US (MA): Growers seek permission to use outdoor organic farming practices

Indoor cultivation of cannabis is responsible for about 10% of all industrial electricity consumption in Massachusetts, a representative from the Northeast Sustainable Cannabis Project estimated Tuesday as he called on lawmakers to allow marijuana and hemp growers to use organic farming practices that could shift some of the cultivation outside and under the sun.

Indoor cannabis cultivation gives growers a more predictable (and potentially more profitable) environment but is an energy-intensive operation—powerful lights help the plants grow and HVAC systems work to maintain temperature and humidity settings around the clock.

Sanford Lewis, general counsel for the Amherst-based Northeast Sustainable Cannabis Project, said the spread of energy-hungry indoor cultivation centers runs counter to the state's recent climate law and its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

He told the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy that his estimate that indoor cultivation accounts for 10% of industrial electricity consumption is based on current indoor cultivation lighting standards and the assumption that half of the growing canopy square footage authorities have authorized is being used.


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