Discussion: When It Comes To Energy, Indoor Marijuana Isn’t Green

Discussion for article #234482

Make it legal and folks can grow their own outdoors. Problem solved. After all, The Good Lord put it on this earth…


The authors basis for assuming that MJ cultivation is such an energy hog really needs a bit more illumination than “By some estimates, indoor marijuana cultivation is …”.

She goes on to delineate MJ cultivation involving generators etc where, again, she offers no means of assessing the issue. Indeed, no mention is made of tech innovations which promise to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of MJ cultivation.

I question TPM’s rationale for posting the piece.


The pic with the article is of a greenhouse. A lot of the stated energy uses don’t apply.


They won’t, however. Or at least not for a very long time. The ability to control the growth cycle of the plants, and thus vastly improve its quality, is just far too enticing.

But nobody ever bitches about all the greenhouses growing flowers in the world, which are just as big, if not a bigger drain on energy. And NOBODY is posting articles talking about the flagrant waste of gasoline and oil used in NASCAR.

The prison-industrial complex is getting very worried now that marijuana is rapidly approaching the tipping point of national legalization. Its going to be an interesting battle between them and the Big Money folks that want to start profiting from its recreational sale.


Yes, in my older age, I find myself becoming highly skeptical of people who start tossing out facts with questionable backing… like facts that are impossible to prove because they aren’t reported.

But its been long known that law enforcement tracks and targets residential properties that have suspiciously large electric and water bills. So while the “facts” being presented are questionable, indoor growing does consume a great deal of power.

There have been some major improvements, particularly with LED lighting replacing the hot metal halides and sodium lights .

Do the LEDs produce a spectrum that matches well with photosynthesis?

I disagree with the policy suggestion of requiring cannabis be grown carbon free. A few miles from here is a huge indoor cannabis growing operation. It uses a ton of power, but all from sources that are carbon free, because our power in eastern Washington is mostly hydro and wind. This means that power is cheap. A far better approach to make sure that legal cannabis reduces its carbon footprint would be to make dirty power expensive, at least for corporate users. Regulating that one industry be singled out for power use is a bad idea, making all industries pay the full cost of their power use, however, is a good idea.

In short, pass a carbon tax now!


If growing becomes legal, won’t outdoor producers have a massive cost advantage and put the indoor growers out of business? I thought the point of indoor growing was to hide from the law, not solve a cultivation problem.

1 Like

“With $6 billion in annual energy costs, the indoor marijuana industry is one of the most, if not the most, energy-intensive industry in the United States.” – Is that what goes for journamalism/opinion at TPM?

"I don’t mean to unfairly single out the billion-dollar marijuana industry for bearing this extra burden while other industries get off scot-free. " – But that is exactly what you did, isn’t it?


Many Gov’ts won’t let commercial gardens be outside, in the natural daylight.

“San Jose’s new regulations require all medical marijuana concentrates, edibles and topicals be produced on-site, by the collective; something that’s virtually impossible for the dozens of businesses currently operating in the city. Medical marijuana vendors statewide will not be allowed to provide any products to collectives in San Jose. Outdoor growing is banned . . . .”

“Fremont bans outdoor marijuana growing”


Amen. This is so frigging obvious, I must conclude that the writer of the article is a moron.

1 Like

Yes. Assuming you’re getting quality LED lights. There are a lot of junk lights out there at present.

1 Like

About this question…

Take a gander of this from Michigan State University - 2011

FAQs - LED Lighting for Specialty-Crop Production



Agreed. Dumb article as anything produced indoors with grow lights is anything but “green” and don’t get me started on auto racing. They want to do it, fine. However, make them pay $10.00 a gallon for fuel and invest the tax in alternative energy R&D and mass transit.

Indoor can be better regulated for cycles, growth, etc. less likely someone comes by and jacks it, bugs, yadda yadda. Plenty of other reasons outside of stealth.


Yes. That is the beauty and the reason LED is so much more efficient.

Light spectrum can be tailored by selecting specific colors to induce targeted plant responses http://leds.hrt.msu.edu/FAQs/

When you look at the light produced by HPS systems much of the spectrum is in areas plants can’t use and is simply wasted energy and more unneeded heat.


The main cite for energy usage in her Columbia Journal of Law article is http://evanmills.lbl.gov/pubs/pdf/cannabis-carbon-footprint.pdf


What you talkin bout Willis? We all try’n to troll up in this JOINT and here you come waltzing to troll party with your “facts” and your “citations”. Oh, well I guess the original writer may have done a bunch of scholarly research mumbo jumbo on science and stuff. No one in the comments section wants to hear that! WE STR8 TROLL’N!