Now is the time to create a sustainable marijuana system

December 3, 2014

Washington was the first state to license outdoor marijuana cultivation. This is a huge opportunity for our state. It’s our chance to create a system that is environmentally friendly, carbon neutral, sustainable, and profitable.

 

Marijuana is quickly becoming a measurable part of Washington’s agricultural mix. And we think both the industry and the state would benefit from following the principles of organic farming and “slow money” economics, which support small organic farms and the larger local food movement as a whole. In a series of blog posts we explore the benefits creating a sustainable, organically grown, environmentally responsible marijuana system including:

 

Creating entrepreneurs.

Small-scale marijuana farms are small businesses that put local people to work in a booming industry. And with recreational marijuana forecasted to bring in about $636 million to state coffers by the middle of 2019, this is an industry on the move.

 

Conserve resources, protect the environment.

Sungrown marijuana uses significantly less energy than indoor grows dependent upon electricity-hogging artificial light. It also uses locally-sourced water. Plus, the farms are beautiful!

 

Promote agricultural tourism.

And speaking of beauty, farm tours could help bring in extra revenue for marijuana farms. Eastern Washington already hosts many wine and beer tasting tours, so why not cannabis tours? Let people see marijuana grown under the sun in an organic, sustainable way while enjoying the surroundings and other accommodations. Eastern Washington, especially the NE corner where Mountain High Organic is located, is ideal for this sort of tourism.

 

Eliminate the black market.

Since sungrown marijuana uses so much less energy, it keeps costs low as compared to indoor grows. This lower price point would help achieve the goal of completely legitimizing the industry and undercutting the black market to the point of irrelevancy.

 

Create organic certification for marijuana.

Currently, outdoor marijuana farmers, or “sungrowers,” are marginalized. Many policies enacted after the passage of I-502 give the advantage to indoor growing operations, most of them located on the west side of the state. The Washington Sungrowers Industry Association was created in part to combat this bias. Check out their site and get involved.

 

It’s rare to be present at the birth of a brand new industry, and we have a responsibility to do this the right way – not only for our state but for all future states that choose to legalize. Let’s chart a better way forward. Let’s get marijuana out in the sunshine where it belongs.

 

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