With the growing talk of marijuana dispensaries and government control, information is coming out about the real cost of marijuana. Energy consumption is the target of attention right now proving that marijuana is costing the U.S. $5 billion per year in energy cost and that’s just for the dispensaries operated and regulated by the American government. This makes up about 1% of the yearly energy consumption in the United States. This is enough to power two million homes for the year. The information goes beyond just this peek.
The energy use comes from the way the marijuana is grown to optimize the growth and potency of the plants. All medical marijuana plants are grown indoors and utilize high intensity lighting, dehumidification, air conditioning, space heating, and ventilation and irrigation systems to produce the best quality plants. Because the industry has previously lived in the shadows this has gone mostly undetected to the public eye. Now that more and more Americans are becoming more energy conscious and medical marijuana debates are back on the table this energy consumption information may have some real weight.
Interesting comparisons can be made to help the public realize exactly what the impact of this massive energy consumption is. One example is a single smoked joint represents the energy of a 100-watt light bulb left on for seventeen hours straight. So think of the time spent when a group of friends gather around a bong and smoke for hours. How about the energy consumption of a road trip? For each kilo of marijuana the carbon footprint is equal to that of taking a 44mpg trip across the country five times.
It sounds like outdoor growing is the solution and some are pushing for this as a reason to legalize marijuana. Whether that’s a solution or even option or not has yet to be determined. What we can be sure of is with the medical marijuana industry set to explode to the tune of $8.9 billion over the next five years, changes need to be made.