US (MA): A look inside a solar-powered cannabis grow

Feeling overwhelmed by the near-constant flood of dismal climate news? Well, here’s a breath of fresh air.

Earlier this month, Solar Therapeutics, a large-scale cannabis grow operation, manufacturer, and adult-use store in the town of Somerset, an hour south of Boston, turned on its own onsite power plant, referred to as a microgrid. Along with solar panels and other savvy efficiency mechanisms like water recycling and LED lighting, the microgrid has already enabled the company to cut its emissions in half. It’s a promising example for an industry that has largely failed to change in the face of escalating climate-related disasters. 

And the stakes are getting higher every day: As more states legalize cannabis, emissions are virtually guaranteed to climb. One 2018 paper shows that the industry's energy demands could jump by 162 percent by 2022.

“As more states rush to legalization — and perhaps even some day the feds — drug policy and environmental policy must be harmonized,” wrote the renowned climate scientist Evan Mills for the Future Cannabis Project in 2016. “Until then, some of the nation’s hard-earned progress towards climate change solutions is on the chopping block as regulators continue to ignore [the cannabis] industry’s mushrooming carbon footprint.”


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