A recent study shows that indoor marijuana production carries a formidably large carbon footprint.
Evan Mills, Ph.D of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory research has released a new independent report, “Energy up in Smoke: The Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis Production.” Mills reports that indoor Cannabis production uses 1% of the entire electricity consumption in the country. The final sum is an energy expenditure of $5 billion per year.
While 1% may not seem like such a huge settlement, the report claims that smoking one single joint is the equivalent of running a 100-watt light bulb for 17 hours. That joint emits two pounds of CO2 emissions.
According to the report:
“Each four-by-four-foot production module doubles the electricity use of an average U.S. home and triples that of an average California home. The added electricity use is equivalent to running about 30 refrigerators. Processed Cannabis results in 3000-times its weight in emissions. For off-grid production, it requires 70 gallons of diesel fuel to produce one indoor Cannabis plant, or 140 gallons with smaller, less-efficient gasoline generators.”
The report does not editorialize on the issue of marijuana legalization and Mills says cannabis production is not intrinsically polluting, however, rather currently engages in inefficient production. Mills proposes energy use for indoor production could be reduced with cost-effective improvements of up to 75%.
Fast Company finds in the report further reason that marijuana should be legalized.
Ariel Schwartz writes:
“Marijuana production needs to be legalized, so people will actually cast a critical eye on its energy usage. All the industry has to do is follow in the footsteps of the commercial agricultural industry, which has made strides in energy efficiency in recent years.”
Mills writes in the report that criminalization contributes to inefficient energy practice. Compared to say, electric grids, off-grid power production often emitted more greenhouse-gas.
“It is up to others to decide how to respond to the findings.”