Canned Weed

Canning Cannabis

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Newequipment Com Sites Newequipment com Files N2 Packaging SeamerPhoto: N2 Packaging Systems

“When oxygen levels can be dropped below 2 to 3%, the amount of deleterious oxidation reactions in stored product can be greatly decreased resulting in longer palatability and nutritional shelf lives,” says Mike Standlee, an investor in N2. “This process has been used in the food industry for years and proven.”

Where weed is concerned, the flushing eliminates moisture and prevents oxidation of the plant.

“Degradation of cannabis is a huge problem,” says Scott Martin, CEO of N2 Packaging. The packaging company out of Arizona, where pot is medically legal, bridges the distribution disconnect between grower and dispensary and ultimately, the end-user. ”

“As more states go recreational, more cultivation comes into play,” Martin says. “Then oversupply and preservation become an issue.”

Outdoor growers all harvest the crop at the same time, and they all go to market at the same time, this creates price fluctuations and economic uncertainty. Being able to preserve and store until supply drops and prices rise would be a considerable advantage.

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On the dispensary side, the Afgani Kush and White Widow harvested recently may sit in jars or bags, on shelves and hanging from hooks, waiting for someone to bring them home for the holidays– or to the IMAX to check out Rogue One. All the while, potency and value slip away.

Newequipment Com Sites Newequipment com Files Pot Dispensary Getty

Storing weed in jars may allow for prospective buyers to better see and smell the product, but greatly diminishes shelf life and branding opportunities.
Photo: Getty Images

Using an “N2 My Fresh Can” hold it all in, possibly even for two years. Martin says current testing is being conducted to verify the actual shelf-life.

 

The effects already have their clients buzzing.

“We’re working with a guy who has 13 dispensaries in Sacramento,” Martin says. “When he brings in new product, he’d put it on the right side of his display. Every seven days he moves it to the left and drops it $10 and so on until the product is gone. Now he’s changed his entire business model, going with the prepackaged cans. He just puts it on the shelf. His customers understand it’s consistent, it’s quality, it’s going to be the same experience every time.”

Along with shelf-life, this packaging method allows for labeling opportunities that further drive home this came from a legitimate grower. Or at least, gives that perception. If your mom ever tried pulling a stunt like bringing home generic bottom-shelf bagged cereal that she says tastes just like regular Fruit Loops, you know what I’m talking about. No cartoon toucan, no prize: no dice.

Would you rather buy weed in a baggie, like a teenager, or in a can with a pull-off ring that bears the label of “Willie’s Reserve,” Willie Nelson’s line of cannabis products?

Newequipment Com Sites Newequipment com Files Willies Reserve Cannabis…And maybe I didn’t treat you, quite as good as I should have.

“Branding and building a brand comes to long-term viability,” says Martin, who can provide the full labeling application as well to allow manufacturers to stand out. “It’s not just producing product and delivering to stores in bags.”

Having a recognized brand that people seek out will be the difference, Martin says, although at first growers he approached were reluctant to “put cannabis in a cat food can.”

The business has picked up considerably in the last six months, and with California voting to go full-baked, it doesn’t look like it will cool off.

Martin says banks are still resistant with the industry, so getting money for equipment investments is difficult. The company has to build each system on demand, which they lease to the manufacturer, making money by supply the cans, which hold 1/8, ¼ , and 1 oz., respectively.

N2 not only invented the process for nitrogen-sealing Level 1,2 and 3 Controlled Substances and a two-part child-resistant and senior friendly lid, the first of its kind for a seam-roll can, CEO Scott Martin says.

The modified manual Rooney can seamer that N2 Packaging leases to Honest Marijuana could nitrogen-seal about 10 cans/min. Their automatic versions can do 60 cans/min.

Newequipment Com Sites Newequipment com Files N2 Packaging Seamer 1

“The road block to us ever being industrialized is the ability to fill the cans,” says Martin. It takes 10 to 15 people filling the cans to keep up with 30/min, so Martin is looking into ways to automate the process.

For now, educating the consumer that the process actually does something seems to be the immediate challenge to overcome.

Higher Learning

Chistov knew the risks when deciding to back Honest Marijuana. Due to persistent pop culture stereotypes, there’s a stigma to cannabis cultivation and those associated with it.

“To some it’s still a bunch of long haired guys violating the quietness of a beautiful neighborhood by gathering together and smoking pot,” Chistov says. “It’s not there anymore, if it ever was.”

It has the potential to be big for business and bigger for the government. In 2015 Colorado collected $70 million from pot sales tax, compared to $42 million from alcohol.

But the biggest winners will be who can explain why their bud is better, in the way Gatorade sold people on electrolytes.

Honest Marijuana goes into great detail the differences between strains, different cannabinoids (the chemicals that act upon your neurotransmitters creating various “highs”), and how oxidation can affect the synergy of these cannabinoids, or the entourage effect.

Newequipment Com Sites Newequipment com Files Cannabinoid InfographicCredit: AZmarijuana.com/ Pinterest

Basically, each strain looks different, smells different, and affects the user differently. And if it’s stored in less than ideal conditions, could cause more changes to the consumable, much like oxidation can ruin a fine wine.

And Honest Marijuana takes it’s product as seriously as a Napa Valley winery would.

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“There’s no reason to grow it as good as we do if you’re not going to preserve those volatile components of that plant that make each one of them so unique,” Chistov says.

Cigar shops wouldn’t throw a hand-rolled Cohiba in a mason jar by the register; they’d store it in well-maintained humidors. And Chistov thinks craft cannabis should take the same care in preservation, even if their grass-fed cigarillos (blunts) are rolled in modified cigarillo machines, at a rate of 700-900/hour, before a conveyor takes them to the nitrogen-flushing blister machine made by Mactec Packaging.

“There’s a lot of lazy people out there looking for a quick buck, and they’re getting it,” Chistov says. “We definitely see people out there concerned with nothing else but the quick turnaround and a low margin. I’m building for the future. I simply cannot accept that as a responsible manufacturer.” associate

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