Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (Republican-Georgia) and Doug Lambourne (Republican-Colorado) attempted to portray cannabis as an environmentally unfriendly plant, stats from several studies, including those from over a decade ago. and debate about increasing competition for energy and how cannabis plants use large amounts of electricity and water compared to other crops.
“The prioritization of power use and the demand for improved energy efficiency are of growing concern to the American public,” the letter said. “It is imperative that the public understands the strain marijuana cultivation has on the grid and the environment.”
The letter contained a number of troubling statistics, some of which appeared to be based on outdated growth technology. , which doesn’t add up at all considering a home refrigerator uses 100-250 watts of power (according to a cursory Google). Most commercial growers use 1000 watt high pressure sodium lights if they haven’t already switched to newer LED models that use about 300 watts. Needless to say, some growers put his 10 or more plants under the light, so the information is a bit arbitrary to begin with.
The letter also endorsed that “annual cannabis farming power demand will increase by 65% over the next decade.” However, this does not take into account that many cannabis companies would choose to move from indoor to outdoor growing models if marijuana were legalized at the federal level and interstate cannabis trade was opened. Hmm.
You can find letters addressed to the heads of the Departments of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Home Office, and Energy Information Administration. hereThe House of Representatives called for answers to the following questions by November 30th.
- How will current marijuana legalization affect state energy consumption and emission levels?
- How will federal legalization of marijuana affect the country’s energy consumption and emissions levels?
- What is the projected growth in energy use and emissions from the marijuana industry?
- How will increased energy demand from the marijuana industry affect power grid reliability?
- How will illegal marijuana cultivation operations affect the country’s water supply?
- What harm does the use of various fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides by illegal marijuana growers do to U.S. wildlife, habitats, and humans?
A recent study published in early 2021 found that cannabis still uses a small amount of water compared to other crops, and with proper planning and policies, cannabis can be environmentally friendly even when grown on a large scale. To ensure that cannabis legalization does not increase the burden on the environment, the study made the following policy recommendations:
- Land Use: Since cannabis has traditionally been grown in environmentally sensitive areas, planning can minimize the negative environmental impacts associated with cannabis expansion.
- Water use: Cannabis is often grown in areas where control over the timing and location of water extraction is important to the environment.
- Pesticide Use: Pesticide residues on cannabis can be inhaled or ingested at elevated temperatures, so the route of human persistence on cannabis is unique. Therefore, it is imperative that pesticide management goes beyond that of normal agriculture.
- Energy use: Encouraging best practices can reduce the energy footprint of indoor and mixed light cannabis cultivation.
- Air Pollution: Prioritizing science-based best practices can reduce air pollution and its impact on air quality.
For more information on these policy recommendations, read the full survey. here.