The Nose Knows: Scratch-and-Sniff Weed Packaging Is Coming Soon
Shoppers may soon be able to smell legal weed products without opening the packaging, thanks to a new patent by two Washington inventors.
Published on October 11, 2019

The dank aroma of cannabis is a major factor consumers consider when choosing one strain or brand over another. But in Canada and some US states, weed products are required to be vacuum-sealed in airtight packaging, which prevents customers from smelling the goods.

That may all change soon, thanks to a new patent for scratch-and-sniff weed stickers. This Thursday, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application for a new cannabis container concept that includes a sticker that will produce the scent of the product inside the package when it is scratched.

“A major hurdle to the purchase of cannabis is the secure packaging laws of various states,” the application explains, according to Marijuana Moment. “Packaging can often prevent a purchaser from observing certain characteristics of the cannabis, such as its scent.”

The applicants, Random Vaughn and Jonathan Tanzer of Olympia, Washington, summarize their product by stating that the “general purpose of the present invention is to provide a cannabis package and method of selection that includes all the advantages of the secure packaging, and overcomes the drawbacks inherent therein.”

The proposed packaging would also allow medical marijuana users to identify the properties of different cannabis strains, or assess their quality, without opening the packaging. The application notes that the smell of cannabis is an important factor in “selecting cannabis for medical reasons such as seizures, headaches, or insomnia.”

Gallery — Edibles That Look Like Real Food Products:

The application notes that there is already a patent application for scratch-and-sniff packaging that allows customers to smell coffee without breaking the package seal. However, the applicants argue that their product is unique because the coffee application produces the scent of coffee after it has been brewed. In contrast, the weed application produces the scent of raw cannabis flower before it is burned or vaped.

The application lists two possible concepts for its scratch-and-sniff packaging. In the first, a sticker on the package would be infused with the smell of the weed inside, using terpenes, non-THC compounds that give weed its smell and taste. In the second twist, manufacturers could infuse the sticker with smells that would be used as flavor notes, much in the way that wine is currently marketed.

In this second scenario, the applicants note that the sticker could be infused with the smells of freshly cut grass, bacon, vanilla, a Christmas tree, cinnamon, the seaside, a Sunday roast, bread, fish and chips, or furniture polish. It remains to be seen whether someone would actually purchase weed that smelled like fish or furniture polish, but the option is there.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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