Cannabis prohibition has been a disaster for the American economy, the American people and the environment in general. Now with legalization making gains across North America, a collective of marijuana farmers from California's legendary Humboldt County hope that their brand of cannabis strains called Humboldt's Finest will set the bar high for the industry's ecological standards.

“Our vision is to produce the world’s finest cannabis, while protecting the environment and culture of Humboldt County,” Joseph Shepp -- CEO of Humboldt's Finest -- said in a press release.

He added that moving grow ops back outdoors will be key to reducing the industry's negative impact on the environment. 

“As the demand for cannabis grows, the industry needs to meet that demand with sun-grown cannabis to reduce the load on the electrical grid and the resulting carbon emissions. At Humboldt’s Finest, all of our products are sun-grown because it’s sustainable and our patients prefer cannabis grown by the natural sun.”

And cannabis is up for the challenge of roughing it outside. After all, the hearty plant grows naturally in some of the most inhospitable regions of the world -- including Mongolia and Siberia, where cannabis originated thousands of years ago. Nowadays it can grow wild in all 50 states -- including the chilly climate and short grow season in Alaska.

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So in terms of production, there was never any need to bring the industry inside. It was prohibition that forced growers to hide their crops from the prying eyes of drug-enforcement agents. And to keep themselves off the grid, a lot of clandestine grow-ops have resorted to using diesel fuel to generate electricity. According to a 2015 article published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, indoor grow-ops produce approximately 15 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions each year -- the equivalent of three million American cars. And cultivating one kilogram of marijuana can produce roughly the same amount of emissions as driving across America five times.

But the problem can't be solved by simply moving grow-ops outside. Right now, illegal outdoor cultivators are threatening the environment by using pesticides and diverting water supplies that are crucial to vulnerable ecosystems and the endangered species living in them. 

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Those conditions have made the black market an environmentally dangerous industry. That's why the collective of Humboldt farmers who have been growing cannabis outside since 1996 -- when the state legalized medical marijuana -- are trying to set a new standard with their sun-grown and rain-grown cannabis. Meaning crops are not only grown outside but watered with storm runoff so that their plants don't devastate local watersheds.

To find out more about the collective and their approach to cannabis cultivation, check out their website here.

Banner image: humboldtfinestfarms.com