Marijuana has had a rise to popularity and demand since it has recently become legal for medical use in some areas of the United States and throughout Canada. Medical Cannabis is now presently the fastest growing industry in the U.S., and there are more than 180 million users worldwide. This growing popularity can produce problems for the environment and need to be acted upon quickly. To get an idea of what medical marijuana is and what the final product becomes, look to San Diego Dispensary or other dispensaries near you.
The main problems that show in the environment from marijuana are electricity usage, ecosystem and wildlife damage and water usage. While marijuana legally growing at this rate is very new, we can already see the impacts being shown.
Overwhelming Electricity Usage
Current studies have shown that estimated indoor grow operations for marijuana account for 1 percent of total electricity in the U.S. each year. This may not seem like much, but this is in comparison to the electricity consumed by computers in every home in the country yearly. A large amount of electricity used is due to powering all the light fixtures, dehumidifiers and heating and ventilation systems in indoor grow operations.
An option to reduce the amount of electricity used is greenhouses, which would only need artificial heating during cold nights as growers wouldn’t need to conceal their goods physically. Tapping into a government led efficiency program and investing in energy-saving products like LED grow lights could help dramatically as well as investing in research and reducing costs.
Damaging to Ecosystems and Wildlife
Growing marijuana outdoors is a very energy-efficient alternative compared to growing indoors, but it leads to a different and severe environmental impact. Getting land ready for farming marijuana plants sometimes means cutting down forests, redirecting rivers and damaging fragile ecosystems.
Pesticides and rat poison are some of the other main concerns when it comes to wildlife and growing outdoors as opposed to indoors. Small animals like the Pacific fisher are in danger of being exposed to poison and have been significantly affected by the growing popularity of the plant.
Enacting specific environmental and land-use regulations to control marijuana crop expansion, especially during the earlier stages, could be of much help to the situation. Funds could also be used to discourage the illegal cultivation of marijuana which could harm the environment further.
Water Consumption Problems
Some studies show that a single marijuana plant can consume around 6 gallons of water per day, which can pose some concern. Marijuana, being a water-thirsty crop, shows a lot of possible future problems when it comes to water conservation. Marijuana cultivation outdoors was also proved to be excessively diverting water from creeks that are home to threatened fish populations.
When it comes to conserving water growing marijuana in pots is a very effective way, but they are still losing a great deal of evaporation that the plants aren’t using. To fix this, you can use reclaimed condensate, which is growing in a controlled environment, dehumidifying the space and recapturing all the condensate. Another option is strict regulations for medical and recreational marijuana use that will include conditions of licensure, which in turn will require compliance with water laws.
The Verdict for Marijuana Use
There are many environmentally-friendly changes marijuana growers can incorporate to help make positive influences for the future of the environment. When it comes to indoor or outdoor growing, they both have their environmental negatives and positives in comparison.
The primary goal for both is to fix their main negative contributions to the environment like water consumption, electricity usage and ecosystem and wildlife damage. Environmental regulations and switching to environmentally efficient alternatives are the main takeaways to reducing the impact marijuana growth has on the environment.
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