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Growing cannabis – getting better results by thinking green

The marijuana industry is currently in the middle of a “Green Rush”. As states are increasingly relaxing legislation on the substance, businesses are capitalising on the benefits of cannabis and starting their own strategies.

Unfortunately, this also means that black markets are thriving as well. Looking to get into the industry just for profit, these people are often setting up farms in remote locations with no regard for how their presence affects the environment.

As a result, it appears this “Green Rush” is not as environmentally friendly as it appears.
According to an article published in the Washington Post, indoor cannabis growing in the US uses about $6 billion worth of electricity every year – equivalent to one percent of the country’s total power consumption.

Furthermore, in California – a state associated with high marijuana production – it was estimated that three percent of the region’s electricity was used to create cannabis.

While it’s great that the marijuana industry is thriving, these surprising figures show that more must be done to preserve our environment – before it’s too late. Fortunately, many growers realise the issue and are taking steps to remedy the situation. At the recent Cannagrow Expo, Louis Miller from Miller Soils spoke about the issue and gave practical advice as to how growers can reduce their carbon footprints. We chatted with him to hear what he had to say.

How Miller Soils is striving to make cannabis greenLouis Miller

Miller Soils is a small family owned business which specialises in providing environmentally friendly compost. This soil, called Biochar, is made from renewable resources and helps growers become greener while helping them generate greater yields and profits.

Speaking to Louis following his talk at the Cannagrow Expo, we asked him about the topics he covered at the event: “We spoke about our soils as well as how to make the industry more sustainable and how to lower the carbon foot print through using Biochar. We also spoke about how better logistics is key to saving money, time, and lowering the carbon foot print.”

How does Biochar work?

“Sourcing local materials from Colorado, Idaho, and Washington, we keep our supplies local to further reduce our carbon footprint and keep it fresh. Due to its freshness and organic ingredients, Biochar boasts improved nutrient as well as water-holding retention and enhanced microbial growth.”

Was this your first time at the expo?

“It was the first time that the Cannagrow Expo had taken place in Colorado and was one of the best conferences I’ve been to. Whereas sometimes it feels that the people at these events are just there to make money and get high, this was the right crowd – they were educated, intelligent, and interested in learning how to become more environmentally friendly.”

Is pollution really a problem within the cannabis industry?

Marijuana Factory“With the marijuana industry constantly growing and not slowing down, it is time to think about our carbon footprint. Back in 2011, an independent report from the Berkeley National Laboratory claimed that the electricity use from indoor cannabis growing cost about $6 billion every year. Moreover, taking transportation into consideration, it was theorised that it was about as polluting as three million cars.”

“That was four years ago and with the industry not slowing down and increasing numbers of people looking to grow cannabis for profit, we must take action while we still can.”

”Fortunately, we aimed to help organisations grow ‘with a conscience’ and we definitely managed to achieve that.”

Do you have any marijuana growing tips to share with us?

“Actually, I’m not much of a professional grower but have been a gardener all my life. We did have some luck with a strain called Girl Scout Cookies recently but I think the most important thing that growers can think about is where your products come from. Similar to buying wine or meat, you must start thinking about sourcing and if that person is using sustainable materials.”

“As well as resulting in better taste and effects, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re helping to save the planet as well.”

What are your views on the future of the cannabis industry?

“We are planning to use Biochar to generate sustainable green energy for the Cannabis industry. Our soil produces around two megawatts of carbon negative power per hour and our intention is to turn four acres of our property into a green industrial park.”

“This won’t entirely fix the problem but, if others follow our example, our hope is to make the marijuana sector completely sustainable – something which needs to happen as the industry expands.”

MSNL Team MSNL Team / 19th May 2015

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