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Building A Sustainable Cannabis Industry

Building A Sustainable Cannabis Industry

BY Rachel Wellendorf

Since 2009, Colorado legislation has been implemented to “license commercial businesses for the distribution and production of medical marijuana.” (Colorado legislature HB 10-1284 and SB 10-109).

If you’ve worked in the industry, you have probably noticed that many companies are still smoothing out kinks even after 5 years or more of business. This startup vibe can be partly attributed to the ever-changing rules and regulations that dispensary and MIP (marijuana infused product) facilities have to abide by.

Starting a business is difficult enough. Add evolving rules and regulations as well as making company changes to follow said rules and regulations, and it seems almost impossible to expand business. Because of the unprecedented hurdles seen by cannabis business owners and workers, the cannabis industry as a whole is still in the startup phase.

As always, you can look at the glass half full or half empty. The good news is that those of us working in the industry now have the potential to set precedents and impact the industry for years to come, long after our retirement.

There are plenty of industries out there having to revise certain business aspects to accommodate environmental sustainability. Between electricity use for grows, the exorbitant use of drams &  joint tubes and extensive packaging requirements, the cannabis industry has the potential of producing a lot of waste.

It is important for cannabis organizations to be mindful of the resources being used and waste produced. As we have seen from the oil/natural gas industry, the impacts of what is done with resources in the present will have a lasting impact for future generations. In other words, if we use insane amounts of electricity and plastic packaging in the beginning of the industry, the environmental impacts down the line will be tenfold. Not to mention, producing a large amount of plastic waste can have lasting impacts on the environment.

The change starts with us. So how do we partially solve the sustainability in cannabis issue?

  1. Plastic Dram Recycling

           Green for Green is a company that allows dispensaries to collect old drams and then cleans and sanitizes the drams. Containers are then sold back to dispensaries for a discounted price. It’s a
           win win situation.

       2. Tax breaks for implementing “Green” protocols such as Green for Green.
           The more tax break incentive there is to go green, the more businesses will follow suit.

       3. Water-saving systems in grows
           There are a handful of different watering systems that can be used for saving water. This could be another tax break for business owners.

       4. Greenhouse tops for grows
           Colorado has sunshine almost every day. Using natural sunlight for plants can help offset the electricity used, reducing the carbon footprint of grows that implement these energy-saving