yearly greenhouse-gas pollution of the $40 billion per year marijuana industry is responsible for about 3% of all electricity use or 8% of household use. Indoor growers use high-intensity lights that are 500 times more powerful that a standard reading lamp. They also use several other high energy industrial practices. The closest comparison for these massive, industrial-style grow facilities are data centers, which consume about two percent of the nation’s electric power.
It turns out that grass (Marijuana) is not all that green, particularly if it is grown indoors. Evan Mills, Ph. D, a longtime energy analyst at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, last week released his independent study that examined the carbon footprint of the indoor marijuana industry.
Marijuana production has raised other environmental concerns. Each Marijuana plant said to need between 3 and 5 gallons of water per day to grow to fruition, which significantly raises its carbon footprint. The Bay Citizen, a San Francisco publication, reported last year on the risk of pot being tainted with pesticides used by growers. Even though 17 states allow growing Marijuana for medical purposes, it is a controlled substance under federal law and U.S. regulatory agencies do not supervise how it is grown or monitor the pesticides used in its cultivation. Mills also notes that marijuana growers often raise indoor carbon dioxide levels to four-times natural levels to boost plant growth.