Recently, an article by Bill McCool in The Dieline ran with the headline, “Do Stoners Care About Cannabis Packaging?”  We enjoyed reading the article and admire Bill’s writing style, but came away thinking that he missed the point entirely. It’s not a question of whether or not “stoners” care about cannabis packaging, it’s about whether or not consumers – of all types – care about packaging. And the answer to that is a resounding, yes – they do care.

To assume that all cannabis purchases are made by “stoners” is no different than saying that all alcohol purchases are made by drunks. Or that all fast food burgers are purchased by obese people. It is a rough, crude, and inaccurate statement.

So let’s set the record straight: Not all cannabis purchases are made by “stoners” and yes, packaging matters… Just like it matters in every other sector of consumer goods.

In fact, a study from the Cannabis Consumers Coalition and published in Civilized, found that cannabis consumers come from all walks of life and economic levels. The report revealed that 27 percent of cannabis consumers have combined incomes of over $75,000 and that “the couch potato slacker is only a small part of the cannabis community.”

Additionally, while the largest percentage of customers are young men, the study also noted that the average age for male shoppers is 37.6 years and women are 38.2 years old – hardly the age one would associate with a “stoner.”

Julie Weed, a frequent contributor to Forbes, recently wrote that whenever a state legalizes medical or adult-use cannabis, products flood the market hoping to gain an early foothold. 

“Companies in the fast-paced industry need to create compelling packaging that meets strict state regulations and can stand out in a crowded storefront,” she wrote. “The wrapping can be as important as what’s inside.”

And beautiful, well-designed, and compliant packaging is not only imperative for a company to generate sales today, but it is also vital to position the brand for tomorrow. “When national legalization comes, companies that have widespread brand recognition and a strong reputation will be acquired quickly and at higher valuation,” the Forbes article stated.

Furthermore, in addition to the branding benefits, it is also critical that any cannabis packaging meets each state’s complex myriad of regulations, including child resistance, labeling, and even font sizes. Navigating these rules can be very complex. So much so, that Hippo has recently developed an in-house compliance department headed by a licensed attorney that can assist customers through these critical steps.

To be clear, we love reading The Dieline, and appreciate the focus they bring to the importance of packaging. However, we couldn’t help but notice that another cannabis product highlighted in the publication was using a name that we believe was recently litigated for trademark infringement, and as a result, no cannabis company can legally use that name. This could be a costly error for the cannabis company, and it’s a shame that nobody caught this anywhere along the process.

The fact is, packaging matters. Compliance matters. Certified child resistance matters. Proper labeling matters. And creating a stellar brand matters.

It’s time to get real about cannabis.