The Cannabis Industry Has a Fossil Fuel Reliance Problem – News

As the legal cannabis industry grows, so does its carbon footprint. In order to grow cannabis plants indoors, cultivators must resort to using powerful high-pressure sodium lights, similar to the ones used in hospital operating rooms. These lights produce about 500 times as much illumination as a typical reading light, and consume an enormous amount of electricity. It is estimated that growing a couple of pounds of weed indoors has the same environmental impact as driving across the country seven times.

Some cultivators have tried to turn to more energy-efficient technology like LED lights, but found that their plants did not grow as well. Paul Isenbergh, owner of three cannabis grow-ops in Denver, said that  his grows are “consuming a lot of energy compared to what we would with LED lights. We tried LED but we couldn’t get the right yield from the plants. And this is a weight game. The LEDs just don’t have the horsepower.”

According to University of California senior scientist Evan Mills, indoor cannabis grows use around 1% of the country’s total electricity. In Denver, the city’s electricity use has been growing by over 1% every year, and nearly half of that…

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