Hey Dudes,

I’ve been working in the legal cannabis industry on and off for the past 7 years.  I left my last farm job with many frustrations. Turns out the industry is highly wasteful and lacks any kind of environmental stewardship.  Waste is the name of the game.  Truckloads of ProMix arrive twice a month to be put into disposable grow bags.  When the grow cycle ends the pots, leaves and stems are dumped into a rolloff dumpster and hauled away.  Miles and miles of trellis are used once and sent to the landfill.   Nothing is composted or recycled.

I did some back of the envelope calculations and found that a single greenhouse is drawing about 45,000 KWh at ALL TIMES.  Turns out it takes a lot of energy to run lights, fans, dehumidifiers, monitoring equipment, RO systems and pumps.  During the winter months propane trucks show up twice a week to keep the greenhouses warm.  For some reason the farm I was at was still using metal halides… legalized indoor marijuana-growing operations account for 1% of total electricity use in the US, at a cost of $6bn per year. Annually, such consumption produces 15m tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), equal to that of three million average cars. [1]

Then there is another layer of energy use to make concentrates and edibles.  I wasn’t able to find any statistics on this.

And what happens to the excess effluent of salt based fertilizers?  Dumped into the local storm drain.  As far as I know this was not monitored or cared about.

Meanwhile the packaging of the final product is highly wasteful. A single gram of cannabis comes with an average of 70 grams of packaging waste, primarily in the form of single-use plastics. [2]

How many doob tubes, gram bags, dab containers, edible wraps, mylar, mylar, mylar does it take to fuck up the environment?  Apparently we’re gonna find out.

And of course capitalism rears it’s ugly head.  Recreational cannabis has been legal in my state for almost 5 years.  The small mom and pop farms that I started out on are long gone.   The farms and dispensaries that are doing well are vertically integrated.  Unless you have a mountain of cash and an army of investors you won’t be entering the arena.

So, yeah, I left the farm/industry and I’m doing my own thing on the free market.  I have a small outdoor garden and grow in hugle pots using regenerative practices.  My  garden is 5 years old and I’m using the same soil I started with.  I top dress each fall and a little in the spring and keep a cover crop going at all times.  I use very little electricity for brewing compost tea and running fans and dehumidifiers at harvest.  The electricity I do use comes from a small solar array and battery bank.

But my regenerative practices aren’t valued on the market. People want the ultra dense frosty buds and incredible terpenes that can only be produced in a high energy environment.  I put my heart and soul into my garden, I’m mindful of how much energy and waste my grow uses and produces.  Each season I strive to make my grow more regenerative and sustainable.  And I’m damn proud of it too!   But it isn’t valued or appreciated by the general public.

The market is flooded and dispensary prices have totally tanked in my state, down 50% over the past year.   [3]

So what’s a guy like me to do?  I love growing this plant but apparently my methods don’t/won’t support a livelihood.

Thanks for reading my rant Dudes.

Bacillus Subtillus

1 https://www.cannabissciencetech.com/view/the-environmental-implications-of-energy-consumption-in-cannabis-cultivation

2 https://www.treehuggercontainers.com/thc-blog/the-plastic-problem-in-the-cannabis-industry

3 https://www.uppermichiganssource.com/2022/12/14/michigan-marijuana-prices-all-time-low/