Pot farmers
Hoping for Legal Pot Farmers to Grow a Green Energy Revolution

Electricity-intensive cannabis production has a big carbon footprint, but with legalization, some eco-conscious growers want to make pot a shining model of sustainability.

After a flood of pro-pot ballot measures in November, recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in eight U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana will be legal in 29 states. Barring a federal clampdown from the incoming Trump administration, analysts expect legal cannabis to be a boom industry, particularly in California, the world’s sixth largest economy.

But as billions in investment dollars flow westward to build large new cannabis production facilities, conservation groups and eco-conscious growers are troubled by the growing carbon footprint of pot production.

“Marijuana is the most energy-intensive manufacturing process in America,” said Timothy Hade, co-founder of Scale Energy Solutions, a startup that consults cannabis producers on energy efficiency. “Producing a pound of marijuana uses 300 times the amount of energy than producing a pound of aluminum.”