The future is green. It is no secret that consumers, in general across all industries, are increasingly seeking environmentally friendly and sustainable products.
Your bills and bank statements are most likely fully paperless now. Many places are banning one-use plastic grocery bags and plastic straws. Stores are offering e-gift cards and pushing ebook reader tablets to save on plastic and paper. The fashion industry has embraced recycled packaging and garments made from recycled materials. Even fast food restaurants and coffee shops are offering vegan and non-dairy milk alternatives.
The cannabis consumer is no different. The average customer would like to see their dollars go towards a company who is producing their products in a way that is environmentally responsible in its cultivation, sourcing, and/or manufacturing. To meet demand, many brands are rapidly shifting dramatically in their methodology and marketing.
It turns out that consumers prefer organic cannabis to cannabis loaded with plant growth regulators and other additives and pesticides. Consumers don’t want to dig through tons of plastic packaging to get to their product. Consumers desire transparency and consciousness about where their products are coming from and how much their product costs in terms of resources.
For cultivators specifically, many are seeking ways to grow environmentally sustainable cannabis, however, they still need to keep cost-effectiveness and efficiency in mind, especially with large grows. Growing cannabis is hard work, growing hundreds or thousands of plants is even harder, especially considering energy, land and water usage.
Cannabis is thirstier than your average house plant. You need a tremendous amount of water to cultivate an entire cannabis farm from seed to harvest; this has become a huge issue for states and provinces out west who experience droughts. Average cannabis farms, both outdoor and in greenhouses, also take up a tremendous amount of land and energy. For indoor and greenhouse growers, to make up for the lack of sunlight you must use high powered light bulbs, ventilation systems, air-conditioners, and dehumidifiers. This consumes a lot of electricity. In fact the cannabis industry in the USA is already using at least 1% of the grid!
In an effort to address these issues, Growex developed a very specific marriage of two unique technologies: True Vertical (™) farming – that is, literally on walls instead of stacked tables – and HVAC-tight (™), climate-controlled atmosphere facilities, which are designed to allow for a contamination-free grow room that is impervious to pests and beneficial to yields. These growing solutions utilize up to 10x less land, 20x less water, 50% less energy, and have 4x less operational costs compared to standard cultivation processes.
The cultivation rooms that the company builds are “bubble” environments which provide the grower with complete control on all aspects of the air; including all pertinent gases like CO2, O2, N2, ethylene, ethanol, and, of course, temperature and humidity. With this specific type of True Vertical (™) model, crop loss can be estimated on paper as being less than 1% and quality is consistent and potent at each harvest.
On their current path of R&D, Growex expects to be able to cultivate high quality, environmentally friendly cannabis that is consistent across markets, at only 20 cents cost. The company recently ended up as the in-house cultivator in what is essentially a cannabis business accelerator. Here they are growing biomass for other companies in the space like extractors and working to bring their own brand of flower to market in Quebec: Growex Grown (™).
Ultimately the methods that have been used throughout the stages of production, but especially cultivation, until now are unsustainable. There are numerous solutions available for innovative growers looking to change their old ways, as well as for the next generation (Cannabis 2.0) of cannabis cultivators. Growers can utilize similar technologies to Growex’s to keep costs down and supply sustainable products: cannabis re-engineered.