The environmental impact of indoor cannabis cultivation

Evan Mills, Ph.D. of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Scott Zeramby have revealed a new chapter in the upcoming “Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research,” entitled “Energy Use by the Indoor Cannabis Industry: Inconvenient Truths for Producers, Consumers, and Policymakers.” The report takes a critical look at indoor cannabis cultivation in the age of climate change.

According to its authors, the work, “pinpoints blind spots in regulation, outlines research and analysis needs, argues for consumer information and protections against greenwashing and industry capture of regulatory and green-certification processes, and offers recommendations for incorporating energy considerations into the broader tapestry of cannabis policy.”

Cannabis and the Climate
Expanding on a 2012 investigation by Mills, the authors blame the lack of research into indoor cannabis production’s carbon footprint squarely on its status as a controlled substance and the subsequent need to produce, process, and distribute cannabis “in the shadows.” The authors, however, are quick to point out that legalization hasn’t increased transparency into the energy use of indoor cannabis production. 


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