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Environmentalists alarmed at marijuana industry’s massive use of carbon-based electricity


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The nation’s booming marijuana sector is struggling to go green.
Analysts and state regulators say the cannabis industry — including states that have legalized recreational pot and those that offer it only for medicinal purposes — is outpacing many other areas of the economy in energy use, racking up massive electricity bills as more and more Americans light up.
“The basic issue is the lighting intensity inside these grow facilities is much, much higher than anything else. They like these facilities brighter than an operating room,” said Ron Flax, the chief building official in Boulder County, Colorado, who spearheads one of the nation’s leading programs designed to incentivize weed producers to cut their power use.
The county’s Marijuana Energy Impact Offset Fund, which tacks on a 2.16-cent surcharge for each kilowatt-hour of electricity used by grow facilities, is something of a model for other states, cities and counties that also recognize the growing energy drain that has resulted from the rapid expansion of legal cannabis.
Data show the issue, often lost beneath the societal and medical arguments around pot, deserves attention.:snip:

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