Keep on the Grass

We asked cannabis industry thought leaders about how much eco-sustainability was essential to the “budding” cannabis industry. Their answers proved that not only is environmental sustainability the right thing to do for an industry based on a plant, but it’s also a business necessity.

Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?

As a human being, sustainability in every industry and in our homes is critical for our future – period. From a business standpoint, utility costs are a large portion of the cost of cultivation and any reduction in utility usage will make a business more competitive. – Jill Lamoureux, CEO, SprkLabs

“As a human being, sustainability in every industry and in our homes is critical for our future – period.” – Jill Lamoureux

Environmental sustainable business practices are not essential to the cannabis industry, they are essential to all industries, to the future of the human population and to the future of almost all organisms that inhabit this planet. We are (to my knowledge) the only species that has changed the environment of an entire planet and that has caused the mass extinction of thousands of species. If we do not start with sustainable business practices, sustainable household practices and in general environmentally friendly practices everywhere we are definitely doomed. – Dr. Daniela Vergara, Co- Founder, Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative

This is important in every industry, however we are pioneers and the world is watching what we are doing, so we need to do it right. We want a clean planet. How we produce our cannabis reflects the state of the environment. An important piece of this is growing sustainably and using pesticide-free plants when making medicinal tinctures, edibles and anything else a consumer will use. We were brave enough to step into a new industry, so let’s make it so those watching us are proud to follow in our footsteps. – Karin Lazarus, Founder, Sweet Mary Janes

“We were brave enough to step into a new industry, so let’s make it so those watching us are proud to follow in our footsteps.” – Karin Lazarus

Put simply, environmentally sustainable business practices are essential to the future of every industry. The cannabis industry is under tremendous scrutiny and should strive to minimize criticism in order to advance policy; fortunately, as a newly legal industry, there is ample opportunity to create sustainable norms among producers and providers. – Betty Aldworth, Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Environmentally sustainable business practices are essential for all businesses, including those in the cannabis industry.  We do not live on a planet with unlimited resources, and every person has a responsibility to preserve the environment for future generations.  Some cannabis businesses consume energy and natural resources.  Since it’s a new industry, we have the ability to build a responsible approach from the ground up. – Jeanine Moss, Co-CEO/Founder, AnnaBis Style

“We do not live on a planet with unlimited resources, and every person has a responsibility to preserve the environment for future generations.” – Jeanine Moss

Nothing is more sustainable than growing outside, at scale. The intensive resources (water electricity, carbon footprint for greenhouses, etc) and pesticides required for indoor growing is not sustainable for this growing industry. The most sustainable practice we can start with is stabilizing genetics in seed for all other cannabinoids but THC, and growing those outside. The added benefit is much more cost-effective growing conditions, rendering the final products more affordable for consumers. – Wendy Mosher, Co-Founder and CEO, New West Genetics

First and foremost, as an industry and a movement that is built on something greater than profit alone, we should be adopting sustainable business practices because they are the right thing to do. But in an industry that relies on resource-intensive cultivation, it’s also going to be critical to cannabis businesses’ bottom lines that they incorporate more efficient, sustainable practices. Moving cannabis from a criminal market into a legal one has already unleashed a tremendous amount of innovation on this front, and I’m excited to see how this continues to evolve in the future. – Taylor West, Deputy Director, National Cannabis Industry Association

“As an industry and a movement that is built on something greater than profit alone, we should be adopting sustainable business practices because they are the right thing to do.” – Taylor West

We know that unregulated, large grow operations can cause serious environmental degradation. Regulation is the key to the entire puzzle. Regulation will ensure children’s safety, generate tax revenue, increase economic opportunity, and ensure environmental sustainability. – Lindsay Robinson, Director of Development, Marijuana Policy Project

“We know that unregulated, large grow operations can cause serious environmental degradation.” – Lindsay Robinson

Cannabis is the most energy intensive agricultural commodity in our economy due to the significant energy costs associated with indoor cannabis cultivation including high intensity lights and humidity management systems. The transition to greenhouse and outdoor production can lower energy use by as much as 90% by replacing artificial light with sunlight and by reducing the need for climate control systems. Developing regulations that allow for the most flexible and energy efficient cultivation techniques, including outdoor cultivation, will be critical to the long-term sustainability of cannabis production. – Giadha Aguirre DeCarcer, Founder and CEO, Frontier Financial Group Inc.

“Developing regulations that allow for the most flexible and energy efficient cultivation techniques, including outdoor cultivation, will be critical to the long-term sustainability of cannabis production.” – Giadha Aguirre DeCarcer

Now that the cannabis industry is moving from underground to above-ground, environmentally sustainable practices are a top priority. They’re a good business practice; cannabis consumers tend to care about the environment and likely prefer to give their dollars to companies who share the same values. – Shaleen Title, Co-Founder, THC Staffing

We can no longer pretend that global warming does not exist. As a movement that is based on a plant, it is essential that we create sustainable agricultural, packaging and testing practices that protect our Earth as well as consumers. – Laila Makled, Chair, Women Grow DC

“It is essential that we create sustainable agricultural, packaging and testing practices that protect our Earth as well as consumers.” – Laila Makled

Environmentally sustainable business practices are essential to the future of the cannabis industry due to the explosive growth of the industry around the country. We must ensure that we implement best practices from the start to mitigate the risk of having this market eventually crash as the tech and housing markets have in the past. The drive for maximum profits must NEVER outweigh care and concern for the communities we serve and Mother Earth as a whole. – Dr. Lakisha Jenkins, Founder, Jenasis Medical Group

“The drive for maximum profits must NEVER outweigh care and concern for the communities we serve and Mother Earth as a whole.” – Dr. Lakisha Jenkins

Regulating marijuana is far more environmentally sustainable than driving its production underground. Under prohibition, cannabis cultivation often occurs in state and national parks and has involved the diversion of streams, the use of unsafe pesticides, and other destructive practices. Incentivizing environmentally sustainable practices could help build support for ending prohibition in some quarters, and such practices are better for the planet we all inhabit. – Karen O’Keefe, Director of States Policies, Marijuana Policy Project

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on environmental sustainability and the cannabis industry…

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