reach a $1 billion industry by 2022.

It is important to create a design that will appeal to the demographic you want to target. If so you are targeting different demographics it is important to keep your design appealing to all. In order to keep your design sophisticated and appealing here are a few design characteristics to keep in mind:

  • Clean shapes and sleek package designs
  • Sharpe and clean edges
  • Bright colors
  • Embossing, stamped gold/silver foil, and frosted glass
  • High-quality, intelligent brand marketing aimed at professionals
  • Focus on medicinal-friendly logs

Users should be able to distinguish between recreational and medicinal cannabis products. It is important to ensure that your design is appealing to consumers as well as having them be able to tell the difference between medicinal and recreational products by the design of the packaging.

Here are some design options that are associated with different demographic groups.


A luxury design can be used for an upscale look. This can attract a more mature, discerning demographic. Some design aspects that we see with a luxury look include foil accents, subdued color palettes, simplified shapes, clean lines, and elegant typography.


This design trends show cases the natural aspect of cannabis products. This design can be used when targeting the more health-conscious demographic. Some ways you can create a natural design in your packaging and labels is by using earthly colors like greens and browns, and also using words/language that have a more natural feel such as “whole”, “raw”, and “organic.” For more information on other natural solutions read above on green packaging.


A minimalist design can give your brand a stylish, contemporary look that is subtle but still communicates the quality of your product. A Minimalist design can be portrayed as boring or plane but there are a few techniques that you can be creative with this type of design that can be very appealing. Making sure to only use 2 or 3 colors and using clean geometric shapes are known to be appealing and eye catching. This design can attract younger and new customers.


Medical cannabis is legal in more states than recreational cannabis is which means there are more opportunity to tap into the medical cannabis market. Taking advantage of the medical aspect of your product by using medical or pharmaceutical symbols and colors can add legitimacy to your business and appeal to medical users. Highlighting the health benefits by adding statements like “pain relief,” or “anti-inflammatory” can also be appealing.

With Whitlam Group’s Marketing and In-House Graphics team we can help you design an outstanding label that appeals to the demographic you are trying to target for your cannabis products. Contact us today for more information and help to get started with your labeling needs.

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