Can the power-hungry cannabis sector turn over a new leaf?

If you pass the goats grazing on the hillside, you've missed it. Up a long country driveway at a ranch-style farmhouse in Ancaster, Ontario, there's no sign telling visitors they've arrived at Canada's largest licensed producer of organic cannabis. Just a badminton net. "We're trying to give it a Google-type feel," says co-founder Ian Wilms on a tour of the grounds. "Employees keep asking if we're going to start goat yoga soon."

Wilms — a former IBM exec. and chair of the Calgary Police Commission — and one of his partners had launched an LED lighting business when they decided to scope out the lighting booths at a cannabis convention. That's when they got the bright idea to start a cannabis company. One that would be free of chemical pesticides and powered by LEDs instead of the searing high-pressure sodium lights singled out for ravenously consuming anywhere from 1 to 3 per cent of the American grid (data is sketchy in Canada).

His company, the Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD), is so far one of only a handful of companies in Canada licensed to produce certified organic cannabis. But the publicly traded firm is part a budding movement among cannabis companies trying to prove to investors, as well as customers, that they're taking sustainability seriously, and that delivering greener pot will grow their bottom line.

In the nine months since the sector was officially uncuffed, more and more cannabis companies have been coming out of the shadows of indoor grow-ops and capitalizing on free solar energy with hybrid greenhouses to cut energy use and curb costs. Companies like TGOD, Hexo, and even larger players like Aurora and Canopy Growth are shifting to high-tech, walled-in, glass-roofed greenhouses, as are brands explicitly promoted as "sungrown," like Tantalus Labs and Aphria's Solei.

Read more at The Hamilton Spectator (Adria Vasil)


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