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Vermont Goes Even Greener: All Cannabis Retail Packaging Must Be Reusable, Non-Plastic, Child-Resistant & Child-Deterrent

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board is looking to reduce the amount of plastic waste being generated by the industry in the Green Mountain State, reported the WorcestorMagazine. In June, the Board released its “Guidance on Packaging.

According to the guidance, packaging intended for consumer purchase at retail locations need to be reusable and not plastic. All packaging should be capable of repeated recovery, sanitation, and reissue into the supply chain for repeated use.

Examples of reusable, non-plastic packaging materials mentioned in the document include glass, tin, cardboard and bamboo.

Packaging for cannabis products must be child-deterrent, child-resistant, and opaque and should contain all parts of the plant, from seeds to resins.

The document defines child-deterrent as “tear-resistant packaging that can be sealed in a manner that would deter children under five years of age from easily accessing the contents of the package within a reasonable time and not difficult for adults to use properly.”

Meanwhile, “child-resistant packaging” is defined as “packaging that is designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance(…).”

A waiver to the prohibition on plastic consumer packaging could be awarded if producers can demonstrate hardship in securing non-plastic packaging when it is unavailable; unable to achieve child resistance, or in case plastic is necessary to preserve cannabis shelf-life stability and prevent contamination of cannabis or cannabis products.

Higher Sustainability And Safety? Look To The Plant Itself

Vermont’s guidance responds to multiple challenges in the cannabis industry, including achieving higher levels of sustainability. In fact, the key to reducing plastic waste in the industry might be in the plant itself.

As NBA star Isiah Thomas noted in a recent interview with Benzinga, in the future, “all plastics will be made from cannabis.” Although we cannot be sure about this, industrial hemp has proven to be a sustainable alternative to plastics and a growing market segment.

Thomas’ company, One World Products OWP signed an agreement with Stellantis STLA, the sixth-largest automaker worldwide and owner of Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Peugeot, to develop and supply hemp-based bioplastic components for car interiors and exteriors.

In addition, Vermont’s guidance seeks to ensure cannabis traceability, quality as well as to prevent child ingestion.

According to a study led by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health, published in April, “copycat” edibles can have levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC “that far exceed the limits set by state cannabis regulations” and may easily be confused for popular snack foods.

Vermont is not the only state where regulators are concerned about accidental consumption. In June, a bipartisan coalition of 23 state attorneys general sent a letter to Virginia AG Jason Miyares (R) and Nevada AG Aaron Ford (D), demanding action to prevent the sale of packaged marijuana products that resemble popular food brands. 

“Individuals and businesses unlicensed by any state to enter the cannabis market, are making THC-infused edible products to mimic major snack brands that are popular with children—including Oreos cookies, Doritos chips, and Cheetos corn snacks,” read the letter.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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