If you’re immersed in the cannabis industry, directly or vicariously, then you probably know it takes a massive amount of energy and fossil fuel to produce the precious buds in your bowl. Indoor growing has become the norm since marijuana was outlawed in the early 1900’s. But growing indoors comes with many caveats at the expense of our environment because these urban farmers are forced to create an artificial ecosystem. Between energy-draining lights and artificial environmental controls such as A/C, fans, and dehumidifiers, it’s very hard to grow sustainably indoors. In 2012, before full recreational legalization in Washington and Colorado, a study showed that indoor cannabis operations accounted for 1% of the entire country’s electricity consumption. That 1% of electricity use is equivalent to about $6 billion per year — compare that to the pharmaceutical industry’s mere $1 billion in energy costs. And just imagine how those numbers have hiked since those states have legalized cannabis cultivation.
Now that growers are very aware that marijuana is not so green, what are they going to do about it?
Meet Deschutes Growery — A team of four friends, dedicated to shifting the stigma of indoor growing to one of sustainability and progress.
This unique growery was kind enough to invite Marijuana.com to come and tour their facilities in Bend, Oregon.
As my partner and I pull into a complex of unsuspecting warehouses, we notice one with 5 or 6 Fiskar-wielding guys out front — it’s harvest time at Deschutes Growery. As we approach the door, we are bombarded with the unmistakable smell of Girl Scout Cookie funk. Then we spot the source; four tables pushed together to create one large surface covered inch by inch in Deschutes Growery’s flagship strain, Cookie Wreck. The Growery hunted this balanced combination of Girl Scout Cookies and Arcata Trainwreck from seed four years ago, and have perfected its cultivation ever since.
Sorry, I got distracted reminiscing on that Cookie Wreck aroma, back to energy-efficiency… You’re probably wondering what makes Deschutes Growery stand out in the realm of eco-friendly cannabis production. Well, as you’re reading this, the team at Deschutes Growery is putting the finishing touches on their roof of solar panels, making this Bend grow operation the first solar-powered growery in Central Oregon. Their warehouse is equipped with 180 x 300-watt panels that pump out 56 kilowatts per hour. The solar growery plans to offset 16-23% of their overall energy usage with this sustainable move to solar power.
In addition to this step toward sustainability, Deschutes Growery prides themselves on their Clean Green Certification — an alternative to the federally regulated “organic” certification. This solar-powered growery is dedicated to cultivating the finest, organic cannabis and was the first Clean Green Certified operation in Central Oregon. This certification translates their commitment to eco-responsibility into something tangible. On top of the solar panels, Deschutes Growery’s use of organic cultivation methods, companion plants, energy-efficient LEDs, and fair trade practices granted them the Clean Green stamp of approval.
Deschutes Growery is also in the process of transitioning their flower rooms from traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights to LED lights. Halfway through the LED switch, the grower has already reduced their electricity usage by a third. Not only do the Deschutes growers love the energy benefits, but they have noticed the quality and potency of the final product is far superior to what they were harvesting under HPS lights.
Deschutes Growery prides themselves on producing clean, organic, and sustainable medicine for the patients of Oregon. But they also strive to provide the highest quality genetics on the market. Rather than growing from clone, they work directly with breeders to phenohunt through seeds — seeking the newest, most unique, and most potent varieties. Their most recent discovery, which they coined Gummy Bear OG, is a cross of Indiana Bubblegum and Bear OG from Karma Genetics. Finding a winning pheno is a great deal of work — it requires months, sometimes years, of trial and error hunting for that perfect flower. The carefully-selected Gummy Bear OG pheno has a unique zig-zag growth structure, massive trichome production, and an average potency of 22% THC.
Between their elite genetics and organic cultivation methods, Deschutes Growery is the perfect combination of exotic flavor and eco-conscious cannabis.
If you live in or are visiting Oregon, you can stop by any of these shops to try some of Deschutes Growery’s pristine flower.