“Marijuana Warehouses Creating Massive Energy Demand, Emissions” is the headline on a piece by Brian Maass of CBSDenver.com. Dale Gieringer forwards it with the comment: “A powerful argument for encouraging outdoor cultivation.”
Maass interviewed a grower named John Kocer whose latest monthly energy bill was $21,500. Kocer told him that another grower spends $100,000/month on electricity. A study by Evan Mills at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory determined that “the marijuana industry is using 1 percent of national electricity consumption and is creating greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to that of 3 million cars!”
The pwogwessive city of Boulder “requires marijuana growers to purchase their energy from renewable sources like wind energy, solar or buy carbon offsets, increasing their growing costs an estimated 20 to 22 percent.” Maass quotes a city councilman named Cowles saying “The marijuana is greener in Boulder. It has less environmental impact, and we are very proud of that.”
One Boulder grower is installing a lighting system made by iGrow Induction Lighting said to require one-fifth as much energy as the lights now in use. An iGrow spokesman boasted that his company was “saving energy and the carbon footprint.”
But not compared to growing plants by sunlight.
This sad and sorry situation is the direct result of the marijuana movement’s single-issue focus all these years. If the push for legalization had been part of a broader movement for a democratic society —if pot partisans had been working in concert with environmentalists all along— we would not be creating pollution equivalent to 3 million cars.