Cannabis Cultivators try and grow environmentally friendly when possible.
Currently, cannabis cultivators are struggling with the large carbon footprint that is needed to produce weed. Marijuana uses just as much energy as a hospital per square foot, and eight times more than an average commercial building. There are major monetary rewards for growers who figure out a constructive method for reducing the environmental footprint.
Cannabis cultivators are trying to reduce the amount of energy needed, water and pesticides. In the U.S. 29 states have legalized marijuana, but no state has implemented strict environment friendly growing regulations. It’s a difficult task because currently there’s no scientific study that recommends which method for cultivation is safest for the environment.
Scientists are needed for testing but are limited due to costs.
Cannabis testing labs are only required to test 0.01% of product for potency and microbes. Other facilities would like to test for more potential issues but it is expensive to do so. But the market is extremely competitive and therefore additional tests are seen as an unneeded expense. “With limited testing, and the desperation to maintain and appease their clients, a lot of the value of laboratories has been lost.” Says a laboratory owner wanting to remain anonymous.
There are problems with testing a small amount of cannabis products.
Facilities are required to check one sample instead of several samples from each batch or an annual harvest. Re-validation is only necessary if the cultivators change their growing process such as adding a new nutrient.
Some labs have manipulated their results to appease their clients, and the state won’t do anything about it. A couple in Colorado do just that. The husband owns the extraction facility and the wife runs the testing lab. They fudge their results to make it seem like they are selling the highest concentration available. The state won’t and can’t do anything about them. If cannabis was treated the same as a food or typical medicine, then 1% of all regulated product would be tested instead of the current 0.01%.
Florida House of Representative members Matt Gaetz and Darron Soto proposed a bill to move cannabis to schedule III. This act would reduce restrictions on cannabis to the same level as Vicodin, making it easier for labs to test. Not just labs, but Universities and other institutions could study marijuana as well.
A lack of organic cannabis certification makes it difficult to control quality.
Only a handful of cultivators try and go above and beyond for their clients. One of the dispensaries in Colorado called, L’Eagle Services, grow high end cannabis and can claim “100% clean cannabis”. A problem L’Eagle runs into is they can’t label their products with official organic certification because it’s not federally legal.
This makes it hard for companies like L’Eagle to offer a clear distinction for their customers. One of L’Eagle’s owners said, “There is no real, national, universal seal of organic certification. It doesn’t exist right now.” Currently, there is no real way for customers to tell the difference between organic and non-organic grade marijuana.
The Organic Cannabis Association looks to create a standard.
The Organic Cannabis Association is trying to develop a national organic seal for cultivators to be able to use. Andrle is one of the owners of L’Eagle, and one of the chair members of The Organic Cannabis Association. Andrle says that they want to change the way people buy weed. And they want to change the way people perceive cannabis.
The Organic Cannabis Association (TOCA) wants organically grown weed to be seen similar to Whole Foods produce. When people think of Whole Foods, healthy and organic comes to everybody’s minds. And that is exactly what TOCA wants consumers to start seeing organic weed as.
People who shop at Whole Foods look for pesticide free vegetables, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish and hormone free meats. TOCA wants the nation to treat organic grade cannabis as a natural, healthier version than normal store brand weed. “We are in a unique period where the cannabis industry does not have federal oversight,” says Ashley Preece. She is the new Executive Director of the Cannabis Certification Council (CCC). “The [organic] certification will give consumers a way to be assured that what they’re putting into their bodies is safe, clean, and supporting their local communities.”
An official organic seal is not the only reason to grow green.
Growers are looking for creative methods that cut down on expensive energy costs. California indoor cannabis cultivators are responsible for 3% of the entire state’s energy consumption and it continues to rise. However, there is nothing California can do to help reduce the costs for the time being.
Mrs. Darwish received a California CCC permit in 2016. After growing for 15 years in Humboldt County, her team no longer needs to hide their growing operation in the mountains. Mrs. Darwish does her best to maintain a low environmental footprint. She claims to not use pesticides or fertilizers. And she keeps track of her water consumption carefully. According to Mrs. Darwish, “We believe that sustainability extends to setting a high standard for conduct, and we are working to show the community that the emerging legal cannabis industry is contributing to society, not taking from it.”
Not all cultivators have access to Eco-friendly options.
Growing outdoors slashes the costs of energy because cultivation teams like Mrs. Darwish do not require to purchase grow lights. Warehouse growers have to pay a lot more; they require lots of energy for indoor cultivation. LED and regular grow light systems, HVAC systems, and general utility costs consume much of the environment’s resources. But not everyone is blessed with an outdoor growing option.
Many cannabis cultivators are inner city and have no other option but to continue to use expensive systems. Slowly but surely more and more cultivators will create innovative measures for growing green but for now things are in limbo. Hopefully, the federal system will embrace cannabis and allow research institutions to assist in creating ingenious cannabis Eco-friendly grow methods.