Dope! Pot growing uses 1% of all US energy

Growing marijuana is responsible for consuming 1% of all the power in the US. The plant’s high energy requirements result mean it’s among one of the most carbon intensive crops in the world. A […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Growing marijuana is responsible for consuming 1% of all the power in the US.

The plant’s high energy requirements result mean it’s among one of the most carbon intensive crops in the world.

A study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that it takes 13,000KW to produce about five pounds of marijuana, more electricity than the average American household uses annually.

The state of Maine in particular is likely to see energy demand increase as its established medical marijuana industry is joined by commercial producers following the recent legalisation of the drug’s recreational usage.

Warehouses full of the electricity-sucking plant are an anomaly in the state, which prides itself on agricultural sustainability.

However, the marijuana industry looks to become greener, driven by inefficient growing methods eating into grower’s profits.

Wellness Connection, Maine’s largest medicinal grower, is now buying energy credits, reusing water and investigating more efficient LED lighting.

Grow lights are to blame for the bulk of the power used – a Maine woman running an illegal grow operation was recently found to have paid $25,000 (£20,349) in electric bills over a two-year period.

The firm has gone paperless with its patient interactions and increased recycling, last year collecting 1,600kg of plastic and diverting it from landfills.

It has also attempted to mitigate the stress its crops put on the environment by offering discounts if clients bring packets of native seeds to the dispensary to be planted in the countryside.