Marijuana Growers In The US Are Using Up $6 Billion A Year In Electricity

As more states legalize marijuana in the US, pot cultivation is sucking up an ever-growing amount of energy from the grid.

Since most of the legal weed is grown indoors, the pot industry burns through large quantities of electricity used to power lamps, ventilation systems, and air conditioning. A square foot of planting requires some 200 watts of electricity (pdf, p. 20), about the same as a data center, according to a report this year in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.

The paper notes that marijuana plantations soak up at least 1% of the country’s electricity at a cost of $6 billion a year.

 

 

How Legalizing Marijuana Could Help California Address Drought

CALIFORNIA: A flight over Mendocino County puts California’s drought into stark perspective. You soar over arid hills, browning trees and bone-dry riverbeds. As the state continues to battle the drought and its effects, its leaders are considering every possible means to cut water usage, but there’s an obvious culprit that could merit a closer look: marijuana.

Fully legalizing marijuana production for all uses — rather than only permitting people to grow up to six plants for private medical use — would allow the state to regulate the drug more closely, and that would include a serious crackdown on water usage.

The case for legalization has been argued from a number of perspectives, but drought relief could end up being one of the most critical. Officials are already frustrated by water usage for marijuana cultivation, and they’re developing a hodge-podge of policy frameworks to address it, but legalization would make their jobs significantly easier. It would also benefit farmers who want to do the right thing by the environment but feel constrained by the law.