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The Carbon Footprint of Marijuana

Published: May 22, 2011

Marijuana may be a lot less green than people think, at least in terms of its carbon footprint. A shocking new study indicates that indoor marijuana production in the US may use a full 1% of the nation’s electrical production. Dr. Evan Miller at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicates that indoor pot growing may involve five billion dollars worth of energy expenditures.

Apparently, one four by four foot pot production module triples the energy expenditure of an average California home (and doubles that of the average US home). Off-grid production is even more startling in energy costs. One indoor plant requires 70 gallons of diesel fuel and 140 gallons of gasoline generated energy!

This unexpected finding shows that the outdoor growth of cannabis might provide great energy savings – and much reduced carbon emissions. That however would require decriminalization, which itself would require that the nations law enforcement officials fess up to the fact that cannabis is not leading people to “harder drugs”, not to mention the fact that its use is relatively benign in terms of generating social problems.

As it stand this indoor growing of pot means that a single joint will have produced two pounds of C02 emissions!

I’d say this situation requires a re-think, on many levels.