Something is very wrong with the current cannabis industry. It has nothing to do with Reefer Madness or the naysayers, nor is it a part of the more recent conversations surrounding deforestation, pollution or water consumption.
In a recent study conducted by the Columbia Environmental Law Journal, the marijuana industry accrues up $6 billion in energy bills annually -- six times more than the pharmaceutical industry and in total, consuming more than one percent of the nation’s total electricity.
Indoor growing practices involve extraordinarily bright lights – as intense as those used in operating rooms – which consume absurd amounts of energy, considering the proportionally minuscule yield of cannabis it returns.
As the legalization of cannabis becomes more feasible on a national scale, the presence of this high demand for energy will put a large strain on the environmental viability of the current practices of marijuana production, showing early signs for yet another trial for the newborn industry to overcome.
In time, the expanding market will warrant regulations on countless aspects of the industry itself. Businesses and policymakers will look to renewable energy sources, in hopes of compliance with local energy ordinances, as well as general decency.