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11th December 2020

Sustainability: The undisputed future of cannabis

From biodegradable joint tubes, to sustainable cannabis cultivation, Laetitia Bradamante dives into the suitability trend on the horizon within the MedCan industry following a movement focussed on health and special responsibility

The pandemic and the climate change crisis have undoubtedly acted as a wakeup call for everyone to reflect on how we live our lives, and, most importantly, our health and wellbeing. As the cannabis market matures, and the consumer base widens, a boom in the hemp, CBG and CBD industries is forecasted; and along with it, an increase in demand for sustainable cannabis.
This demand hasn’t been a surprise as the industry has noticed a more educated and savvier consumer; demanding green and ethical products and reduced wasteful practices in suppliers. ‘Organic, clean and natural’ is the universal saying adopted by customers as they are more socially responsible than ever.
WAFBA’s Morris Beegle tells Forbes that due to COVID-19 “more emphasis will be placed on health and wellness, eating good foods, and taking nutritional supplements”. He continues stating “I see hemp superfoods and supplements that include CBD, CBG, full and broad-spectrum extracts will find their way into more and more peoples diets over the coming months and years”.
While discussing the shift towards sustainable cannabis, Aster Farms’ Sam Ludwig comments “the average user will be more discerning, caring about who, where and how the cannabis products they spend their money on are produced” Forbes reports.
Aster Farms is a sustainable cannabis company based in Oakland, California, and embodies the mantra ‘The cleanest, meanest and greenest around’. Letting nature do the work, Ludwig notes that ensuring transparency with their customers and seed-to-seed quality control is essential following the recent vape scare erupting back in 2019.
The cannabis industry is known to have an unfortunately large carbon footprint, particularly indoor cannabis, which will continue to grow as demand increases.
Thus, what sustainable practises could we see in the future to address this problem? Arguably, at the forefront is the push for sun grown cannabis as opposed to indoor cannabis cultivation that’s often associated with a superior cannabis. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth as sungrown cannabis can be just as good, if not better, than indoor cannabis. Not only can the quality of cannabis be superior, but this cultivation method is also a cheaper alternative. In the words of Ludwig himself, sungrown cannabis “is the best way to express the plants full cannabinoid profile” Forbes reports.
Energy usage is one of the major concerns surrounding cannabis cultivation. Greater adoption of renewable energy sources within cannabis companies is expected, including facilitates running on solar energy, hydro-energy, and windmills at rural cannabis operations. New Zealand based medical cannabis company ‘Greenfern Industries’ has launched an initiative to grow medical grade cannabis indoors using renewable hydro-energy.
A further option cannabis grower are gravitating towards in order to mitigate their energy costs is using greenhouses. New Frontier Data reports that 60% of electricity used by suppliers goes towards indoor facilities while only 37% goes towards greenhouses.
Reduced growing costs not only benefits the supplier and the environment, but also the consumer as prices become more affordable.
Another concept bracing cannabis cultivation companies are recyclable packaging and biodegradable materials. In bid to ensure packaging is more eco-friendly, companies have opted for paper and glass as opposed to plastic; reducing waste and reusing materials.
The push for sustainable CBD bridges the gap between the medical world and the environment. In an industry with a notoriously large carbon footprint, it is essential for MedCan companies to put people, sustainability and innovation at the centre of their operations.
Check out the latest issue of Block magazine for more articles like this.