State law legalization of cannabis has resulted in a boom of cannabis commerce. In 2020, legal sales in the United States totaled a record $17.5 billion dollars, almost a 50% increase from the previous year. In 2021, the regulated cannabis industry’s market value was approximately $27 billion.
Most states require commercial cannabis cultivation to occur indoors. Maintaining the requisite climate and lighting for quality crops requires nearly continuous inputs of electricity– up to an astounding 2,000 watts per minute! These facilities put pressure on the electric grid and often consume electricity sourced from fossil fuels.
State and local lawmakers have begun to regulate the electricity consumption of commercial cannabis cultivation facilities. Growers are often required to meet certain energy efficiency standards, engage in energy planning and reporting, or ensure their energy comes from renewable sources. These restrictions can help improve the sustainability of cannabis cultivation, but must be thoughtfully implemented to ensure equitable access to the cannabis market.