Kary Radestock Celebrates Hippo Premium Packaging’s Birthday in Canna Years

Image: Alex_Vinci / Shutterstock.com

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Hippo Premium Packaging is now thirty-eight years old—in dog time. But don’t try to do the math. According to the AKC, the long-believed one-dog-year-equals-seven-human-years theory is not supported by science.

“My guess is it was a marketing ploy,” said William Fortney, a veterinarian at Kansas State University. He told the Wall Street Journal that it was “a way to educate the public on how fast a dog ages compared to a human…and a way to encourage owners to bring in their pets at least once a year.”


Today, this simple guideline has been replaced by a complicated formula that goes something like this:

  • Fifteen human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
  • Beginning at year three, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.

By now, you are probably wondering why I am writing about dog years. The fact is, I don’t even own a dog. But I do work in the cannabis industry, where each year brings about so many changes that it feels like we are living through it in dog years.

Accordingly, my company, which just celebrated its fifth birthday, is actually thirty-eight years old. And that feels about right. We’ve gone through so much in such a short time that I often feel like I personally am keeping L’Oréal in business—Preference in Ash Blond works miracles and keeps me looking like I haven’t crammed thirty-eight years into the past five.

Yes, a lot has happened in the cannabis industry in the past five years. We’ve seen new markets open as states voted to legalize. We’ve seen rules change and packaging regulations shift virtually overnight—requiring fleet-footed responses and an unflinching eye for details. We’ve seen small start-ups catapult to become major brands. And we’ve seen major brands crumble as they simply went too fast, too soon.

But mostly, we’ve seen acceptance.

Acceptance that cannabis can be a normal part of society and is not criminal.

Acceptance that the people who work in the cannabis industry are thoughtful professionals.

Acceptance that the people who use cannabis are not just stoners imagined by cheap stereotypes and popularized by Cheech and Chong movies.

The wonderful fact is, the world is finally starting to accept that cannabis can be grown, tested, packaged, sold, and consumed responsibly. And that an entire industry can be built around the plant.

When I started Hippo Premium Packaging five years ago, there were very few companies specializing in cannabis packaging, and even fewer printing companies that understood the nuances and regulations of the industry. My partner, Julia, joined me six months later, and although we had decades of experience in printing and production, we too, were on a crash-course to become experts in the details of each state’s unique cannabis regulations. I’d go to bed each night reading stimulating documents like, “The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue’s M and R 1000‐1 Series Rules Establishing Labeling, Packaging, and Product Safety Requirements for Medical and Retail Marijuana, Concentrate, and Product.” Now that was a page-turner.

Eventually, we were able to blend our talents and experience in creating beautiful, brand-building packaging, with our newfound expertise in cannabis regulations. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now I think I’ll go out and buy a puppy. That should help keep me feeling young.

Kary Radestock

Kary Radestock brings more than 20 years of award-winning print and packaging expertise to some of the top brands in the world. She launched Hippo Premium Packaging in order to fill a need for professional, compliant packaging, brand development, and graphic design to the emerging cannabis industry.