It's not always easy to be green, and although marijuana has been traditionally associated with earth-friendly values, today consuming cannabis can be just as harmful to the environment as driving a Hummer. Buds grown under high-intensity discharge lights can consume an astounding amount of electricity, stoking pollution and climate change. Using rockwool cubes that can't be recycled, as well as potentially harmful pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers, can render your herb less groovy than you imagined. Tons of plastic baggies, canisters and cubes accumulate, previously used to house extracts, edibles or flowers. Driven by a green rush mentality, new-to-the-scene ganjapreneurs mimic wasteful mainstream products and trends (like Keurig cups), instead of embracing the eco-conscious cannabis consumer and promoting values of sustainability.
The good news is that it's easier than ever before to support eco-friendly cannabis businesses who have their hearts in the right place. Now that producers can step out of the shadows of prohibition, it's finally possibly for buyers in San Francisco to procure "farm-to-pipe" cannabis from purveyors like Flow Kana, Tea House Collective and Craft. As the laws change, allowing farmers to grow hemp will empower a new generation of designers, architects and engineers to utilize this versatile, eco-friendly material for building, textiles, paper and more. Cannabis can be part of a eco-friendly future if connoisseurs help by driving demand for boutique all-natural sungrown flowers, concentrates made without fossil fuels and healthy, organic edibles.
Here are 5 ways you can make your cannabis habit green:
Choose Sungrown Cannabis
It's a myth that outdoor cannabis isn't as high-quality as indoor. Boutique growers who lavish attention on their gardens will always yield a primo product, and there's no replacing the sun's energy intensity, which develops every cannabinoid and terpene to its fullest. Look for sungrown, outdoor organic cannabis at your local dispensary.
Avoid Plastic Packaging
Glass is the standard for high-quality cannabis packaging, which is ideal because it can be reused and recycled. Tins are also popular for housing flowers and edibles, while plastic baggies and vials cannot be easily recycled and don't usually get re-used as often.
Select Durable Vape Pens
Shoddily-constructed vape pens have exploded and caused burns, and are responsible for pollution in the land of their manufacture, China. Choose high-quality, well-constructed vape pens that are highly rated instead of disposable, cheap units that end up in a landfill.
After epic pesticide scandals in Colorado, more people are asking questions about the fertilizers and pesticides used to grow cannabis. Just like with organic food, choosing cannabis grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is healthier for you and the Earth. Learn more about organic cannabis at Clean Green and Organic Cannabis Association.
Just Say No to Butane
A derivative of natural gas, the demand for butane drives pollution, climate change and drilling. Choose extracts made from ice water or CO2 and dab them on an e-nail instead. Or if you want to get really eco-friendly, smoke dry-sifted kief with a hempwick.