Are Barrier Bags The Future Of Cannabis Packaging?

This article by Joe Toppe was originally published on Cannabis & Tech Today, and appears here with permission.

As the cannabis industry expands into the rest of the U.S. market, traditional manufacturers and other businesses are getting involved. For manufacturers, there is an opening for logistical, quality, and production help. Whether it’s in healthcare or packaging, outside industry is now applying traditional business methods to cannabis to further legitimize its place in the contemporary market.

Recently, Cannabis & Tech Today sat down with Roger Throckmorton, Chief Brand Officer at International Plastics in Greenville, SC, to discuss better packaging options for the cannabis industry and why the “barrier bag” is key.

Cannabis & Tech Today: For those who don’t know, can you briefly tell us about barrier bags?

Roger Throckmorton: Barrier bags come in all different shapes, sizes, and physical characteristics. The bag that most people might be familiar with would be the bag that beef jerky comes in. It is, by no means the only barrier bag out there, but it is the one most people are familiar with.

C&T Today: So, barrier bags are primarily used to package food?

RT: Yes and no. Consumers would mostly identify with barrier bags that they would see in the grocery store they certainly play a role much larger than that. By its nature, the physical properties of a barrier bag offer the best option to provide an incredibly longer shelf life compared to a standard plastic bag.

C&T Today: What do you mean the physical characteristics? Isn’t it just a plastic bag that sometimes feels thicker than, let’s say, a bread bag or a plastic grocery bag?

RT: On the surface, it certainly would appear to be that way. A barrier bag has any number of layers of different materials. One of those layers that provides the best obstacle to compromising the integrity of the packaged contents is the aluminum foil layer. 

Aluminum foil doesn’t make a barrier bag a barrier bag, but it is one of the stoutest factors when it comes to providing a true barrier. When barrier bags, which are sometimes referred to as a barrier pouch, were first introduced in the 1980s they had somewhere between 3-5 layers. Now barrier bags can have up to 13 layers. Adding more layers is possible but isn’t usually necessary and is cost prohibitive. 

The more common layers that are used by cannabis companies packaging anything from CBD dog treats to the …

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