The pervasive vegan ideology has enveloped one of America’s fastest-growing industries: Cannabis cultivation.
A new subgenre of weed farming, , is apparently growing in popularity among more committed vegan stoners.
These aspirational agriculturists commit to using fertilizers free from animal products. They then market the marijuana as cruelty-free, and higher quality than more murderous alternatives.
The rub for vegans is that many organic fertilizers use discarded blood and bone from slaughterhouses, thus making them complicit in the interspecies holocaust known as factory farming.
It’s worth noting that many top advocates for veganic growing have a direct financial incentive to promote this method. The aptly named Kyle Kushman (really?) helped found the movement and sells Vegamatrix, a popular plant-based nutrient system.
It looks like great stuff, and I hope that Kushman’s business does well. I’ve noticed that entrepreneurs cherry-pick scientific and market research to construct an ironclad confirmation bias system around their work, though.
“The flavors are much more prominent,” Kushman says. “You can taste the terpene profile much more because you’re not also tasting metals.”
These are not the words of a scientist. They are passion-driven marketing claims from a hippy with a business to run. Where are your double-blind consumer trials, Mr. Kushman????
“If a slaughterhouse follows organic practices and only kills pasture-raised, organic cows without antibiotics, there is no reason not to use their byproducts for good. “
Veganic products are not better or worse than animal-containing organic products. We should all ditch chemical synthetic fertilizers. I’d just rather use organic products that also upcycle slaughterhouse waste.
Cruelty-free but wasteful
Vegan might be cruelty-free, but it’s also wasteful in this context.
Slaughterhouses produce waste products that can’t go into food, including blood and bones. Farmers only options are to let these rot somewhere or to sell them to other folks who will put these resources back into the ecosystem.
What alternatives do vegans suggest? Dump all that stuff in a hole? Let it run into the river? Maybe you could throw handfuls of it on people’s fur coats.
Factory farming is horrible, but we need to eat meat. Most humans are healthiest with meat in their diet. We should change to natural farming practice
If a slaughterhouse follows organic practices and only kills pasture-raised cows without antibiotics, there is no reason not to use their byproducts for good.
It’s important to be pragmatic about this. People eat meat, and there’s no sign that will stop in our lifetimes. It’s better for us to create a circular economy where we help others reduce waste and maximize benefits.
All weed farming — all farming period — should be organic. Preferably we should replace our plumbing with compost toilets and use our own waste to fertilize the weed plants. Every change we make to agriculture should move us closer to a fully circular ecosystem where nothing is wasted.
People who want animal-free products should absolutely go that route. It’s your life. Do you, boo.
But nothing is ever as simple as people want it to be. We can’t just wish away the meat industry. Buying veganic weed fertilizer doesn’t create long-term alternatives that function on a mass scale.
People try too often to legitimize their own choices by convincing others to adopt them as well.
Their insecurity makes them feel that if anyone disagrees with their philosophy it’s somehow weak or invalid. Getting other people on board the vegan train makes them feel better about the work they’ve put into their lifestyle.
The main questions on our mind when considering veganic, or any other specialized farming practices, should be how effective it is.
Does veganic work?
Not really, it seems.
Veganic advocates say that the weed burns cleaner and tastes better without those horrid chemical products and cruelty particles in it. I sense confirmation bias at work.
Dr. Robert Flannery, the only guy with a Ph.D. in weed farming, disagrees with the veganic evangelists. Based on his research, he says that plants only extract the nutrients they need from fertilizers.
“This means that regardless of whether I use an organic fertilizer, a veganic fertilizer, or a mineral nutrient to fertilize my plants, the plant is only going to absorb mineral nutrients,” Flannery said.
Evolutionarily speaking, this makes sense. A plant that absorbs unnecessary or harmful materials will not live long to pass on its genetics. Cannabis is an amazing plant, and only uses what it needs to produce its amazing flowers.
But according to Flannery and my friends in the weed business, veggie-based fertilizers don’t improve the quality of the weed. They actually make it harder to grow and reduce yield sizes.
Synthetic fertilizers are the main problem. They’re full of heavy metals and other junk plants leave behind after extracting their nutrients.
Organic fertilizer with animal stuff in it is a better option. It leaves behind no junk, upcycles slaughterhouse waste, and gives your plants the nutrients they need.
This type of question is often missing from vegan discussions. People usually stick with moral and emotional arguments. The vegan viewpoint often fails to withstand science and logic.
That said, I believe the vegans provide important skepticism toward conventional food practices. It’s important to question everything we do. Passionate folks in the vegan community do a great job of making us contemplate our food on a deeper level.
The value of virtue
In my experience, though, the vegan diet is not the healthiest option. In a lot of ways, veganism is more about virtue signaling than about taking the best way to fix your health and the environment.
That’s especially the case when people use veganism as a point of differentiation to sell their products. Studies show that modern consumers are attracted to brands that align with their values.
Many vegans are also interested in cannabis and farming. This creates a perfect market niche for vegan weed fertilizer. Signal those virtues and get that money, Mr. Kushman.
We can’t forget how lucky we are to live in a country where we have so many options for marijuana fertilizers. Some people are still out there smoking shitty brick weed while we have this entirely unnecessary debate.
At SnakTak, we always ask whether or not a product or idea will increase global happiness. Vegan weed gets our first neutral rating.
For some people, vegans mostly, this will enhance the cannabis experience. The knowledge that there’s no animal in your Animal Cookies is a huge bonus IF that’s an important value to you.
For most people, though, this one more in a long line of vegan alternatives that are not improved by removing the animal products. I will not make any concerted effort to seek out veganically grown bud.
However, if you grow weed at home and want to ensure 0% cruelty content, here’s a good-looking starter kit from Vegamatrix: