Twisted symbiosis: Governor Polis announces new program, to boost sustainability in cannabis and craft beer industries

Twisted symbiosis: Governor Polis announces new program, to boost sustainability in cannabis and craft beer industries

It's a brilliant solution to a twisted pollution problem

VicesJanuary 30, 2020 By Will Brendza

When people think of Colorado there are instantly three things that come to mind: First and foremost, it’s our mountains, the fresh air of the purple Rockies and all that clean adventure space in the High Country. Then, of course, cannabis. And, finally, our craft beer industry. (Not necessarily in that order).

However, both the cannabis and craft beer industries are hard on the environment, and make that fresh air harder to come by. Growing cannabis requires a lot of energy, water and produces pollution. And beer, well, the very fermentation process required to brew those badass boozy beverages emits a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The two of them combined pose one of the greatest environmental challenges that this state faces: How can people enjoy their finest buds and tastiest craft beer beverages, without feeling guilty for supporting the pollution of Colorado’s atmosphere? Is there a way to mesh the two industries in a way that reduces their environmental impact?

Well, in light of the recent announcement from Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the state might actually have a solution to that tricky problem.

On Thursday January 29th, Polis introduced a green and innovative new pilot program, dubbed the Carbon Dioxide Reuse Pilot Project, which aims to increase efficiency and sustainable practices in both cannabis and beer in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), teamed up with Denver Beer Company, Earthly Labs and The Clinic, to come up with this radical blueprint (greenprint?) for a panacea.

The program will capture and store excess carbon dioxide emissions produced by craft beer fermentation. That carbon dioxide will then used later on, by cannabis cultivators who need carbon dioxide to stimulate plant growth. So, Denver Beer will brew their beverages and the carbon that that produces, will be harnessed by Earthly Labs’ system, then The Clinic will take that and use it to make their pot plants happy.

“We are committed to taking the necessary steps to improve our air quality and reduce harmful emissions,” Governor Jared Polis said, on Thursday. “I applaud our state agencies and private partners for working together on these innovative programs to help protect the Colorado way of life.”

Denver Beer estimates that they can produce up to 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this system. And who knows how much cannabis that will go on to stimulate…

It’s a truly brilliant solution and one that will likely set a precedent for other states who want to make cannabis and craft beer sustainable together. It keeps carbon out of the atmosphere, and brings the cannabis and beer industries into a symbiotic relationship. It’s a win-win-win situation.

“Denver Beer Co. is proud to work with The Clinic and Earthly Labs in pioneering this new exchange market. This innovative technology will greatly reduce our carbon emissions and carbon footprint,” Charlie Berger, co-founder of Denver Beer Co, said in a press release. “At Denver Beer Co., we believe in the importance of environmental stewardship. We have one planet and we believe it is our corporate and social responsibility to help conserve and protect our resources.”

The pilot will work with local electric cooperatives, five municipal utilities and 15 licensed cannabis cultivation businesses in Denver. And the companies involved think that there is a huge potential for carbon sequestration here.

“Earthly Labs’ vision is to capture and avoid 1 billion metric tons of CO2,” CEO of Earthly Labs, Amy George, said at the press conference. “The State of Colorado is leading the charge in the country to promote small scale carbon capture investment to meet their 2030 goals. We are thrilled to help these industry pioneers reduce costs, drive innovation, and improve the quality of life in Colorado.”

This program could reconcile the great outdoors with cannabis and craft beer, bringing the three into a near-perfect Colorado harmony. These are the kinds of solutions that could help preserve our planet – with beer and pot.

Why not?