What is the current state of sustainability in cannabis?
From a regulatory standpoint, sustainability is not a requirement for the cultivation of cannabis. Right now, the rigorous testing and evaluation of the final product from seed to sale does not require non-waste, proper waste, energy efficiency, etc… Most of the newer markets that are just starting to get developed are putting some of these considerations in the build out for efficiency of the lighting and cooling fixtures. There is currently no uniform standard, but just like in any other industry, there are some organic attempts to maintain and perform the growth in the most nature friendly and organic manner and there is an average product just like anywhere else.
What are the pain points and highlights surrounding cannabis and sustainable efforts?
I believe that it is a regulatory driven product so the product is being produced and manufactured up to the standards that the regulating bodies are setting up. So, until the customer and the regulating bodies start demanding more, we will see mixed approaches, just like we see with milk and eggs and everything else. We are going to have green and organic grown products and hope that we get a little more of a premium price for the offering and we are also going to see mid-market products that grocery stores are filled with.
What are the prime factors creating sustainability issues in the space?
I think regulatory developments and education are the factors that are extremely important for the customer demand to continue to change the behaviors of the manufacturers. Both education and the regulatory environment are the key factors in affecting the behavior of the manufacturers.
What efforts are underway to address the concern?
I know that there are a lot of groups and organizations that are there to promote and educate on behalf of the customer and on behalf of the industry. There are symposiums, there are publications, there are advertisements that brings attention and generates a healthy consumer just like in any other industry. The consumers are very young and are just starting to get comfortable with going to a store and ask questions about the products that are now considered to be legal. So as this conversation and the culture continues to expand and grow, I think that the awareness will also continue to grow.
Where will cannabis be in five years? Will it continue to struggle with sustainable measures?
I believe that cannabis will be more sustainable in the future even though we will continue to struggle with sustainable matters and in five years, we will have more consumers able to make those determinations and decisions for themselves and influence the market.
I believe in five years, the product line will be the same mix like we currently have in the eggs and vegetable sections of the grocery stores. You will have your choices. You will have your premium, responsible organic (depending on the legalities of the qualifications), and you’re going to have your quick and easy- just meeting regulations, middle of the road standard product. Consumers will be making their own determinations with their wallets while motivating the behaviors of the marketplace.
Serge Chistov is a cannabis industry expert and Chief Financial Partner with Honest Marijuana Co. Honest Marijuana has been a leader in cannabis innovation since it’s inception with an organic approach to the growth, production and packaging of cannabis, the launch of the first-ever organic hemp wrapped machine rolled blunts, the invention of the now patented Nanobidiol Technology, and the first company to bring THC-O-Acetate technology and products to market.