Indoor Cultivation Makes Pot a Climate-Changing Habit, Study Finds

Marijuana is far from an environmentally green crop, according to a new study that says indoor pot production results in “prodigious” greenhouse gas pollution.

As The New York Times reports, marijuana is considered the largest cash crop in the U.S. with an annual production value estimated at about $40 billion. A significant portion of the crop is grown out-of-sight of law enforcement indoors, where growers use high-intensity lighting that is 500 times more powerful than a standard reading lamp.

In a new research paper, Evan Mills, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, analyzes the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis cultivation. He writes that it consumes $5 billion in electricity, enough to power 2 million average-sized U.S. homes. What’s more, he says, a single cannabis cigarette has the same greenhouse gas impact as driving 15 miles in a 44 miles per gallon car or running a 100-watt light bulb for 30 hours on the California electricity grid.

“Current indoor cannabis production and distribution practices result in prodigious energy use, costs, and greenhouse-gas pollution,” concluded Mills, who said he conducted the study on his own time, without federal funds.

Marijuana production has raised other environmental concerns. The Bay Citizen, a San Francisco publication, reported last year on the risk of pot being tainted with pesticides used by growers. Even though 17 states allow growing pot for medical purposes, marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law and U.S. regulatory agencies do not supervise how it is grown or monitor the pesticides used in its cultivation.

Mills, a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, compiled his data in part from interviews with horticultural equipment retailers. He notes that marijuana growers often raise indoor carbon dioxide levels to four-times natural levels to boost plant growth.

The Greentech website suggests pot cultivation’s carbon footprint could be reduced by replacing metal halide and high-pressure sodium lights with more energy-efficient solid-state LED lighting.

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3 comments to “Indoor Cultivation Makes Pot a Climate-Changing Habit, Study Finds”

  1. DJ Smokestackkk

    REEFER MADNESS PRORAGANDA!!! Sounds like bullshit to me

  2. mini greenhouse

    “In a new research paper, Evan Mills, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, analyzes the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis cultivation. He writes that it consumes $5 billion in electricity, enough to power 2 million average-sized U.S. homes.” – What a staggering statistic. Does this say more about the volume of cannabis produced than the actual carbon footprint per unit i wonder.

  3. DontLietoME

    So what you are saying is that Cannabis, and all green plants for that matter, thrive in a Carbon Dioxide rich environment? Then why arent you advocating to use the Sun? Oh, wait, that would require admitting that growing Cannabis should not be a crime so more people who choose to use the safest most theraputively active substance known to man would be able to grow it outdoors. And if you think that Medical Cannabis growers use pesticides you are sorely mistaken, only the most greedy, profit driven providers would stupe so low as to contaminate their medicine with harmful chemicals but wholly illicit producers, like, oh, say Mexican drug cartels would have no problem using what ever would make them more money. So again you should be advocating for legalization in the USofA, where more people would understand that quality is more important to sustainable business practices than profit.
    Natural unadulterated Cannabis is NON-Toxic. GREEN plants use Carbon (Dioxide) emmisions to produce OXYGEN emmisions. Taxing CO2 is a crime against GREEN NATURE, and HUMANITY!
    DON’T LIE TO ME.

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