The Cannabis Industry Should Lead ESG Adoption

This article By Robert Hoban was originally published on Forbes and appears here with permission.

Last year reminded many folks about the vital importance of integrating social, environmental, and corporate governance (ESG) principles into business. Simply put, to not do so is to be left behind. The cannabis industry is uniquely connected to these issues because of the historical criminalization and propaganda-driven stigma surrounding the plant, which has disproportionately affected underprivileged populations.   

Cannabis has long been known to be a potential answer to many environmental challenges. In 1985, Jack Herer published his revolutionary manifesto: The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Mr. Herer lit the torch that much of the hemp movement in the U.S. carried until the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. He postulated that hemp is the only annually renewable natural resource capable of providing the majority of the world's paper, textile, transportation, and energy needs while reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil, and cleaning the atmosphere. Attending the 2021 NoCo Hemp Expo in Denver, CO this past weekend, these ideas are fully coming to fruition in the backdrop of a growing carbon economy.

Now, with the Biden Administration’s policies driving ESG principles forward and the investment world maniacally focused on them, they’re no longer optional for the cannabis industry, but guiding tenets. ESG refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company. These criteria help better determine the future financial performance of businesses and help “qualify” them for investment, acquisition, aggregation, or the like.  

According to a …

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