Technology has answered many of the problems marijuana producers encounter and continues to do so. Sustainably sourced cannabis lessens the enormous carbon footprint left behind in cultivation while providing a means for cultivators to lower costs associated with growing. Sustainably grown cannabis will become the wave of the future. To be effective the consumer must have a guarantee the cannabis they are buying is indeed sustainably grown.
The problem is there’s no way to tell if the cannabis is sustainably sourced. Sustainably sourced cannabis doesn’t have any distinguishing characteristics. Trust is required. A method, system, or other consistency will strengthen any promise of sustainability.
Regulations strengthen a brand’s guarantee.
A product’s claims are often trusted if regulations are in place and there is enforcement of some kind. For example, organic milk producers comply with regulations of the industry to earn the certified organic label. Medical marijuana entering EU export markets must comply with the EU-GMP standards. Any flower, tincture, or extract without EU-GMP certification cannot be sold in the EU market.
A system of regulations requiring an independent investigative body strengthens a claim the cannabis is sustainably sourced. The independent team is responsible for ascertaining whether or not a company is indeed using sustainable methods of cultivation and/ or packaging. The independence of the investigators presents a stronger case the cannabis product is indeed sustainably sourced.
Transparency and Accountability.
The guarantee of sustainable methods requires higher levels of transparency and accountability. Even with an independent investigative team checking to make sure all regulations are followed, records of every process must be kept for reference whenever needed.
Accurate records and access to these records make it easier to see the sustainability practices of a company. The failure to keep or give access to records can indicate deception or inconsistency of practices.
Accountability measures help the consumer directly by discouraging deception. In an area where sustainability practices are already the norm and regulated by the government, accountability levels are greatest. These places strengthen the promise to the consumer that cannabis is sustainably grown.
The Danish Example.
Denmark is one of the most likely places to supply sustainably grown cannabis. Having decided earlier this year on the hybrid model of cannabis legislation, the country seeks to cultivate medical marijuana for Danish patients and for export. In the hybrid Danish system, marijuana cultivated in Denmark will first be used for Danish patients then whatever is left over will go to exports.
Denmark is known for its sustainable cultivation capabilities. Low energy prices, 72% renewable energy, a stable political system, and active support for the medical cannabis sector by local and national political decision-makers effectively assure sustainable cannabis cultivation in Denmark. This synergy of technology, regulation, transparency, and accountability strengthens brands’ claims the cannabis being sold is sustainably sourced cannabis coming from Danish producers.
Despite its reputation, Denmark has yet to mandate sustainable cultivation of cannabis. Cultivating sustainably remains the choice of the cultivator.
A Techie Way to Assure Sustainable Sourcing.
Technology further strengthens a claim of sustainable cultivation. Smart tag technology, commonly used to identify and track cannabis products, can also be used to “validate and assure that sustainable measures and responsible practices were leveraged all the way through the process.” Such technology when used in conjunction with regulations, transparency, and accountability secures a guarantee of the use of sustainable cannabis cultivation practices.
Cannabis companies looking to use sustainability as a brand characteristic will need to use these methods to instill confidence in the consumer.
Sustainability in cannabis production has greater implications than branding for cannabis companies.
“As society works toward a greener future, all industries will be held accountable for their environmental footprints. Cannabis businesses have an opportunity to make a difference as the industry evolves. Within this decade, we will see that the dominant business and brand leaders that emerge protect consumers as well as the environment.”
according to Peter J Schmitt, Conference Producer, Cannabis Packaging Summit.
Assurance of sustainable cultivation will be necessary for the benefit of consumers and the brands taking on the challenge.