Marijuana Business Magazine November-December 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | November-December 2019 146 Staff also should be instructed to never vent an almost-spent solvent tank just to empty it. “Don’t use misters that emit a stronger-smelling VOC like pine,” Urso said. “You may be covering the smell of marijuana, but you’re doubling your VOC emission.” WASTE-DISPOSAL SOLUTIONS In Colorado, plants and products must be “unusable and unrecognizable” before they’re disposed of, according to state law. Marijuana waste must be ground and mixed with at least 50% of non-marijuana waste. It can then be disposed of at a solid waste site, a compost facility or composted at the cultivation facility. Recycling the fiber—or stalks and stems, which are exempt from the 50/50 rule—improves sustainability. “I’d like to see fiber recovery be more mainstream,” Urso said. “But there’s not a good secondary market for these fibers.” Amy Andrle, co-owner of the Denver- based marijuana grower and retailer L’Eagle, said managing waste sustainably is low-hanging fruit. Finding items that can be recycled or composted is an easy way to make a big impact. L’Eagle has worked with the city of Denver to establish a composting program at its facility, where it composts soils, root balls and plant waste so the company sends less material to the landfill. “That’s a quick impact we’re able to make,” Andrle said. THE VALUE OF GREEN CERTIFICATION Smith of Resource Innovation Institute said third-party certification that a company uses sustainable practices would go a long way toward preventing greenwashing claims and ensure consumers know how the products they’re purchasing are produced. “Any form of independent verification helps a consumer assess the intent of a brand,” Smith said. There are several organizations that certify cannabis companies for sustainability, including Sun + Earth Certified, Envirocann and The Cannabis Conservancy. With offices in the United States and Canada, The Cannabis Conservancy offers Simply Certified, an internationally recognized sustainability certification program, for growers who adhere to good agricultural practices, farm cannabis free of harmful chemicals, use waste-reduction methods, are energy efficient and conserve water. By the end of the year, the Denver-based organization expects to have about 50 farms certified. “Cannabis is still in the beginning stages of the regulated marketplace where sustainable agricultural practices should be adopted rather than retroactively implemented,” said Jacob Policzer, co-founder and director of science and strategy for The Cannabis Conservancy. “Cannabis can use its higher margins to bring environmental stewardship to the forefront. We use the plant to heal ourselves, so there’s no reason why we should be growing in a method that doesn’t heal the planet.” Educating consumers about best practices in growing cannabis will help to combat greenwashing, because growing sustainably and organically have a lot of benefits, Policzer said. It’s also important for cannabis companies to periodically reevaluate how they’re doing things to ensure they are using resources efficiently. “Sustainability is not a destination, it’s a journey, so you should be progressively improving your processes,” Policzer said. Margaret Jackson writes for Marijuana Business Magazine. You can reach her at [email protected] . A PPB Rae air pump and a Tenex tube collect air samples from a room where about 450 pounds of dry marijuana are drying and curing. Photo courtesy of CDPHE Greenwashing