Tags: Marijuana | pot | obama | environment | eco-friendly

TPM: Obama Urged to Demand Eco-Friendly Power to Grow Pot

Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:03 PM

As the push continues to legalize the marijuana industry nationally, President Barack Obama is being urged to demand that pot growers use eco-friendly electricity to cultivate their plants.

In an opinion column for TalkingPointsMemo, Texas law professor Gina Warren warned that indoor marijuana cultivation accounts for 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually — the equivalent to the amount of emissions of three million American cars.

Her comments came as Obama heads for a major showdown this year with Republicans over his landmark initiative for a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions without the approval of Congress.

But with the marijuana industry expanding rapidly in the U.S., Warren says Obama could create environmental changes right here in his backyard by calling on state and federal policymakers to utilize climate-friendly power to grow weed.

"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," Warren wrote in TPM.

"It requires a large amount of electricity to power high-intensity heat lamps, to regulate temperature and humidity levels, and for ventilation, among other things. This energy consumption, which is expected to grow as the industry grows, results in significant greenhouse gas emissions."

The president is hoping that the U.N. climate talks in Paris, set for December, will result in one of his greatest policy achievements by modifying environmental regulations for governments and corporations worldwide to build an outline for a green policy for decades to come.

Obama, in fact, will order the federal government on Thursday to cut its own emission levels of greenhouse gases by 40 percent, as the U.S. seeks to spur other nations to get serious about climate change and the alleged warming of the plant.

However, Warren, an associate professor at Texas A&M University School of Law, said, "one way to ensure that the [marijuana] industry does not further contribute to an already dire situation is to require indoor marijuana cultivators to utilize only carbon-free electricity as a condition of licensing.

"Cultivators can utilize on-site renewable generation, such as rooftop solar panels; subscribe to the Community Solar Garden; or find some other approved equivalent source."

While noting she's not trying to single out the marijuana industry for causing environmental concerns, Warren says that pot growing "provides a good example of the need for a climate risk assessment prior to licensing, and an opportunity for policymakers to make a difference when starting from a clean slate."

Warren claimed in her TalkingPointsMemo article that the atmosphere now contains "unprecedented levels" of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, resulting in increases in atmospheric and oceanic temperature, intense storms, melting ice caps, and rising sea levels, "which threatens our very existence."

She summed up by saying: "The marijuana industry is already on its way to becoming a highly-regulated industry. It already requires stakeholders to jump through many hoops on the way to licensing. I simply encourage policymakers to consider one higher priority: the use of climate-friendly electricity."

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As the push continues to legalize the marijuana industry nationally, President Barack Obama is being urged to demand that pot growers use eco-friendly electricity to cultivate their plants.
pot, obama, environment, eco-friendly
Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:03 PM
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