Tantalus Labs always strives to be a transparent company. We grow at SunLab¹, the first commercial-scale cannabis greenhouse in North America. Since our inception in 2012, we’ve shared detailed information about our methodologies, unique growing processes and the resulting reduced environmental impact. This commitment to transparency is why we feel it’s important to clear this up on the outset – what you’re reading here is an advertorial. We’re paying to get this message to you because we think it’s a message worth paying for. All cannabis is green, but the way it’s grown may not be. Our newly legalized cannabis industry may grow at the expense of the environment, and in our opinion, to honour the plant we must honour the planet.
A brief history of B.C.’s cannabis industry
During the ’70s, conscientious objectors moved north to escape the Vietnam War. They found fertile soil – lots of it – and started planting seeds. The microclimates found in B.C. proved challenging for the plant, and those challenges produced some of the world-renowned cultivars we celebrate today.
The illegality of it all caught up to those early growers, and they were forced underground. This is where cultivators got really, really good at growing cannabis indoors, hidden from prying eyes, but also hidden from the natural resources – the sun, fresh air and free-falling rainwater – that make for a low-impact, high-quality final product.
Now we stand in a legal and open cannabis market. But that happened, like, yesterday, so many of the industry’s cultivation best practices were developed during a period where growing cannabis was illegal. The problem is, many of these best practices required incredible amounts of energy to keep them hidden. And as a result, most didn’t have the luxury of taking into account the impact on the environment or sustainability as a whole.
Dan Sutton and Tantalus Labs took a different approach. They reached out to horticulture experts, greenhouse designers and engineers who engage in traditional agriculture to help find a new path. SunLab¹ is the result of combining the best of legal and well-established agricultural industries with the science and history of B.C. cannabis.
Creating a high-quality product doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. Here is everything unique about SunLab¹ and how it proves plant health and consistency of products don’t need to carry an environmental cost:
Sungrown - One of the biggest electrical drains found in underground cannabis cultivation is lighting. Not just the actual light systems the plants need to grow, but also the cooling systems to keep the plants at the optimal temperature. By using the sun, cannabis can grow with up to 90 per cent less electricity. Additionally, the quality of light is important. There have been strides in lighting technology, but nothing has yet to compare to the availability and quality of light produced by the sun.
During the shoulder seasons and winter months, when the duration of natural light contracts due to shorter days, we leverage supplemental lighting in mornings and evenings to ensure the plants receive all they need in order to grow healthy.
Recaptured Rainwater - SunLab¹ is located in the Fraser Valley, an area of the world with ample rainwater that can be used for irrigation. The roof of SunLab¹ captures the rain and it’s then triple filtered and drip-line fed with necessary nutrients to each plant. We are fortunate to irrigate our plants with water that’s never been touched by chlorine or fluoride – it’s cleaner than bottled water.
Mould and Pest Control - We use zero pesticides at all stages of the plants' life cycle. Instead, we focus on air flow and a clean environment to keep the plants safe. SunLab has a large fan infrastructure that pulls fresh air across our plants. This provides the plants with the inputs needed for photosynthesis, but also by constantly refreshing the air, we reduce the risk of mould and infestation.
As we stand on this rich B.C. soil, looking toward the bright future of our now legalized industry, we can’t help but wonder how the industry will evolve. Creating new best practices that adapt and grow with us will help us set the standard for what we can achieve with as little impact as possible. How can we enjoy the fruits of our labour if it’s at the cost of our environment – the very thing that nurtured the seedlings in the early days of B.C. cannabis? For us, growing green is non-negotiable in the growing game.