Massachusetts Forces Marijuana Growers to go Green with Energy Limits
Massachusetts has high expectations of growers in its newly-legalized recreational marijuana market. The state set some of the strictest energy consumption limitations on marijuana producers in the nation. The goal is to force growers to go green through creative low-energy solutions.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission acknowledged that cannabis cultivation and manufacturing are among the most energy-intensive industries. To tackle the issue, they assigned an Energy Working Group to visit state growers and assess their concerns about meeting the strict regulations.
According to the commission, it was important to set strict limits from the start to avoid the energy consumption habits that are now difficult to pull back in other states. A recent study of energy consumption in California revealed that three percent of all electrical use in the state is used to cultivate cannabis.
Massachusetts is on track to bring its greenhouse gas emissions down to 20 percent of what they were at 1990, and state regulators want to prevent legal marijuana from slowing their progress. A single pound of indoor-grown cannabis can add up to 5,000 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The limits are set at 36 watts of power per square foot of canopy for growers with operations larger than 10,000-square-feet. Smaller operations can consume up to 50 watts per square foot of space.
However, there is a catch: commercial growers can consume as much electricity as they want so long as they pull it from off-the-grid resources. This incentivizes growers to install solar panels or search for other ways to generate their own energy.