How cannabis could be used in green landscaping to improve the environment

Published May 27, 2019 01:09 p.m. ET
Credit: Bulat Silvia

Once upon a time, it was not uncommon to find growing marijuana plants in ditches and local forested areas. Now any wild version of the cannabis species has been nearly eradicated, and that’s not great news for a planet that is currently facing environmental changes thanks to global warming. If you didn’t know, global warming is exacerbated by our contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere, which slowly raises the earth’s temperatures.

Cannabis plants are notorious for their ability to cleanse the air by consuming substantial amounts of the harmful CO2 from the air. Hemp has similar capabilities and until recently remained just as prohibited.  Now that growing marijuana is legal, and we are aware of the incredible benefits that the environment would gain from reintroducing the cannabis species to the wild, it’s a regulated mind-altering plant, and so we don’t want kids getting their hands on them. Luckily, there are several other safer and more effective ways that cannabis flower could be used to improve upon the visual aspect of a landscape, while also positively contributing to the environment.

1. Farmscrapers

Massive multiple story farmscrapers would be an excellent way to incorporate cannabis flower into the landscaping projects of any big city. These buildings are essentially larger scale greenhouses that could comfortably house thousands of growing marijuana plants. Farmscrapers are one of the most energy efficient ways to produce cannabis flower indoors since the sun naturally lights and warms the rooms, and the building itself can be equipped with a rainwater recycling distribution system that could minimize the need for careers needed for the facility.

2. Urban agriculture (rooftop gardens)

Another great way to use cannabis flower in the design of urban areas like cities is by growing these plants on converted rooftops. This is a costly endeavor, but one that is easy to incorporate into the design of a new building. Rooftops are leveled, protected, and equipped with nutrient rich soil beds that can support hundreds of plants in what would have once been completely wasted space. One of the biggest perks to growing marijuana on your roof is that it will naturally shade and cool the building underneath, resulting in an energy saving that is worth the initial investment.

3. Vertical gardens

Those who have prior experience growing marijuana plants know that the species is hardy and relatively easy to manipulate. Many different growing methods like SCROG are proof of this as the plants must be trimmed and reach in a sometimes-unnatural way. Vertical gardens are just like any other soil plot; the difference is that they are erected and stand upwards. This gives them the ability to take up less space and grow up to ten times more growth than a standard garden alone. Though some vertical gardens would reach the ground, the cannabis flowers could be placed along the higher edges where they would be unreachable to the general public.

4. Green walls

Have you ever seen a house that is overrun with bright green vine growth that entirely covers the bricks? Though it might be beautiful, unfortunately, those homes are often destroyed by the presence of the spreading plant system. Luckily there are a select few who decided to tackle this issue firsthand, and they have designed entirely safe buildings with walls that are meant to act as flower beds. Just like the rooftop gardens, green walls can dramatically lower your energy use for both cooling and heating as its shaded in the hottest parts of summer, and heavily insulated against the harsh realities of winter. Though this design might be slightly more expensive to start with, their structural integrity goes far beyond any of the typical buildings being built today, which means that they will last longer.

5. Adult only spaces like marijuana dispensaries

Since most public spaces might not want to include growing marijuana on their list of a preferred garden this year for public safety reasons, many businesses and establishments are well equipped to handle such a challenge. Vape lounges, bars, and marijuana dispensaries would all greatly benefit from the introduction of a real thriving cannabis flower garden that patrons could stroll through and enjoy while consuming whatever products are on hand. These areas could be sectioned off and beautified with other colorful additions that would draw crowds while benefiting the local environment.

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