As readers of this blog well know, the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing and most regulated industries in the United States. Rapid growth, in sales and in States allowing cannabis use, creates dynamic regulatory challenges, and unprecedented opportunity for environmental sustainability leadership. Recognizing this, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) has released a detailed report on the topic: Environmental Sustainability in the Cannabis Industry: Impacts, Best Management Practices, and Policy Considerations

“The cannabis industry has the opportunity to be a trailblazer in environmental sustainability, but unfortunately is being held back by lack of knowledge, unnecessary regulations, and onerous financial burdens, which encourage the continued existence of unregulated markets, and make it difficult for regulated businesses to implement the practices and technology they would like to use,” said Aaron Smith, co-founder and CEO of the NCIA. “We hope cannabis businesses and regulators will work together using this report to make our industry the environmentally responsible example for other industries to follow.”

“Some of the challenges facing the cannabis industry present opportunities to implement environmentally sustainable practices. Companies that focus on sustainable practices reduce their resource dependence and associated costs, positioning them to outperform competitors in the long-term. NCIA suggests that standard-setting bodies, self-regulatory organizations, and government regulators take note, and create workable standards with supporting resources to set the cannabis industry apart as a leader in environmental sustainability,” the report reads.

“A successful, socially responsible cannabis industry will require best practices for environmental sustainability. This paper is a vital first step in that effort,” said Kaitlin Urso, lead author of the report, and executive project and engagement manager for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “The NCIA paper on environmental sustainability is going to inform how we approach important questions related to the future of the cannabis industry.”

The report is a collective effort produced by NCIA’s Policy Council with the assistance of national experts from both the private and public sectors, across a variety of disciplines.