Two Retirees Create Marijuana Packaging Business in Colorado

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Deb Baker, left, a retired high school teacher, and Barb Diner, a former marketing executive, at a customer’s production facility in Aurora, Colo. The women started Higher Standard Packaging, which sells containers to cannabis dispensaries.

The legal marijuana business has created a multibillion-dollar industry, including some interesting side ventures and spinoffs, and even unlikely entrepreneurs have found lucrative niches.

Among them are Deb Baker, a retired high school teacher, and Barb Diner, a former marketing executive, who both live in Denver and have been friends for 27 years. The two had found the relaxed retirement life a bit dull, so they would often bat around ideas that might be interesting to pursue and that could supplement their income.

In 2014, the nascent entrepreneurs saw a niche to be filled — child-resistant marijuana containers that would comply with Colorado’s newly mandated regulation.

On a market-research visit to a dispensary, Ms. Diner and Ms. Baker noticed some of the containers used there were made with chemicals that gave off an unpleasant odor. They thought they had a better idea.

“We thought consumers would want to store their edibles or medicines in containers that were F.D.A.-approved to store food in,” said Ms. Diner, “so we looked into making them from recycled plastic milk jugs.”

They decided to start Higher Standard Packaging in the spring of that year, and since then, they have sold nearly seven million units of packaging to Colorado cannabis dispensaries and beyond.

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