Sustainable enterprise practices go far beyond recycling cans and turning the lights off at evening. Effective water use, biodegradable packaging and recognizing your partners’ ethics are all vital measures to cutting your environmental footprint, according to Ben Gelt, chairperson of the Cannabis Certification Council.
Devoted to sustainable and healthier enterprise practices in legal cannabis, the CCC will hold its fourth annual Cannabis Sustainability Symposium on Friday, October four, in downtown Denver. To study much more about eco-friendly pot and how buyers can locate their voices, we caught up with Gelt just before the symposium begins.
Westword: How have sustainability challenges evolved in cannabis due to the fact it was 1st legalized?
Ben Gelt: The most significant alter is that it is now an concern that is having addressed and acknowledged. Prior to legalization, it was not some thing that was discussed broadly — even though I do have a wonderful graphic from the Village Voice circa 1981 about toxic pot and black-marketplace production strategies.
Some of the functional adjustments, like LED lights, are becoming much more widespread. You have much more LED light producers now, as effectively as simpler distribution. Highway lighting, stadium lighting, street lighting — all these forms of lighting are essentially controlled fairly tightly by a handful of companies and distributors. That infrastructure is just beginning to create for cannabis. You happen to be also seeing much more of an emphasis on much more effective water and pesticide strategies. If you appear at how the sector impacts the atmosphere, it is not generally power use.
I am glad you brought that up, mainly because I was hoping you’d share some sustainability challenges in cannabis that the typical customer may well not be conscious of.
The huge categories are power, water and waste. Beyond that, you get into environmental footprint and effect. That 1 is a small much more complex, mainly because there is such a patchwork of laws about which issues like pesticides are permitted, and then there is this incongruity amongst what is permitted and not permitted, and what it essentially tested for. In Colorado, for instance, only thirteen pesticides are tested for, in spite of there getting a considerably bigger list of pesticides that are banned.
So you get into not just environmental effect and public security challenges, but also customer well being inquiries. Especially in urban environments like Denver, Seattle and Los Angeles, are these water utilities truly set up for this influx of agricultural organizations inside their urban districts? I suspect the answer is no, but it is not a broadly discussed concern. It is a quite really serious 1, even though.
How considerably of these challenges are a item of lack of institutional understanding inside and about the cannabis sector?
Like a lot of issues with this sector, it is a byproduct of issues going quite quickly. 1 of the realities that we fully grasp but is not generally articulated is that when a brand-new sector develops a reasonably considerable legal marketplace, it is not as if this marketplace was just developed out of thin air. There was a pre-current demand and marketplace for this item and subsequent set of items. If you believe about the timeline in which this has created, there will generally be issues that will not be addressed.
I believe that states promptly focused on controlling and taxing the sector, and type of left public and environmental well being inquiries on the side. But now you are seeing these states come back and start out to appear at these inquiries. California is undertaking that. Massachusetts — famously or infamously, based on which circle you ask — developed some quite rigid requirements about the quantity of water and power use. There are a lot of inquiries about how that is going to perform.
A lot of ideal practices exist in other industries. Portion of what we do with the symposium is invite men and women from agriculture, beer, wine and other industries to speak about their sustainable lessons, and what they’ve had to do to make their enterprise plans much more sustainable. There are a lot of similarities right here with cannabis.
With the symposium getting held in Denver — and all of the indoor developing operations that are concentrated right here — how have Denver and Colorado set themselves up for sustainability going forward?
When you appear at Denver, there are a lot of indoor grows, and probably more than 90 % of them are operating higher-stress sodium lights. There is absolutely area for development there, but when you appear much more broadly at what Colorado organizations are undertaking, you are going to locate businesses attempting to locate a variety of sustainable options for a lot of issues. STO Accountable is a wonderful instance of that. Their plastic packaging is totally biodegradable, their practices are sustainable, and it is pretty priced.
When you appear much more broadly, I believe you are going to locate a lot of leadership in Colorado, whether or not it is brands that are national or international. They are quite really serious about attempting to make their organizations much more effective. Regardless of whether it is expense- or worth-driven is secondary, as lengthy as they are adopting these far better practices.
How can buyers assistance make legal cannabis much more sustainable?
I believe buyers have however to recognize how potent their voices are. By way of the CCC, we run a project referred to as “What is in My Weed?” It is largely focused on production challenges, but quickly we’ll have much more content material on the complete life cycle of cannabis items and what goes into them.
Buyers can go into retailers and ask about items that are sustainably developed and packaged. It is the very same issues they’ve completed in practically every single other customer category, which is vocalize their demand. A campaign like #whatsinmyweed is a spot for them to come to be a conduit for other individuals to study much more about how these items are produced.