Hawaiian Ethos Medical Cannabis Shares Sustainable Practices

August 8, 2019, 9:54 AM HST (Updated August 8, 2019, 9:54 AM)
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One of just two licensed medical cannabis growers and distributors on Hawai‘i Island, Hawaiian Ethos’ vision is to create an example for the world that shows sustainable growing practices are better for patients, the Earth and the medicine, according to an Aug. 8, 2019, press release from the company.

“In Hawaiʻi, natural light is an abundant resource, so we designed our cultivation facility to harness as much of it as possible,” said Diana Hahn, Hawaiian Ethos communications director.

Using the sun allows Ethos to significantly cut down on artificial lighting, one of the biggest energy expenditures in the cultivation of indoor cannabis.

PC: Hawaiian Ethos

Sunlight in Hawai‘i is unique, both in its intensity and spectrum, the company said.

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Because Hawai‘i is near the equator, the sun’s rays are a lot stronger than in other places.

For example, Hawai‘i is exposed to more UV than anywhere else in the US—routinely at 9 to10 on the UV index. UV light has been shown to increase cannabinoid production in plants—specifically THCA. UV can also lower bacterial and fungal populations, which keeps plants clean.

“All medical cannabis sold on the island has to be grown locally and all Hawaiian Ethos cannabis is sun-grown,” said Hahn.

Growing with the sun reduces the carbon footprint of Ethos’ operation substantially as artificial lighting also requires extra cooling. The structure and orientation of Ethos’ cultivation facility lets in high-elevation sunlight via efficient light-transmitting panels, allowing diffuse, broad spectrum sunlight to shine down on the plants.

By growing with sunlight as the primary energy source, Ethos uses 1.3M less KwH and saves over $650,000 per year compared traditional indoor growing methods.

“We’ve also seen that sun-grown cannabis has more ‘character,’” said Hahn. “Unique traits in the structure of the flower as well as its cannabinoid and terpene profile are enhanced by the wide spectrum light provided by the sun.”

Along with using the sunlight, Hawaiian Ethos is also the first dispensary in the state to introduce recyclable, compostable packaging. Rather than plastic, Ethos uses childproof cardboard boxes to meet state requirements for the majority of its products. Even the resealable inner sleeves used to keep flower fresh are compostable.

“Hawaiian Ethos strives to produce the best medicine, in order to maximize the impact we make in the lives of patients and minimize the impact we make on the earth,” added Hahn.

Hawaiian Ethos’ first dispensary is located on Olowalu Street in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. the dispensary is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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