The good news of marijuana legalization is spreading in different states and that makes growers excited. Cannabis is a profitable market that growers in states that were allowed to cultivate had invested in it.
As more states are now favoring marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes, the demand is there to be met. Companies and individuals are now in a relaxed and exciting mode for the opportunity has been widely opened.
They can now grow marijuana without fear for the law enforcement to suddenly confiscate their plants and charge them of breaking the law.
Marijuana confiscation amount is high as growers make an effort to grow them even if it’s illegal. That is because there are demands and profits. Now, they can cultivate cannabis openly.
It is indeed great news for the growers and also the patients who are using them or will use them for their own health issues and for recreational users.
The setback with this is the growing concern of the impact of cannabis cultivation on the environment. Crop cultivation is now in a stage where it is needed to go back to the old ways of farming so that the earth could recover and will be liveable for future generations.
That is why regenerative farming is now on the rise and companies and individuals around the world are being encouraged to practice it. Cannabis cultivation is growing and its impact on the environment is now an issue.
Knowing these issues and dealing with them is the responsibility of a good grower. Let us see some of these issues so we also could know how cannabis growing could be sustainable.
Cannabis Growing Issues
There are three issues to be addressed to attain marijuana sustainability. It starts with energy consumption, water usage, and waste disposal.
1. Energy Consumption For Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Is High
The report released informs that cannabis cultivation in the United States setting has used up about one percent of the total electrical output for one year. One percent does not seem to be a big issue but this equals the annual electrical consumption of 1.7 million homes.
Indoor farming of cannabis requires lighting that is provided by high-intensity lamps. These lamps consume much energy and they also generate heat that should be lowered using the HVAC system adding to the electrical consumption.
Cannabis plants need the light but the temperature should be controlled so they will not overheat and that requires the use of the air conditioning generating more electricity use.
To counter the issue, other growers have resulted in using their own power generation system that uses gas or coal. The use of electricity is lowered but it posed another problem. It contributes to the emission of CO2 that is not good for the environment.
The Alternative or Solution: LED Lighting Technology
Cannabis indoor growers had discovered the use of led technology as a solution and alternative to the use of high-intensity lamps. It requires higher investment or cost during the initial implementation process but in the long run, it produces a better result.
Led technology is already being used already in homes and commercial establishments due to its proven benefits and now it is a good alternative for cannabis indoor growing.
It is more efficient even up to 60 – 70% than the high-intensity lamps. It is very low in maintenance and heat produced is very minimal making the use of air conditioning lessened proving a higher saving covering up the higher investment in the initial implementation stage.
Using led technology reduces the need for the use of fertilizers and nutrients. This is due to the evaporation rates of water that is connected to the temperature of the soil, plant and the water it contains.
For outdoor growing, this is not a problem as natural sunlight provides the needed lighting.
2. Cannabis Cultivation Requires Much Water
The cannabis plant is thirstier than you and can triple the amount of water you consume per day. It can even require twice as much of the water that a grape vineyard needs. That is much water and it creates a problem. That is why a solution is being pushed for cannabis growing to be sustainable in terms of water usage.
The Solution: CCD (Closed Circuit Desalination) and RO (Reverse Osmosis)
An effective solution is through CCD and RO methods that are already practiced by other cannabis growers.
Reclaiming the wastewater and process them to be clean water is one of the best solutions to the issue. About 75% – 97% of wastewater could be claimed and re-use again. That is a good saving method and a good way to help the environment be sustainable.
This can be applied to commercial growers but for small scale growers, it is not much of a practical solution. Growers have set a goal than to use only up to 0.5 to 1 gallon of water per plant each day as a solution.
3. Waste Disposal
Cannabis farming waste also ends up in landfills that just contribute to the waste problem. For the cannabis industry to be sustainable, this issue should also be addressed. There is already much waste that ends up in the landfill every day.
As cannabis waste has no facility on for its management on its own and they are not accepted at composting plants, it is also thrown just like the other wastes and they also become part of the landfill.
The Solution: Composting On-site
Growers themselves are now making the step to do composting of the cannabis waste and making the effort to reintroduce it on farming. You can also learn this if you are growing your own cannabis plant and want to be sustainable.
There are other efforts that small scale growers and commercial growers are doing so they can attain sustainable cannabis cultivation. Others had their own research done on how they can lower the costs and their effect on cannabis cultivation into society.
The Practice of Seed to Seed As Part of Marijuana Sustainability Attainment
One key for the marijuana cultivation to be sustainable is having seeds to be planted, grow them, harvest, and have seeds for the next planting season. It is a farming cycle of having what you need ready for the next planting time.
Seeds are important and if you do not have one, you cannot have a cannabis plant to grow and harvest from.
The Push To Regenerative Outdoor Cannabis Farming For Sustainability
Implementation of the solutions to the issues regarding cannabis cultivation gives a brighter future for the grower, user, and middlemen. Costs are cut-off that allows lower prices for the end consumer. The environment is also happy as it will not receive additional burden in regard to pollution and in the air, land and waterways.
The indoor growing of cannabis is now in the path of attaining sustainability. Others are in favor of the outdoor growing of cannabis because of the other issues against indoor farming discussed above.
Another reason is that outdoor growing is considered to be a better practice where you can use regenerative farming techniques. This would allow growers to be able to help in the environment and not add problems while cultivating cannabis.
The sustainability of cannabis growing is not yet attained perfectly in the large scale set but the good news is that it is going to that direction. You can find out more when you research on how you can use regenerative farming on cannabis cultivation.
If you want to be on that path but are lacking in help and information, you can reach out to organizations or group of growers that are advocating those solutions to the issues. You also can be a part of the dream to make cannabis growing sustainable industry.
You might not know that there is a grower in your region that has the same goal. Find one and you can gain tips and advice on how to start your path on growing cannabis using the greener method. It is good to start right.
Cannabis growing for medical use is good but when it proves to be sustainable, it is even better. You can be a part of it by being a responsible grower of cannabis. Whether it is for your use or for selling and both, you can make a change by starting on the right path.
It is your choice to choose whether you will choose an indoor growing of cannabis or the outdoor growing. It depends on your capacity and knowledge of growing in a different setting. It can also depend on what you prefer as the outcome as they can have different bud characteristics.
Indoor farming buds could have a better-looking bud that smells nice and have a higher THC than outdoor-grown cannabis. Growers who had been on the industry know how they can make up for those qualities when they are grown outdoor.
There is much into cannabis growing and cultivation you can take your time to know or increase your knowledge and experience and be a better-informed grower.