Though it is known as that little green herb, cannabis isn’t always green — either in color or in sustainability. In fact, the cannabis industry could be among the most unsustainable thanks to the high levels of resource consumption required to raise weed. Cannabis itself has a relatively short growth period — just a matter of weeks — but most growers take pains to control every aspect of its environment, from the temperature to the airflow to the humidity and soil content. The result is growing operations that require abundant amounts of energy and an end product with a massive carbon footprint.
Fortunately, there are a few cannabis brands that are trying to do it differently. Here are the sustainable cannabis brands that deserve your unlimited support this year:
Raw Garden specializes in live resin, the material filling most canna-vapes. The operation has produced resin from more than 850 different strains and drops a new strain every week or so. Yet, despite the size and scope of Raw Garden’s products, the company refuses to use any artificial ingredients whatsoever, and they utilize USDA organic agricultural standards to cultivate their cannabis crop. The result is a near-idyllic cannabis farm in the hills of Santa Barbara, where cannabis can thrive on less than a gallon of water per plant per day — which is about five times less than the typical pot plant in California.
Glass House Farms
Glass House Farms is the largest cannabis cultivator in California — which means it is one of the largest cannabis cultivators in the world. Yet, despite managing over 500,000 square feet of greenhouse space, the farmers aren’t operating their grow operation as their unsustainable competitors do. Instead of relying on artificial lights and ventilation systems, these greenhouses are open to sunlight and natural wind, and Glass House uses an innovative water recapture system to prevent fertilizer and other chemicals from infiltrating the groundwater. Considering the size of the grow op, these actions have a remarkably positive environmental impact.
Papa & Barkley
One of the first and largest canna-wellness brands, Papa & Barkley has all but cornered the CBD market in dispensaries with high-quality patches, balms, tinctures, gummies, and more. Yet, unlike other cannabis brands peddling a healthy lifestyle, P & B uses a solventless infusion process, which means neither their products nor the environment around their facilities is suffused with the toxic chemicals typically used to strip away unwanted material from the prized CBD. The brand also works to source organic and clean base materials, like coconut oil, MCT oil, and beeswax.
This cannabis company is so committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations that it publishes an annual sustainability report tracking the water, carbon, solid waste, and energy produced and consumed at their weed farm. Like other green-minded cannabis brands, Aster Farms relies on the sun, native soil and organic inputs, as well as three generations–worth of passion and dedication for cannabis cultivation.
The farmers of Stone Road keep tight control over every factor affecting the growth of their cannabis crop — but that doesn’t mean they are harming the environment while doing so. Stone Road farms are 100 percent solar-powered, rely on microbial well water to maintain pH level and package their products in biodegradable rice protein isolate. Even better, Stone Road’s founder rolled a gilded $24,000 joint to benefit the African Wildlife Foundation — another big clue that this canna-company cares about sustainability and conservation.
Vaping is increasing in popularity, and many users prefer a disposable style of vape pen called 510s. Unfortunately, 510 cartridges are not recyclable; they inevitably end up in landfills, and because they contain so little and are discarded so frequently, they could pose a severe environmental threat in the near future. Fortunately, canna-vape brand Pax is combatting the disposability of 510s with high-quality and durable devices and accessories as well as fully recyclable and biodegradable pods. The result is a more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable vape pen for the masses, available in Michigan marijuana provisioning centers and anywhere else weed vapes are sold.
Space Coyote strives to provide the most intense, “cosmic” cannabis experiences using some of the most potent pot products on the market. Though the brand didn’t begin with sustainable intentions, after running an environmental impact study, the founders of Space Coyote refocused their strategies for sourcing their raw materials. The most important change was to the tubes that hold their pre-rolled joints, which are now made from a recycled aluminum, which the company has made available to any other canna-business interested in more sustainable packaging.