The Department of Health and Environment in Denver, Colorado, is studying marijuana’s ecological footprint. Colorado Public Radio reported that researchers are conducting the studies not because the citizens of Colorado are releasing too much weed smoke into the air, but because they want to how the marijuana crop affects the environment.
An environment consultant with CPDHE, Katilin Urso, said that Colorado is not adhering to the ozone standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Ozone is a type of gas made of oxygen atoms, and it is hazardous in the atmosphere. In Colorado, ozone gas is rated as the highest pollutant, and this prompted the researchers to probe into what is contributing to excess emission of the ozone gas.
When Kyle Clark spoke to Urso, she said that the reason why the researchers are looking at the marijuana plant is that it produces terpenes (volatile organic compounds), which give the plant its unique scent.
When terpenes mix with other air pollutants and the sun, they add to the dangerous ozone layers which can make the air unfit for people to breathe.
According to Urso, the question most researchers are attempting to answer is the extent to which the marijuana sector is adding to the increases in the damage to the ozone layer. Moreover, how much terpenes are released into the atmosphere for each pound of marijuana grown? Also, they want to identify ways to develop environmental-friendly practices to be adopted by the marijuana industry.
Urso said the reason they are studying marijuana is that it is one of the many plants that emit volatile organic compounds in the environment. They are studying cannabis because of zoning and regulations, citing that the Denver metro area has the highest level of pollution and population, and is also where most marijuana legal growers are located. The marijuana industry and the growers are cooperating with the state in terms of data collection.
The Department of Health in Colorado’s primary purpose of this study is to determine the specific components being released into the air by the marijuana plant. This is because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to quantify the effect of marijuana on the environment in the legalized states.
Morgan Fox says that he has been aware of the research which started in 2018 and is to end in September 2019 with the findings being released the coming summer. He says that he supports the study, although he does not know precisely how marijuana is contributing to the ozone depletion problem. To contribute positively to the environment, as an industry, they have adopted better lighting and planting techniques. They have also introduced a recycling system where customers can recycle the packaging through proper sanitization.
In 2011, the Department of Health conducted similar research on beer craft industries. Although they were causing much damage to the environment, the department suggested more efficient ways such as recycling bags used in production. They also warned against spilling beer during packaging because it releases ethanol upon evaporation, which is bad for the environment.
Analysts expect industry players like Earth Science Tech Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) and Geyser Brands Inc. (TSX.V: GYSR) to eagerly await the findings of this research since more light would be shed on an aspect of the marijuana industry that hadn’t been scientifically investigated.
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