A cannabis lover’s guide to climate justice

Despite weed’s down-to-earth image, cannabis consumers have a role to play to support climate action

By Kieran Delamont

2019-09-29

Across the world, students took to the streets on Friday (September 27) as part of the Global Climate Strike to demand that their governments take action on climate change.

Hundreds of thousands came out in Montreal, Toronto, Auckland, and other major cities in support of the movement galvanized by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. 

Despite its down-to-earth image, the cannabis industry has a role to play in the looming climate crisis. And as cannabis consumers, we have choices to make to support the goals of climate justice.

Know who you’re buying your weed from 

Though corporate cannabis companies push eco-friendly credentials, many are actively seeking partnerships with companies who are less green. Some weed companies, for example, are actively courting investment partnerships with companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle, which have long histories of resource exploitation. 

Grow your own

The industry is loathe to admit it, but growing cannabis uses a lot of resources and not always in the most ethical ways. A third of all U.S. states with legal weed have water shortages. 

“Cannabis leaves a small spatial footprint but has potentially significant environmental impacts,” Jake Brenner, a researcher who has studied the climate impacts of cannabis, tells Science Daily. “To mitigate these impacts, policymakers and planners need to enact specific environmental and land-use regulations to control cannabis crop expansion during this early stage in its development.”

Consider growing your own weed. It does include some start-up costs, but if you can legally grow outside, a good harvest will set you up with quite a lot of weed. Not only will it cost less, but you’ll get the satisfaction of having grown it yourself. 

Smoke flower

Vape pens are mighty convenient, but they include the trifecta of environmentally harmful consumer products: batteries, plastics, and chemicals. 

For roughly the cost of a vape pen or two, you can get a dry flower vape. While it doesn’t permanently solve the battery issue (many have batteries that aren’t recyclable), it does mean that you’re both avoiding the waste created by a vape pen. Plus the weed will taste better, I promise. 

Pick. Up. Your. Roach. 

Yes, hemp rolling papers are bio-degradeable. And yes weed roaches are less harmful than cigarette butts, which are one of the largest global sources of litter. But there’s no need for roaches to follow that trend. Either save them – that last bit of weed adds up over time – or find somewhere to dispose of them properly. It’s a small thing.

Don’t limit your activism to your smoke sesh

The smoke sesh ends, but the climate crisis continues. Vote for politicians with clear plans to tackle climate change. And squash the lazy stoner stereotype by getting out there and trying to change things.

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