Can the Green Rush Save Our Oceans?

Let these ocean facts sink in:

Eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean annually. There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way, killing more than one million seabirds and marine animals each year.  The main culprit, single-use plastics.  If nothing is done by 2050, plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish.

One company is taking a stand and has made a commitment to saving the Big Blue by truly “going green”.  In the new age of cannabis compliance, child-resistant packaging has amassed an uptick in single-use plastic packaging.  Because virgin single-use plastic is much less expensive to manufacture, most cannabis brands opt for the most cost effective solution regardless of its environmental impact.  But a new wave of conscious packaging has arrived and Ocean Cannabis Company is leading the pack.

Founders of Ocean Cannabis Company, Mary and Patrick Ersig’s love of the Pacific led them to uproot their lives in Michigan and make the move to Southern California.  The Ersig’s California journey began with their work on LA’s Skid Row, running a homeless shelter called The Jonah Project for seven years.  It was during that time that they discovered the power of cannabis as medicine.  After the unfortunate closure of their facility in 2013, Patrick and Mary left their nonprofit roles to produce a line of cannabis products for medical cannabis patients.

Ocean Cannabis Company’s commitment to sustainability led them to source there cannabis product packaging from 100% reclaimed and recycled ocean plastic. Each purchase of an Ocean Cannabis vape or pre-roll recovers the equivalent of one plastic water bottle from the ocean.  This commitment to saving the oceans doesn’t come without a price. They’re spending more on their product packaging out of social consciousness but their customers will never see those costs. It’s their small part to help clean up the world’s oceans and rid them of plastic. “Smoke the ocean clean” has become their mantra. 

As they began expanding their medical cannabis company into a recreational brand, they knew the ocean would play an integral role within the brand.  At first, it was simply the logo. But Mary and Patrick soon realized that they could use their philanthropic background to create a more socially conscious cannabis brand. Ocean Cannabis Company is a family-run business and today, Mary and Patrick work alongside their adult children.  Together, they have created a world-class brand that builds customer loyalty through social and environmental consciousness and an initiative to clean the ocean.

In 2019, Ocean Cannabis Company recovered 4 tons of plastic from the ocean!  In 2020 their goal is to remove more than 10 tons of plastic from the ocean.  To put things into perspective, compared to one ton of plastic produced from virgin fossil feedstock, producing one ton of recycled plastic saves:

  • 5,774 kilowatt hours of electricity
  • 685 gallons of oil
  • 98 million BTUs of energy
  • 30 cubic yards of landfill space
  • AND reduces emissions by 2 tons of CO2

Imagine the impact if all cannabis brands put more of a focus on sustainability and sourced their packaging from recycled materials.  Imagine a world where we choose to see ocean plastic as a readily available and abundant stranded resource. 

Cannabis is an industry, like many others, where philanthropy is often not only a priority but an effective way to form lasting bonds with the community.  But when it comes to cannabis, giving often becomes a hurdle thanks to federal prohibition and ever-changing regulations.  Ocean Cannabis Company has found a way to navigate these waters by focusing their efforts on sustainability and partnering with organizations that support the cannabis community.

This spring 2020, Ocean Cannabis Company, in partnership with California Waterkeeper and Coastkeeper Organizations, will be leading the charge for a coastal cleanup involving the entire cannabis community.  “Cannabis Cleans the Coast” is an event that will bring the cannabis community together beyond the barriers of brand identity to clean the California Coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara.  All cannabis brands, dispensaries, cultivators, and consumers are invited and encouraged to participate.  As a community we have a responsibility to be part of the solution, not the problem.  Together, we “Cann” make a difference!

Ocean Cannabis Company is doing its part to help reduce plastic in our oceans and set new industry standards for other brands to follow suit.  If you would like to be part of Cannabis Cleans or want to know more ways you can level up your sustainability efforts, please contact Alec Bell at For more information please visit