California discusses possible energy standard for recreational cannabis market

Written By: Jen Neville
October 23, 2017

As California prepares for the implementation of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, state regulators hurry to figure out how much energy will be used from recreational cannabis growers. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a workshop titled “Energy Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation." Panelists of utility representatives, cannabis growers and regulators discussed ways to make cultivation more energy efficient, according to CPUC.

CPUC President Michael Picker commented: The fast growth in the cannabis industry presents a challenge and an opportunity to ensure that the choices made by the cannabis industry reflect California’s climate goals.

One of the key findings of the report was that other legal states had not necessarily seen an increase in energy consumption from cannabis cultivation, providing some hope for California. The workshop also reported that growers in legal recreational marijuana states prefer indoor cultivation. Growing indoors was energy-intensive, but at the same time, could potentially be the most water-efficient for the state.

In a recent survey conducted by CalCannabis, the state’s cannabis cultivation licensing body, 45 percent of California growers reported that they preferred indoor cultivation. The uncertainty of its energy consumption currently leaves it at a standstill, but one thing is for certain: it is an important question that needs to be answered by the state.

Additionally, local governments’ are putting restrictions on growing land use, pushing growers to work indoors.

Most local governments are working out land-use policies for commercial growers, but it seems that many governments require the use of indoor facilities, per the report. Proposition 64 also states that local authorities require any marijuana cultivation be done indoors, but it is yet to be determined if that includes commercial entities.

Changes could still be made, even with the legislation in place. Energy efficient cannabis production could still be in California's future.

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