The idea of a functional 3D printer seemed like science fiction just a few short years ago, but like most technologies, it has evolved into a practical and affordable tool that anyone can now easily set up in the comfort of their own home.
Since 3D printing technology has gone mainstream, people have begun to churn out 3D-printed homes, handguns, and even 3D-printed 3D printer parts. So, it should really come as no surprise when some bored cannabis aficionados use their machine to start busting out custom printed bongs.
See a water pipe or rig that you like, but it is in a shop across the country? Simply purchase the schematics and download them directly to your own 3D printer and viola!
Whether or not that is what the future of headshops and smokeshops holds remains to be seen, but 3D printing technology is already being put to use in the cannabis industry – meeting a real need, instead of serving solely as a fad.
In Colorado, for example, with legalization came quite a bit of regulation and now all marijuana products – both medicinal and recreational – must be placed in a “childproof” container prior to sale.
The state’s clarification of the law reads: “Colorado has regulations for medical marijuana and now for retail marijuana. Colorado’s new Retail Marijuana Code covers three types of products: Marijuana, marijuana products including edible products, and marijuana concentrates. Before sale to a consumer, a retail marijuana store must place any of these products in a container that is child-resistant or place the container in an “exit package” that is child resistant. “Child resistant” packaging must conform to federal consumer product safety regulations and an ASTM standard; be opaque so the product cannot be seen; be closable if not intended for single use; and be properly labeled pursuant to the Retail Code.”
These specific packaging regulations put forth by the Colorado government led to a rush on repurposed medical-grade childproof packaging, but soon dispensaries might be able to print their own packaging in their very own office.
Green Technology Solutions (GTSO) is a cannabis-related business based out of San Jose, CA. They say that their goal is to help upcoming marijuana startups with business and technological support, and they have recently partnered up with a 3D printing firm by the name of 6th Dimension Technologies in hopes of changing the way that dispensaries package their pot.
GTSO and 6th Dimension have collaborated on a new line of 3D-printed locking childproof containers in a variety of sizes and styles that they hope to officially launch sometime in 2016.
“We’re working to engineer a rigid container that can be easily opened by an adult but remains inaccessible to small children,” GTSO CEO Wallace Brown told 420intel.com adding, “The prototypes that receive the best feedback from our focus groups will be patented.”
Some experts predict that the medical marijuana industry alone will be raking in over $5 Billion annually by 2018, and with full recreational legalization of cannabis on the 2016 ballot in California, ancillary companies who can help the main players stay in regulatory compliance will be very valuable.
Colorado has already been a lucrative market for such entrepreneurs, but there are more people just in west Los Angeles than there are in all of Colorado… so high tech/high efficiency solutions are about to be in high demand.