Get high and be green with hemp-based cannabis packaging

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In Colorado, Sana packaging is developing hemp-based bioplastics that can meet the regulatory and cost requirements of the cannabis industry.

James Eichner and Ron Basak-Smith founded Sana Packaging in 2018 to help address the plastics waste being created by the booming cannabis industry. Hemp has many advantages for bioplastics production. It has high cellulosic content, does not require pesticides to grow, it biodegrades quickly, and is lighter and stronger compared to polypropylene. Cost, however, remains an issue.

“Right now, it’s kind of the chicken and the egg thing. There isn’t a preexisting supply chain or a playbook for what we’re doing,” Eichner says. “When you’re looking at plastics, you have to realize you’re not just competing with the material — you’re competing with crude oil.”

Currently, Sana Packaging’s Sana Tube for pre-rolls is 30% hemp and 70% corn-based plastics.

“To make bioplastic and have it perform the way packaging needs to, it really needs to be a single source of material,” Basak-Smith says. “We’ve gotten it all domesticated, and now we’re honing in on being able to localize it.”