Mari Marijuana vendors, who have been using nitrogen discharge for food industry packaging since the 1970s, have just started using nitrogen discharge. Nitrogen discharge can be expensive and time-consuming. The question is whether the advantages of nitrogen flushing for cannabis packaging outweigh the costs and disadvantages.
How does nitrogen discharge work?
Standard vacuum packing removes oxygen from a container. Vacuum packaging works well for products like shakes or coffee because it protects them and prolongs their shelf life. The nitrogen discharge removes oxygen from the container and then replaces it with nitrogen that goes out of the normal vacuum packaging. This creates a small positive pressure that covers the product and acts as a protective cushion. High heat is then used to seal the bag. Potato chips, for example, are packed in nitrogen bags.
Benefits of Nitrogen Discharge
Oxygen converts THC in marijuana to cannabinol or CBN, which reduces the emotional properties of cannabis. Nitrogen discharge stops this conversion. It is one of the few marijuana packaging techniques that keep the cannabis look and taste fresh for a long time and masks the aroma of cannabis. Basically, nitrogen discharge prolongs the life of cannabis, thereby maintaining its potency. Nitrogen discharge helps to keep cannabis free from mold. Nitrogen has the ultimate advantage of protecting delicious products from being crushed slowly.
Disadvantages of nitrogen secretion
A good quality commercial nitrogen flushing and sealing unit suitable for use in cannabis containers cost $ 5,000 to,000 35,000. There are even less expensive packaging techniques that keep marijuana fresh and hide the aroma. Nitrogen flushing takes longer than regular packaging, adding another inconvenience to retail and dispensary cannabis packaging.
After weighing the benefits and cons, nitrogen bleaching seems to be a more suitable technique for large growth forms that have just been cut from their cannabis and need to be stored for a long time. For medical and recreational retailers who sell their products quickly, simple marijuana packaging techniques work just as well and are expensive and time-saving.
The Environmental Impact of Washington’s Marijuana Packaging
If you bought marijuana in the state of Washington, you probably noticed that the packaging can be difficult to open and is equipped with warnings, barcodes, and much more information that can be seen in the following cases. This is through design because the state has enacted strong regulations aimed at protecting the public from contaminated cannabis and restricting access to children. Although these rules are important, one has to think about how the requirements of these packaging affect the environment.
Washington’s packaging and labeling requirements can be found at WAC 314-55-105. Please note that this section of the Washington Administrative Code was recently amended to mean that there are two separate packaging standards. Licensees may comply with the above rules until January 1, 2019, after the new version of Desktop 314-55-105 comes into effect. Until that date, licensees have the option to comply with the new rules. This post will focus on the latest version of WAC 314-55-105.
All containers carrying marijuana must be protected from contamination and harmful substances. Marijuana-infected products, such as groceries and marijuana, must come in child-resistant containers. For packages that contain multiple servings of solid food products (one serving is limited to THC 10 mg), each serving must come in child-proof packaging. For liquid products, the packaging must include a measuring device, such as a cap, which you will find with a bottle of NyQuil. Hash marks next to a package are not enough.
Additionally, Washington imposes substantial labeling requirements. All products must display the following precautions:
Caution: It can create a habit. Illegal outside the state of Washington. It is illegal to drive a car under the influence of cannabis.
According to a recent rule change, all cannabis products must include the universal Washington marijuana symbol (pictured below). Also, the label must include the business or trade name and UBI number of the licensed manufacturer and processor, traceability identification number, number of servings (if applicable), net weight, and concentration of THC and CBD.
The universal cannabis symbol of Washington.
The following labeling is also required for certain state products:
- Used cannabis flower extra precautions should include, “Smoking is dangerous to your health.”
- Marijuana concentrated or infectious products intended for respiration may list the solvents used to make the product, indicate the method of extraction, and reveal whether other chemicals or compounds were used.
- Consumption Marijuana-infected products intended for consumption must include food allergen enumeration and information about the extraction method and solvent in addition to the following sentence: “Warning: drug effects may be delayed by more than 2 hours”. Additionally, edible marijuana products must include the “Not for Kids” logo displayed on the right.
- Topical cannabis products must have the statement: Don’t eat “bold, big letters”.
All this means is that the products come with a significant amount of packaging.
Needed for edible in Washington state
Single-serve edibles must come with two logos, written warnings and adequate packaging to include license and product information. In addition, product-making businesses want to incorporate elements of their branding and marketing, which also takes place. Branded packaging is important for producers and processors who are trying to stand out in retail stores and earn valuable shelf-space. Unfortunately, all of that packaging has to go somewhere and it often sits on the street or in the dump.
Last month, in an article in the Washington Post, journalist Kristen Miller-Young wrote about the waste generated in Washington’s cannabis market. Young highlighted that environmental groups are looking for growing cannabis packaging on the streets, something I can personally acknowledge being here in Seattle. The article highlights the problem with “dive” (sink-like) tubes, plastic tubes used to package pre-rolled joints. These tubes cannot be recycled even after being made of recyclable plastic because they fall into the grates of recycling machines.
There is no easy solution to Washington’s waste problem. As Young hints, a potential “fix” would require Washington that producers and processors could use recyclable material for packaging purposes. However, this will already increase costs for producers and processors who are already struggling to manage in a fiercely competitive market where the number of producers and processors exceeds the number of retailers.
Perhaps now is the time to reconfigure Washington’s label requirements. The new version of WAC 314-55-105 allows producers and processors to provide some of the information that was required in the online physical package. This could allow for more flowing packaging with less load on Washington’s underground. After all, a QR code can provide a huge amount of information without taking up too much space.
If you are a consumer, you have some options. First, you can contact the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board about its rules online or during their monthly board meeting; And you can call your state representative to express your concerns. Second, you can buy products that are less packaged, such as cannabis flowers than pre-rolls packed in tubes, and you can reward the companies that use recyclable materials. Third, you can make an extended effort to reuse your discarded packages and reuse recycled packages. For example, perhaps save the dub tube and use it to transport the rolled joint in your hand in the future.