The energy used to grow comes from existing energy infrastructure — the power grid — which is powered primarily by fossil fuels like coal. In terms of sustainability, fossil fuel use contributes to the cannabis carbon footprint. A session on industry sustainability at the recent Cannabis Business Summit discussed these issues. Panelist Jonathan Valdman of Forever Flowering Greenhouses, LLC a California-based sustainable agriculture company, mentioned cannabis companies that want to use more renewable energy face a number of obstacles.
In a followup phone call, Valdman confirms that renewable energy is expensive and access to financing for loans for renewable energy systems (or any financing, for that matter) has been a challenge for legal marijuana businesses. Additionally, the length of time for the return on investment is an added risk for many industry executives because of the many uncertainties in marijuana business. Valdman says new investors, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, are hesitant to make immediate decisions from a conscientious business perspective and are focusing primarily on how to do things cheaper. Regulations have pushed growers into industrial areas, says Valdman, and to be more sustainable, marijuana cultivation needs to be sun grown and treated as an agricultural crop, not an industrial product.
Read Susan Squibb’s “What is the marijuana industry doing to reduce its carbon footprint?”: http://www.thecannabist.co/2015/09/15/marijuana-electricity-use-carbon-footprint/37922/
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