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Is the Marijuana Industry Green Enough?

A trip to the Emerald Cup, an outdoor organic marijuana growers' competition, reveals the environmental potential of the cannabis industry.

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The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who ran the Zip-tie cannabis permitting program told me that getting former black-market farmers together to form a business plan is “like herding cats.” Those cats are going to have to herd themselves, and soon, if the outdoor/organic farming side of the coming legal cannabis industry is going to stake its claim and ensure that a high volume, energy-intensive indoor cultivation model isn't just assumed to be the default one. 

It's a small planet, and the EGA’s Balogh says that cultivators of America’s number-one crop have to prepare now to take advantage of the legalization free-for-all and emerge as the world’s number-one sustainable crop. “We don’t have a choice with this,” he says. “We have to get it right.”

(All photographs in this article -- credit to author Doug Fine)

Doug Fine is the author of Farewell, My Subaru and Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, as well as a forthcoming book about hemp. His weekly column covers cannabis stories from around the planet. His work is available at dougfine.com. Follow him on Twitter.