Is Marijuana Messing With The Environment?

There’s a lot of mis-information on the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation. Cannabis growers have had to adapt their growing techniques in order to meet new regulations, so let’s clear up some misinformation around these concerns as well.
The environmental impacts related to industrial hemp production are actually much less severe than those associated with marijuana Production
depending upon the farming method used and plant cultivar selected

Is Marijuana Messing With The Environment?

The “negative environmental impacts of hemp” is a question that has been asked for quite some time. The answer to this question is yes, marijuana does have negative environmental impacts.

Cannabis may not need a significant carbon footprint, but it does, and it isn’t going away any time soon.

In certain regions of the nation, cannabis truly does grow “like a weed.” However, as more states allow medicinal and recreational marijuana, most natural growing methods have been abandoned in favor of energy-intensive methods.

Some agricultural methods use a staggering amount of power and natural resources while also releasing dangerous chemicals into the environment. These developing practices, if allowed uncontrolled, may have long-term consequences for the ecology and global climate.

Natural resources are used in most current agricultural practices. Cannabis production, on the other hand, presently requires much more resources than other forms of gardening. According to the National Conference Of State Legislatures, “a 2012 analysis on the carbon footprint of indoor production revealed that cannabis cultivation accounts for 1% of national power usage.”

cannabis crop

Olena Ruban/Getty Images photo

The way and location marijuana is cultivated has a lot to do with this massive power cost. According to Politico, “80% of cannabis is grown inside with sophisticated lighting and environmental controls meant to optimize the plant’s productivity.” To produce a profitable crop, cannabis needs precise temperatures, humidity levels, plenty of water, and sunshine hours.

Indoor facility ventilation is not only essential for optimal plant development, but it is also one of the most expensive aspects of cannabis production. “The highest energy usage comes from continually delivering fresh air into growing facilities, since optimal ventilation is vital for feeding photosynthesis and avoiding pests and mildew,” according to this TED.com article.

In comparison to other plants, cannabis may develop quite fast. As a result, it absorbs a lot of CO2 and emits a lot of oxygen. Cannabis production carried out in a natural and organic manner outside might be beneficial to the environment. However, the majority of the energy consumed to air inside spaces negates this potential gain. To boost the plants’ development potential, some facilities even release high quantities of harmful CO2.

“They’re bringing in bottled CO2 or they’re burning natural gas on-site to essentially get CO2 in the room,” Hailey Summers, a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University and the first author of a widely-cited research on the energy costs of cannabis, told Slate. Some growers do not use C02 in their indoor facilities. Nonetheless, since there is no existing federal rule prohibiting such practices, they are legal and extensively used.

Legalization on a federal level might be one of the most effective strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of marijuana production in the United States. This would aid in the standardization of federal agricultural practices as well as environmental control. It would also be lawful to carry marijuana across states.

4 Ways Cannabis Is Becoming A Greener Industry

Pexels photo by Cup of Couple

Cannabis cultivated and sold in a state that has legalized cannabis is currently required to be farmed and sold in the same state. Consider the fruit oranges. Maine would have to cultivate its own oranges if the same regulations applied to them. Indoor facilities, lighting, heat, and a lot more energy and money than producing oranges in Florida would be required.

The same may be stated for the cultivation of cannabis. According to Baylen Linnekin, an agricultural lawyer and senior fellow at the Reason Foundation, “the essence of the difficulty is that federal prohibition means you can’t transfer any cannabis over state boundaries.”

Cannabis does not have to have a significant carbon footprint, but it does, and it isn’t going away any time soon. There is much to consider as world leaders continue to examine the big climate change dilemma. It could be worth thinking about how to transform the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry’s carbon impact into a new pair of lungs.

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