"The cannabis and climate connection no one is talking about"

"Maybe you've heard that cultivating cannabis is bad for the environment. Perhaps you've seen headlines saying that growing an ounce of indoor cannabis emits the equivalent amount of carbon as burning a full tank of gas. Or maybe you've read reports that say growing a few pounds of weed yields the same environmental toll as driving across America seven times."

All of this is (mostly) true, according to RFT's article. "Indoor cannabis cultivation is not environmentally friendly. This method requires hours of blasting air conditioning, heating (if you live in snowy regions), lighting, air filtration systems, and irrigation. Aside from swapping high voltage lights with LEDs, there are few green solutions for indoor grows to lessen their carbon footprint."

"Outdoor cannabis grows aren't perfect, either. They've earned a negative reputation thanks to illegal operators polluting National Park lands, stealing water from protected rivers, and leaking pesticides into watersheds. Even legal outdoor grows can contribute to soil erosion, nutrient loss, and increased soil acidity. Monoculture, or producing one type of crop to the exclusion of others, in cannabis is equally damaging to soil as it is in traditional agriculture."

"But the research highlighting the harms of cannabis cultivation lacks nuance. Why? Because growing cannabis can remediate the Earth and aid in the fight against climate change if done properly. Regenerative farming, for example, is a system of agriculture practices that involves working with plants to utilize photosynthesis and maintain 'living soil.' Plants draw carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in healthy soil — grazed and naturally fertilized by animals — where it transforms into stable carbon."

To read the complete article, go to www.riverfronttimes.com

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