Sustainable cannabis brands to support in 2022

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A growing number of Canadian cannabis consumers are looking for more than just high THC content when shopping for their cannabis products.

In these times of raging wildfires, devastating floods, and rising sea levels, climate anxiety takes its toll and consumers want to reduce their own environmental impact.

Consumers are getting savvier when it comes to researching various weed companies. They want to know how cannabis is grown, processed, and packaged.

And frankly, not all cannabis products have an equal environmental impact.

These brands offer terpene and cannabinoid-rich weed and are actively working towards environmental, social, and/or economic sustainability.

Sustainable cannabis brands across Canada

Simply Bare by Rubicon Organics

British Columbia has a reputation for having lots of environmentally-minded citizens, so it’s no surprise that many organic and sustainable cannabis companies have rooted themselves in the province.

The Simply Bare line of cannabis products from Rubicon Organics in Delta, BC, puts several sustainability practices to work to produce quality cannabis available across Canada.

Certified organic and sun-grown, Simply Bare brings cannabis back to its roots. (Courtesy of Simply Bare)

Sustainability features:

  • Sungrown cannabis in hybrid greenhouses supplemented with high efficiency LED lights.
  • Uses living soil grow medium (active ecosystem of beneficial biological soil organisms to help make nutrients naturally available to the plants).
  • Locally sourced inputs from the BC coast including Douglas Fir bark, worm castings, kelp, and fish meal.
  • Organic certification through Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA).
  • Working toward meeting standards of an Environmental Farm Plan which includes a CO2 capture/reuse system, 100% rainwater recycling, and net-zero energy and waste.

Products:

  • Dried flower (flower and pre-rolls)
  • Hash
  • Live rosin
  • PAX distillate pods

Good Buds by Good Buds Company

Good Buds, from Salt Spring Island, BC, is a family-run company founded in the back of a van that produces “craft cannabis in organic soils next to the Salish Sea.”

Good Buds is an example of how sustainably grown cannabis can be exceptionally high quality, having won Kind Magazine’s 2020 Concentrate of the Year award.

Independent and family-run, Good Buds grow their weed in living soil. (Courtesy of Good Buds)

Sustainability features:

  • Grown in recycled shipping containers
  • All products, including extracts, are organically certified- no chemicals used for extraction (uses ice water and heated press methods)
  • Uses recaptured rainwater
  • Organic certification through Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA)
  • Uses living soil grow medium
  • BC’s first Certified Living Wage Employer in cannabis

Products:

  • Dried flower (flower and pre-rolls)
  • Bubble hash
  • Solventless rosin

The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD)

The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) has the philosophy that they need to do more than grow certified organic cannabis, they are about cultivating a way of life. They take a broad approach to sustainability in decisions made from their facility, to packaging, to products, to staff clothing, and more.

Based out of Ancaster, ON, their sustainability practices go beyond environmental to include environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), including being part of a “Good Neighbour” program and growing organic fruits and vegetables to donate to local food banks.

Their high-tech greenhouses allow for natural sunshine and rainwater. Bringing the outdoors, indoors. (Courtesy of TGOD)

Sustainability features:

  • Hybrid greenhouses with sunlight/LED lighting system
  • Rainwater recapture system to reduce water and electricity use
  • Living Soil grow medium reduces their landfill waste to the tune of avoiding 200,000 stone wool units of landfill waste/year (roughly the size of 3 NHL hockey rinks)
  • Facilities built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards
  • Black-out blinds to prevent light pollution
  • First certified organic producer in Canada to obtain European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU-GMP) certification in preparation for commercialization later this year
  • First cannabis company in Canada to complete an Environmental Farm Plan
  • Participates in “Operation Pollinator”, an international biodiversity program, and in Ontario’s “Barn Swallow Project”

Products:

  • Dried flower
  • THC and CBD oils
  • Edibles: dissolvable powder, teas, gummies
  • Vape extract cartridges

Stewart Farms

Stewart Farms is an organic cultivator that farms “fish, weed, and microbes” in Saint Stephen, NB. Using aquaponics and living soil, they are able to produce organic cannabis sustainably, using as little plastic as possible. Stewart Farms started off with bath bombs and has recently added craft cannabis and pre-rolls to their product portfolio.

Stewart Farms has entirely biodegradable packaging. (Courtesy of Stewart Farms)

Sustainability features:

  • Closed-loop water recycling system uses 90% less water than conventional agriculture
  • Fish by-products converted to natural nutrients for the plants in self-sustaining ecosystem
  • Vertical farming system uses less square footage for more efficient use of resources and a lower carbon footprint
  • No pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
  • 100% biodegradable packaging, including the film on the bath bombs

Products:

  • Infused (and non-infused) bath bombs
  • Craft flower
  • Pre-rolls

Reef Organic by Aqualitas

Reef Organic products by Aqualitas is a stand-out company in sustainable practices. Based out of Brooklyn, NS, Aqualitas combines aquaculture and organic living soils to produce consistent quality cannabis products.

CEO Myrna Gillis says that sustainability is promoted and supported at all levels of leadership, and their sustainability philosophy is to “do no harm and to do better.”

She notes that growing indoors using an ecological design (aquaculture merges fish and plants for less waste, better nutrients) is part of a sustainable future in an uncertain climate and increasing soil erosion.

They aim to provide “the healthiest products grown as close as possible to the conditions in nature”, which has paid off, as they have been featured twice by High North Labs for the highest cannabinoid profiles, including a 34% cannabinoid content for their Ghost Train Haze.

Reef’s cultivar Ghost Train Haze has over 30% THC content. (Courtesy of Aqualitas)

Sustainability features:

  • Sustainability commitment from the grow to the packaging
  • Low square footage aquaponics facility, they make their own balanced fish food for their long-lived koi fish
  • Committed to fair trade and a 5% carbon footprint reduction each year
  • Use of greywater systems for water use reduction
  • Ocean Sourced Packaging- plastic pollution from the ocean gathered, reclaimed, and repurposed for packaging
  • All Reef Organics products are Clean Green Certified (CGC)
  • Winner of Spark Innovation Award and Clean Tech Energy award

Products:

  • Dried flower (flower and pre-rolls)
  • THC and CBD oils
  • Vape extract cartridges
  • Rosin
  • Edibles (gummies)

Consumers—watch out for greenwashing

What does sustainable cannabis even mean? The word sustainability has evolved and adapted to mean not just environmental sustainability, but social and economic sustainability as well.

Some cannabis companies are guilty of “greenwashing”—appearing to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are in practice. In looking for truly earth-friendly cannabis, we have looked beyond surface-level claims to find those companies that actually walk their sustainability talk.

Shopping for sustainable products doesn’t have to require an overwhelming amount of research or an in-depth understanding of sustainability principles and agricultural practices.

Salina Perry's Bio Image

Salina Perry

Salina May Perry lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, and is a passionate cannabis enthusiast. She holds a BSc degree in Environmental Science from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, as well as an Environmental Professional (EP) designation.

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