As horrifying, massive Hurricane Matthew aims for Florida, climate change keeps blistering the world — in our neck of the woods, our biggest industry is not helping the environment recover.
From TakePart yesterday:
It turns out that every little joint and edible adds up.
A new report finds that marijuana cultivation accounts for as much as 1 percent of energy use in states such as Colorado and Washington.
The electricity needed to illuminate, dehumidify, and air-condition large growing operations may soon rival the expenditures from big data centers, which themselves emit an estimated 100 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
(Illustration above found here).
Last January, Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors okayed regulations for commercial marijuana cultivation: ‘“Now the farmers have to do their part.”‘
An environment is awaiting…
Further on the new study:
The marijuana industry’s energy use “is immense,” said the report’s author, Kelly Crandall, an analyst for EQ Research, a clean energy policy research institute.
Her report found that a large grow operation can have energy expenditures of 2,000 watts per square meter because of its constant need for lighting and ventilation.
The carbon cost of cannabis is likely to grow.
In November nine states will vote on marijuana legalization, including California, which could become the biggest player in the legal marijuana industry.
Crandall, who started studying the issue a few years ago while working as the energy strategy coordinator for the city of Boulder, Colorado, said she was surprised “by the magnitude of the industry and its utility bills.”
She said she was also struck by how hard it was for the industry to switch to energy-efficient options.
“I find it kind of a conundrum that it’s a very cash-rich industry, but because of banking restrictions it also has a difficulty investing in solar and efficiency.”
Because marijuana cultivation is still a criminal offense under federal law, most banks will not do business with the industry even in states where it is legal.
Andrew Black, certification director for Certified Kind, said the legal cannabis industry is evolving quickly, which will allow it to become more energy efficient.
“Data that was never collected and analyzed due to cannabis prohibition is starting to come to light,” he said.
“As normal business practices take root in the cannabis community, and especially as the sale price of cannabis drops, I think you will see a concerted effort toward finding the most economically and energy-efficient way to grow the crop.”
Both Jensen and Black said they see the future of the industry in outdoor cultivation, not in inefficient warehouse grows.
In a few weeks, Prop 64 will most-likely become law, making marijuana legal here in California — up here, there’s some difference in opinion (via Yahoo this week):
Standing in his outdoor grove of plants that tower above him, Stephen Dillon said the Humboldt Sun Growers Guild he heads is split over Prop. 64.
Growers in the group also are concerned that it will open the industry to big agriculture, as well as taxes and penalties, he said.
Dillon acknowledged some illegal growers hurt the environment, draining creeks for irrigation, pouring pesticide-laden runoff back into the water supply and creating mountains of trash on their sites.
Prop. 64 would allow the state to revoke the licenses of such bad actors.
But Dillon said its environmental regulations could cost $20,000 to $100,000 per farm to meet.
Put up, or shut-the-fuck-up…climate change is the great decider…