photo: Stay Faded/Creative Commons
When we found out a couple week ago that the marijuana industry is responsible for 1% of all US electricity consumption, the first and perhaps obvious big question that popped to my mind was how would that figure change if pot was legalized? Surely the electricity bill is so high in part because of the necessity of indoor grow operations to avoid detection.
Well, as the infographic excerpted below shows, legalization of pot would indeed radically slash the energy footprint of the marijuana industry:
The carbon footprint of covert cannabis production might also be easily offset by the energy used to enforce the laws against it--electricity for the some 60,000 inmates in prison on marijuana related charges at any time, and the fuel for the police cruisers that brought in the offenders, among other things...
A few other things:
- Without running all the numbers myself I can't really comment on whether the 75% figure is accurate, but I have no reason to disbelieve it on its face;
- This all assumes that growers wouldn't continue with cultivation under lights for horticultural reasons;
- While reducing energy use is a good reason on its own to legalize marijuana, even if the potential reductions weren't so dramatic or even nil, marijuana (as well as industrial hemp, a different thing, remember) ought to be legalized and one of the most tragically counterproductive, pointless prohibition campaigns the world has seen put behind us.
More on Marijuana
Legalizing Marijuana in California Could Be Good For The Environment
Drug Cartels Turning US Forests Into Marijuana Plantations, Toxic Messes