To make cannabis green, we need to grow it outdoors

Outdoor cultivation has sufficed for five millennia. In a warming world, indoor cultivation is an unessential and unaffordable luxury
Slate (US)
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

cannabis field indoorCannabis may look green, but the environmental metaphor mostly stops there. Virginia—the latest state to approach full legalization—and the 46 others that have implemented some degree of liberalization all share the dubious honor of doing so with little or no consideration of environmental consequences, particularly those stemming from the prodigious energy use associated with indoor cultivation. In one mind-boggling illustration of this, a new study says that Colorado’s cannabis industry emits more CO2 than its coal industry. Once the domain of barefoot gardeners, millions of pounds of cannabis—the nation’s highest-value cash crop—are now produced each year in Walmart-sized, windowless, energy-intensive factory farms. More than 40 percent of producers grow exclusively indoors.