Growing high-quality organic crops under the hot Nevada sun is no easy feat - especially when that crop is cannabis.
For growers like Ed Alexander at SoL Cannabis, however, it’s all part of a day’s work, and a Rimol greenhouse is a key tool in getting that work done.
When we last spoke to Alexander and his team from their operation in New Washoe City, we saw how he has transformed a thousand square feet of dry, scrubby brushland into a highly-productive growing area for fully sun-grown cannabis.
Now, we’re taking a closer look at how he’s putting his Rimol Greenhouse to use as an environmental ally, helping to reduce their impact on their local environment and setting the standard as “stewards of the industry,” without sacrificing the quality or consistency of their cannabis product.
Reducing Environmental Impact from a Cannabis Greenhouse
“There’s a misconception among consumers that most of the cannabis you buy is largely grown outdoors, and that just really isn’t the case,” says Alexander, reflecting on the state of agriculture in the cannabis industry. “In reality, the majority of customers don’t realize that most cannabis is grown indoors, in a warehouse - and that has implications on your environmental footprint, and on your environmental impact.”
For a cannabis grower like Alexander, those ecological impacts have economic effects as well. Environmental control within a grow space can often constitute the number one expense for indoor cannabis growers, split predominantly between air conditioning and lighting. These expenses raise the cost of growing cannabis and reduce a grower’s margins - and they can have a serious impact on the surrounding environment.
Take California, for example. According to a study by the California Public Utilities Commission, “indoor cannabis cultivation is responsible for about 3% of California’s electricity consumption, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of one million California homes.” That comes in combination with many other environmentally-damaging factors - like water waste, carbon output, and more.
But by implementing key energy-saving and environmentally-sound growing practices within their Rimol cannabis greenhouse, Ed Alexander and his SoL Cannabis team have managed to mitigate many of those issues - all while drastically improving the quality and efficiency of their cannabis grow.
Producing a Greener Grow with Quality Conditions
Last time we spoke with Alexander, we saw how he has utilized extensive environmental controls within his cannabis greenhouse to reduce his overall energy costs while providing a unique, full-sun growing environment for his cannabis plants.
The major differentiating factor for SoL Cannabis is the fact that their plants are grown under full-spectrum sunlight - a benefit that SoL Cannabis says provides “the highest quality, competitively priced, lab-tested cannabis” that “just makes sense for everyone involved.”
To achieve this, SoL Cannabis had to lobby hard - especially since the state of Nevada initially prohibited outdoor cannabis cultivation. Only after months of negotiation was SoL permitted to operate as one of just 2 outdoor cannabis grow operations in Nevada, and they do it in a hybrid Rimol Greenhouse that utilizes everything from full-sun blackout tarps to energy curtains, an efficient and low-cost wet wall system, and small supplemental lighting to complement the rays from the sun.
This unique environment offers not only significant energy cost savings, but also key benefits to the cannabis plants themselves: bigger and healthier plants, and a higher premium price point.
“Sunlight really allows for much bigger plants than you would normally be able to grow under supplemental lighting,” explains Alexander. “Rather than being constrained to 18-24 inches because they need to be a certain distance from artificial lights, sun-grown cannabis plants can reach as high as four to seven, and even ten feet tall - practically, the sun isn’t any closer or farther away depending on how big they get. That means more colas, bigger buds, and higher quality in the end product.”
Because of this, SoL Cannabis is able to market their cannabis with a number of distinguishing factors - including everything from a broader terpene profile to their organic growing practices - all while maintaining a low impact on their surrounding environment.
Embodying the Best of The Community
Talk with Alexander about his vision for the future of cannabis - both locally in Nevada and more broadly, across the nation and the world - and he’ll mention one key phrase a few times: Stewards of the Industry.
This really cuts to the heart of what SoL Cannabis strives for in reducing their environmental impact and improving the quality of their cannabis offerings: taking the cannabis industry in a new, more people-focused direction.
“We are an entire cannabis company grounded in compassion and empathy,” says Alexander, reflecting on the time and effort his team has put into turning their patch of land into not just a profitable grow area, but also a welcoming community space. “We need to lead that change, and we’re doing it by welcoming people to come and see what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”
Case in point: SoL Cannabis transforms the porch of their on-site cannabis dispensary every Saturday into a fun and festive live music venue, complete with food and entertainment to benefit a different local nonprofit every week. Customers and community members are invited to come by, enjoy the evening, and maybe even make a donation to the chosen nonprofit - donations matched by SoL Cannabis.
“It’s fun, it’s a good time, and it’s an opportunity for us to pitch our message to the community,” says Alexander. “It’s our chance to be good Stewards of the Industry - and that’s how we’re going to keep moving things forward.”