The Environmental Impact of Cannabis Cultivation

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As conscious consumerism enters the cannabis world, purchasing decisions may be based more on fair trade and regenerative farming than on orange hairs and THC percentage. With legalization taking hold, the industry has shifted from trying to protect people from the police to trying to protect small businesses from the behemoths that are inevitably entering the cannabis space. But while a lot of support for small cannabis businesses comes out of a concern for the people involved, there’s another party to be considered: the planet. Large-scale industrial agriculture has historically been no friend to the environment. But where does the environmental impact of cannabis production really lie? It’s not necessarily size that determines how sustainable a cannabis grow is. A small, indoor operation wastes an incredible amount of electricity, while large-scale outdoor regenerative farming is possible with foresight and planning. Of course, the cannabis industry right now isn’t set up to reward sustainable practices. California, one of the agricultural centers of the world, has so far allowed cannabis to be cultivated outdoors in only 13 counties, and as of now the products found on the shelves in dispensaries are more likely to come from indoor producers. When considering the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation, it’s more relevant to examine the different methods used for cultivation and to remember that, unlike traditional agriculture, cannabis cultivation has another complicated dimension — one created by the remnants of reefer madness. Elysian Fields, an off-grid homestead in Mendocino County, is run by Jennifer Gray and Simon Evers. An Energy-Efficient Means of Production  While greenhouse and indoor operations can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint like collecting and re-using water, soil and other natural resources, growing cannabis outside is the most energy efficient method of production. The International Cannabis Farmers Association, a California-based organization formed to encourage policies…

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Source : The Environmental Impact of Cannabis Cultivation

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