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Medical Pot: Not As Green As You Thought

Posted By Diana Newby On Apr 13, 2011 @ 11:13 am In Sci/Tech | Comments Disabled

9730353_f423df1396This story seems designed to necessitate stupid puns. We’ll spare you the jokes about greenhouses and blazing and cut to the chase: Licensed weed growers, according to a recent report, are speeding along [1] global warming.

The study, conducted at our very own Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, took into account the substantial energy required to cultivate medical marijuana indoors –  about one percent of the nation’s overall supply and three percent of California’s — as well as the carbon dioxide produced as a result, which amounts to 17 million metric tons annually and which doesn’t even include the CO2 exhaled when people smoke.

To the untrained eye, these stats do look somewhat outrageous; and according to Evan Mills, the energy analyst who headed the study, they kind of are. The energy used by the approximately 400,000 legal growers in California, says Mill, “corresponds to the electricity use of 1 million average California homes, greenhouse-gas emissions equal to those from 1 million average cars, and energy expenditures of $3 billion a year.”

Not chill, bro. Then again, comparing the output of an entire industry to only segments of others doesn’t seem to paint the most accurate picture. We’re no scientists, but we’ll go ahead and make a wild guess that there are a number of emission sources [2] that far [3]outstrip marijuana in their total contributions to global warming.

Yeah, we’re a little defensive. That data was harshing our mellow.
Image Source: Madjag [4] under Creative Commons
Marijuana causes global warming, uses 1% of U.S. electricity [SF Business Times [1]]

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URL to article: http://clog.dailycal.org/2011/04/13/medical-pot-not-as-green-as-you-thought/

URLs in this post:

[1] speeding along: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2011/04/12/marijuana-causes-global-warming.html

[2] emission sources: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2_human.html

[3] far : http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/12/climatechange

[4] Madjag: http://www.flickr.com/photos/madjag/9730353/

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