US (WA): Startup aims to help cannabis industry improve crop, sustainability

The Pacific Northwest’s cannabis industry has seen near-constant growth since Washington and Oregon legalized cannabis cultivation and sales, both in terms of new retail stores and cannabis-growing operations.

But cannabis plants can be picky, demanding careful cultivation and often requiring a heavy supply of water, nutrients and sunlight, raising concerns about the environmental impact of the region’s growing crop of growers. The owners of Vancouver-based startup Backwoods Biochar say they want to tackle the root of that problem by supplying the cannabis industry with eco-friendly soil.

The pitch, as explained by company Vice President Josh Rasey, is extremely straightforward: “Bigger, better buds.” More specifically, he said, that means soil that can help cannabis plants grow faster while using significantly less water.

Biochar is a carbon-rich charcoal created through an energy production process called biomass gasification, which uses high temperature and pressure to trigger chemical reactions in wood or other carbon-based materials, converting them to synthetic gas.


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