Colorado's legal cannabis farms emit more carbon than its coal mines
In Colorado, the emissions add up to around 2.6 megatonnes of CO2e, which is more than that from the state’s coal mining at 1.8 megatonnes of CO2e.
“The emissions that come from growing 1 ounce, depending on where it’s grown in the US, is about the same as burning 7 to 16 gallons of gasoline,” says Summers
The carbon footprint of the cannabis industry is even larger than this study indicates, says Evan Mills, formerly at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, as the team didn’t look at emissions associated with storage and processing.
Illegal cannabis production is also likely to be more highly emitting, he says. “The energy profile of black-market production is distinctly different in that it frequently involves on-site diesel generators, which are often less efficient and more polluting per kilowatt-hour than grid-purchased electricity.”