New Products, Regulations and Packaging Machinery
What happens when a new product hits the market that does not quite fit into traditionally regulated fields such as foods, beverages, drugs or any other category? This is exactly what is happening currently with certain products that are infused with marijuana. Regardless of one's views on these products, at least some parts of the United States deem such products legal, which means some standard must be set and met regarding the production, packaging and sale of the items. New products that fall into no category, or partially into several categories, can create regulations problems with wide-reaching effects.
As an example as to the difficulty of regulating products, consider any edible product infused with cannibas. Everyone is well aware of the medical uses of marijuana, or marijuana as a drug. So given the ingredient, should such a product be treated and regulated as a drug? But then, this product may simple be a snack item, available in those states that have legalized such products. Should the item then be treated and regulated as a food product? Of course, different regulations exist for different classes of products, and thus the difficulties begin. In essence, the legalization of marijuana has created a new class of products for those products that only include cannibas as an ingredient. Add to this the fact that states are likely to regulate these new products as they legalize them and, absent some intervention by federal agencies (and even with some intervention by these agencies), you have the potential for widely varying rules and laws. This, in turn, can make marketing, packaging and distributing such products across the United States a virtual nightmare.
EFFECT ON PACKAGING MACHINERY AND MANUFACTURING
Now imagine producing a product that must be labeled differently depending on which state will be selling the product. Or preparing a product that must be packaged separately in some states but can be bundled in others. In this situation, the cost of packaging products will, without a doubt, rise. For those manufacturing packaging machinery, the challenge can come in the form of designing and building equipment that will handle the different sizes, shapes, labels and information involved in the packaging. Just as important, in the infancy of any new product, regulations tend to change. Packagers do not want machinery that will be obsolete or unusable with a few regulation changes, which makes flexibility and versatility that much more important.
In the end, the likely conclusion is blanket regulations that will allow these, and future categories of new products, to be packaged and distributed across the United States with little variation, offering stability to packagers and machinery manufacturers alike. But this process can be both time-consuming as well as uncertain. To learn more about the different packaging equipment offered by LPS and the versatility of that equipment, feel free to contact Liquid Packaging Solutions to speak with a Packaging Specialist today.