The cultivation of hemp is harmful to the environment

According to recent studies, the production of the cannabis plant would cause important greenhouse gas emissions. With the progressive legalization of cannabis leading to an exponential growth of its production, what are the environmental risks involved?

Research has shown the consequences of indoor cannabis production. Hailey Summers and her colleagues from Colorado State University have analyzed this phenomenon in detail. They realized that these gas emissions showed variability depending on the location of the cultivation and the emissions on the power grid. According to the assumptions, the amount of greenhouse gases could vary between 2.3 and 5.2 tons of carbon dioxide. In America, the figures are frightening with an emission from cannabis cultivation reaching 2.6 megatons of carbon dioxide.

In view of these figures, it is then normal to wonder about the consequences and the danger of the culture of hemp in indoor. During the cultivation, the producers use energy consuming lamps. In addition, there is a constant need for fresh air in the facilities for the viability of the plants. Filtering the air also consumes a lot of energy.

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However, the researchers cultivate doubts about the accuracy of the figures collected. They could be much higher because not all emissions from cannabis storage and processing have been taken into account.

In addition, the regulations in place in each state present additional challenges for the industry. In Colorado, for example, cannabis plants must be grown next to retail stores. For businesses located in urban areas, this represents a constraint because the plantations are necessarily done indoors, in warehouses leading to an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The production methods for the black market could prove to be even more polluting. The producers take advantage of their culture in a total illegality by using diesel generators on their site. On the contrary, an outdoor culture allows to regulate in a natural way the needs of energy for a good plantation. It does not require pumping installations, or even pesticides. However, this method can alter the quality of production because the yields are controlled by the weather and become impossible during cold periods.

A dilemma then arises. Indoor production, being more energy consuming, allows better yields and is more profitable. The outdoor production, more ecological, is less effective. The professionals hesitate between producing more and polluting more or producing less and slowing down the production of greenhouse gases.

The cannabis industry is constantly evolving and it is now time to consider the costs and hidden consequences of indoor cannabis in order to implement solutions to minimize energy loss and make cannabis cultivation more sustainable.