Indoor cannabis and sustainability don’t typically go hand in hand. According to the report,  “The Marijuana Impact Report” by Northwest High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, cannabis production and processing use 1.63 percent of the state’s electricity. That’s a huge amount for one relatively small industry. Some estimates put that percentage much higher. 

Photos courtesy of Burnwell

Burnwell Makes Green Green

Burnwell is looking to change that with their revolutionary style of indoor growing. 

Justin Tacy and brothers Brandon and Ryan Woodland started Burnwell in 2014. Ryan and Justin are longtime friends. 

Tacy was more than happy to talk about Burnwell’s growing methods with The Sesh.

“Burnwell uses an indoor growing method – meaning we have the environmental controls of a traditional indoor garden like temperature, humidity, Co2, airflow, etc. – but we enhance the garden with full-spectrum natural sunlight,” Tacy explains. “To combine and indoor grow with natural sunlight, we had to design our buildings from scratch.” 

The buildings Burnwell custom-designed have three-layer polycarbonate roofs. The rooftops let in over 90% of the sun’s UV rays into the garden without using glass. Tacy explained that glass has lots of drawbacks, including creating shadows and not allowing year-round grows. The polycarbonate rooftops allow year-round harvests and provide consistency and uniformity of light that rivals indoor grow lights. 

In addition to the greenhouse rooftops, their buildings in Pullman use the property’s own spring water which is filtered onsite. The plants are grown with organically certified fertilizers and beneficial insects for pest control. 

And the commitment to sustainability doesn’t end at production. Burnwell uses biodegradable or reusable packaging for every possible product it puts out. 

Burnwell’s Beginnings

What drew this trio to create such an eco-friendly, cannabis grow? Tacy credits his “bluegrass hippie” culture with cultivating a passion for sustainability. Brandon, on the other hand, worked as a crop pollinator and saw the effects climate change was having on farmers and their crops first-hand. 

Ryan and Justin had been around the cannabis industry for most of their lives. Brandon brought agriculture and technology expertise to the team, and it was his vision to bring advanced greenhouse technology to cannabis. 

But the founders are insistent not to make the story about them.

When we established the Burnwell brand and the related customer promise of being the most sustainable cannabis company in the world,” Tacy told The Sesh. “We decided to let the brand stand on its own merits. This meant that our personal stories needed to take a back seat to our brand story. We wanted to build a company that outlived our roles as founders and outshines our personalities as interesting as they might be.”

Changing The Industry

Tacy hopes that their commitment to sustainability, and their radical way of growing indoor cannabis, won’t stop with Burnwell. Currently, Burnwell is the first cannabis producer in Washington to use this advanced greenhouse technology. Part of the  Burnwell founders’ goal wasn’t just to bring sustainability to their grow but to lead cannabis in a more green direction. 

“We knew that technology would radically alter the cannabis market – from how cannabis is grown, to how it’s processed and packaged, to how people learn and purchase,” Tacy said. “For us, advanced technology in growing methods created a path to bring our brand to life as a leader in environmental cultivation.”

Photos courtesy of Burnwell

Tacy thinks there’s no reason, aside from the front-end costs, that everyone in cannabis isn’t using this greenhouse technology. It provides all of the control and quality of growing indoors with a fraction of the carbon footprint. And that is at the heart of what Burnwell does. 

“For us, that difference is our end-to-end focus on cultivating and packaging high-quality cannabis but with the lowest carbon footprint possible,” Tacy concluded.

Justin Tacy and brothers Brandon and Ryan Woodland are showing the Washington cannabis industry that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to be eco-friendly. Their utilization of technology allows them to have the best of both worlds. And the best for our world. Everybody wins.