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Can The United States Power Grid Keep Up With The Marijuana Industry?

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indoor marijuana gardenI once rented a house for the sole purpose of growing marijuana in it. I had seven 1000 watt lights, a handful of industrial fans, a bunch of box fans, air purifiers, and numerous other grow items that required electricity. My electricity bill was at about $700 per month. At the time I thought that was quite a bill until I met people that have electricity bills in the thousands.

I’ve heard in Colorado there are industrial gardens that have bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t surprise me. I once visited an old airplane hanger in Colorado that was converted into a marijuana garden. They guy that was giving me the tour refused to tell me how much the electricity bill was because he was scared that I would publish it, but assured me that it was insane.

With so many industrial marijuana gardens popping up, and so many home gardens starting all over the country (recreational and medical), that’s a tremendous amount of electricity being used. According to a study from 2011, 1% of the United States’ electricity is used by indoor marijuana gardens. That equates to seven large electrical plants. And since that study was done in 2011, I can guarantee that number is larger and growing everyday. With Colorado and Washington increasing the amount of their industrial gardens soon, and more states looking to legalize, there’s no end in sight to the growing demand for electricity.

What will this do to the nation’s power grid? I read all the time about America’s aging power grid. How long until we see an electrical blackout in Colorado or on the West Coast? Will power companies be able to meet the growing demand in order to avoid a blackout? It’s something that a lot of marijuana growers and consumers don’t think about. I will close with a quote from a grower in Colorado:

“Energy consumption in this business is pretty astronomical,” marijuana business owner John Kocer told CBS Denver. “As this industry expands at its current pace I do believe that we will be a tax on the energy grid: something has to change.”

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