California Studies the Energy Impact of Cannabis Cultivation

Katherine DeMetre | Infocast Events

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.

In Feb., 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.

“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,” said CPUC President Michael Picker.

On Apr. 20, the workshop report was released to the public. One of the key findings was that other legal states have 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 is energy-intensive, but at the same time, could potentially be the most water-efficient for the state, according to the report.

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, according to 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.

Even with the current legislations in place, it is too early to tell if energy consumption was put into consideration, so changes may be made.

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