One would think that the carbon emissions from cannabis would be fairly low, however you would be wrong. The fact of the matter is that much of the cannabis grown in the United States for recreational consumption comes from within an “indoor cannabis operation”.
In order to successfully run an indoor growing operation, you need a myriad of artificial climate control devices such as humidifiers and dehumidifiers, air conditioning, etc. All of this, as you can imagine drives up the price of production but what we’re looking at today specifically is the green house emissions based on the different operations.
The University of Colorado recently conducted a study where they analyzed the amount of greenhouse gasses produced by these facilities and what they found was that on average indoor operations results in life-cycle of green house gas emissions of between 2,283 and 5,184 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilo of dried flower.
Compare this to the 22.7 and 326.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide for outdoor operations and green houses. As you can see, the contrast is quite glaring and while cannabis may be considered a “green crop” – the current way we are growing weed is not sustainable.
Commercial Weed should be grown outdoors or in a greenhouse
The only reason why cannabis entrepreneurs continue to grow indoors is because they are forced to do so. In Colorado there is a stipulation that grow sites has to be close to dispensaries. This forces cannabis growers to rent out warehouses, retrofit it for cannabis growing and then drain the grid’s power in producing phenomenal buds.
While we enjoy these high-potency buds, we need to address the issue about energy use. While I’m not too worried about CO2 emissions – especially since it’s not a very prominent green house gas compared to water vapor for example – the fact that we are consuming so much energy places unneeded stress on the power grid and elevates the costs of cannabis per gram.
However – this issue cannot be addressed until we have completely removed all illegality and stigma from the plant. Currently, cannabis is being treated as this “highly dangerous substance” that requires uber-regulation to ensure that people “don’t fuck up!”
This is an idiotic position imposed by faux-moralists who thought “smoking weed comes from the devil!” When in reality, the devil was a man named Harry J. Anslinger who used deception and bigotry to outlaw weed – but this is not the point of this article.
Rather, in a time when “the environment” is such a major issue for Democrats – the idea that we maintain cannabis as a schedule I substance is contradictory. While there is a major support within the Democratic party for legalization – the presidency has made it clear that it doesn’t share this sentiment. It doesn’t really surprise me with the pair of flip-flops running the country, both who have flipped on the issue of cannabis several times.
Why Green Houses is the way to go
Another major advantage of growing indoors is the ability to control the climate. You can set the light cycles, temperature, humidity, feed schedule, control pests – etc. When you grow outdoors you open yourself up to pests and uncontrollable weather.
However, you can get the best of both worlds by implementing Greenhouse growing. This isn’t to say that straight up outdoor cultivation should be ignored. The Emerald Triangle is well known for it’s primo-outdoor bud.
However, in places where climate control is definitely an issue – greenhouses provide many benefits. The major benefit is that you don’t need light since you’d be using sunlight – which is arguably the best light to grow cannabis under.
Yet – because your weed is under a roof, you have the ability to control the plagues inside of it with more efficiency, set up automated irrigation and would have the ability to grow in any weather condition.
You can even grow in the winter in Greenhouses – except, in places like Colorado and Canada – this simply doesn’t make sense.
Nonetheless, Green houses are the way of the future and once cannabis is legalized on a federal level – we hope that lawmakers would recognize the error of their “over-regulation” and begin to shift to the idea of outdoor and green house growing.
Cannabis has the potential to change the world of business
Since cannabis has become one of the fastest growing business sectors, we have the opportunity to change the way we engage with the environment. Irrespective of where one may stand on the issue of “green house gases” and climate change – no one can argue that being more efficient with power is a bipartisan issue.
If you have the ability to save energy and as a result, help out the environment – in 2021, this should be a no brainer.