Mac Green's brother died in his arms of a prescription opioid overdose on May 14, 2005, at the age of 22. What was supposed to ease pain from frequent kidney stones ultimately proved to be addictive and lethal, as it increasingly has for hundreds of people in Washington state who die from opioid abuse each year. And yet most of the medical community still looks askance at cannabis, a natural medicine that is neither addictive or lethal.
"You'll challenge authority when you sense foul," says Green, 32. Be it the notion of "medical doctors selling their soul for profit, poisoning our loved ones" or the lack of an "organically, medically driven" healing mission in the local cannabis scene, Green sees room for improvement in the fledgling marijuana industry. "I rarely hear the word 'medicine' here," he says. "I'd love to be a part of the change."
A collaboration with Dr. Philip Appel, founder of Ag Energy Solutions in Spokane, opened that door for Green. Appel, a fifth-generation wheat farmer from Dusty in Whitman County, has patented a process and machine that produces Carbon Logic, two products (developed in partnership with Green, a former medical cannabis grower) that blend biochar (a highly porous charcoal produced from plant matter that is used as a soil amendment in agriculture) with other beneficial nutrients and minerals. Green sees Ag Energy's products as a godsend to not only farmers ("Save the farmer!" is Appel's battle cry, says Green) but specifically cultivators of marijuana and, most urgently, the planet.
"The earth is dying," says Green, now co-founder of and sales director for Green's Farm, a distributor of Ag Energy's products. Food scarcities, rampant abuse of pesticides, unsustainable agricultural practices, global climate change; Green says that Carbon Logic is an answer — rather, the answer — to these urgent problems: "We can confidently say that Carbon Logic products are formulated with the best biochar in the world."
Green claims that it's virtually indistinguishable from the terra preta, or "black soil," developed by Amazonian civilizations more than two millennia ago. The benefits, it seems, are timeless. Carbon Logic biochar, produced southwest of Spokane in Sprague, has a high surface-to-volume ratio (more surface area for water molecules and nutrients to cling to, which plants can more readily absorb, explains Green) and a unique nutritional value, thanks to its use of a wheat stock base (most biochars are wood-based). Its presence in the soil also reduces acidity levels and returns nitrogen much like the practice of field burning once did, before it was outlawed here in 1996. The takeaway? Accelerated root growth and a higher yield, naturally (Green is quick to point out that their product will soon be registered as the only natural biochar fertilizer in the world), for cannabis sativa plants.
Green's earth-conscious enthusiasm, and Appel's ("His passion is why I am passionate about this," says Green), was validated at last December's Emerald Cup in Sonoma County, California, where he launched Green's Farm (a collaboration with his parents) and witnessed firsthand the kind of cannabis community he envisions for Spokane. "They make a point to break bread together," says Green of the locals there. Turning his thoughts to his hometown, he wonders, "How can we do it better?" ♦