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The Environmental Impact Of Washington’s Cannabis Rules

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world earth washington state environmental impact marijuana cannabisAll marijuana growers and consumers should desire to be good stewards to the earth in my opinion, at least in regards to the marijuana they grow or consume. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves about drug cartels growing marijuana – they destroy the forests that they grow their marijuana in, and non-cartel marijuana growers often get blamed for it by marijuana prohibitionists. All marijuana growers and consumers should consider the carbon footprint that is involved with growing marijuana, and should try to use sustainable practices as much as possible. Below is a press release that I received from the Okanogan Cannabis Association in regards to the environmental impact of Washington State’s proposed cannabis  industry. I’m not exactly sure how accurate it is since I don’t see any outside links, however I felt it was still important to post it for discussion and debate. Please post your comments and thoughts in the comments section:

The Washington State Liquor Control Board’s decision to allow cannabis to be grown outdoors under the sun will lead to the greatest reduction in electrical use and associated carbon emissions our state is likely to see over the next five years.  Washington State currently relies heavily on indoor cannabis production which is estimated to consume 3-5% of the state electrical grid power.  As the economics of production move producers toward sun growing under a legal framework we are likely to see a corresponding reduction in electrical use and a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions given that about one third of Washington state’s power is produced from carbon based fuels.  Increased electrical demand on the power grid from cannabis production increases electrical demand and prices, which amounts to a “marijuana tax” that all utility payers currently pay.  Transferring cannabis production to the outdoors will significantly reduce the states electrical consumption and should lead to a reduction in cost to electrical ratepayers across the state.

President Obama, as part of his climate strategy, should propose legalizing cannabis nationally to significantly reduce electrical consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions.  Peer reviewed research conducted by Dr. Evan Mill’s and published in the Journal of Energy Policy estimated that 1% of the nations power is used for cannabis production.  Valued at 6 billion dollars annually it is enough electricity to power 2 million average US homes.  In terms of carbon dioxide emissions, indoor cannabis production is associated with producing 15 million metric tons of CO2- equivalent to that of 3 million average cars on the road.     Federal legalization of cannabis would move cannabis production from energy intensive indoor methods developed to avoid detection by authorities to sustainable, low cost methods using the sun as the primary energy source.  Legalization presents the greatest opportunity to reduce our country’s electrical consumption and association carbon emissions.  This is the single greatest justification for legalizing cannabis at the federal level, and should be seriously considered as part of the US energy policy strategy focused at reducing carbon emissions.

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Johnny Green

1 Comment

  1. I’m not sure I agree, but in principle it sounds good. Simply allowing outdoor grows doesn’t mean it will happen. I don’t believe all growers will take advantage of the sun, because the other variables that come along with growing outdoors, such as weather and pests. There just isn’t the control that is accomplished with indoor grows under artificial light, with controlled temperature, nutrients, timing and more, not to mention security. While I’d like to think that cannabis growers will be more conscious of their carbon footprint, they still must remain profitable. I really hope I’m wrong.

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