The legalization of Marijuana is a hot issue today. Many states have approved the use of Medical marijuana, and a few have now allowed limited personal possession, as well as the option to apply for a license to produce and sell. Now that businesses, in approving states, are producing Marijuana, the industry is starting to emerge, and will only continue to grow in years to come. See the graph below:
This is where there is a problem with sustainability. Indoor Marijuana growth is favored in the industry, but it uses an astonishing amount of energy. This article, outlines Gina Warren’s paper, “Regulating Pot to Save the Polar Bear: Energy and Climate Impacts of the Marijuana Industry,” which will be in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, as well as a 2012 Study of the “Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis Production.” Indoor cannabis production “uses $6 billion worth of electricity every year- which is 1% of overall US electricity.” The reason production uses so much energy is because of certain techniques needed to be performed on the plant.
1 kilogram of final product = 4,600 kg Carbon Dioxide emissions
With the industry predicted to boom in the near-future, we cannot afford for it to be increasing our CO emissions. Just think if Marijuana grows 20% like predicted from the graph in the next year, so will CO emissions and it’s not just from indoor production, outdoor production has an effect on the other plants growing in the area- not to mention producers wanting to clear forests and natural lands for production space. Politically we are all divided on the issue of legalizing Marijuana, but one thing that can bring us together is the evident need for implementing environmental protections with regards to Cannabis production. If we are going to make sure that every other industry old and new- in the US is going green then it is only fair we do the same for marijuana. Just think how easy environmental protection laws would be to regulate since the industry is so new, that it has to be regulated anyhow!