Recreational Marijuana: The Packaging of Pot

Recreational Marijuana: The Packaging of Pot

Recreational marijuana users got a big rush with the 2012 election results, as both Colorado and Washington voters approved measures legalizing recreational use. The states face the task of implementing the new policies, ironing out the details of how pot will be sold and taxed.

Observers are also waiting for the other shoe to drop: How will the federal government react to legalization of recreational use? According to a New York Times article from December 6, “Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington.”

But let's push aside the bureaucratic stuff and focus on the fun: What kind of packaging are we likely to see for kind bud? Or even average grade weed, for that matter?

Turns out some very sharp graphic designers gave considerable thought to this long before voters in Colorado and Washington gave the high sign to recreational use at the polls.

Way back in prehistory (June, 2010), internet marketing guru Brad Gosse asked some graphic designers to come up with pot packaging ideas. His designer pals created concepts that ran from the whimsical (Mari & Juana slims for women) to the hilarious (Space Cake Mix).

In 2009, the venerable graphic design trade magazine Print set the same task for designers. The results were more cold and corporate looking. For example we're offered a plastic container labeled G3 that looks like deodorant or soap could spill out of it. Sure, one designer used the colors of the Jamaican flag in packaging, but it's stuffed with graphs that make it look like an annual report for Monsanto stockholders (if Monsanto was in the marijuana business).

I propose a different solution to the problem of pot packaging. Give it some street cred. Delegate the dope packaging art job to America's alternative cartoonists! Visualize a standard pack of twenty doobies designed by This Modern World's Tom Tomorrow. It would drip with irony. It would amuse and entertain. How about  How about a Matt Groening (The Simpsons) grahic on a quarter ounce pouch? You could depend on Matt (hey, he's a reggae fan) to catch the zeitgeist, the buzz, if you will. Lesser known artists like the prolific John Porcellino (King Kat comics) could bring their fresh approach to the task.

Mature recreational users will remember the heyday of underground comics from the late 60s and early 70s, and the riveting work of the artists of the day—Robert Crumb, Trina Robbins, Spain, S. Clay Wilson and Bill Griffith (Zippy). These pioneering cartoonists blew the doors off convention. They certainly explored recreational use, to say the least.

Why not give today's alternative comics artists a chance to knock us out with some great artwork on behalf of legalized recreational use.