The world we live in today is very environmentally conscious. Whether it is finding new ways to save energy or gas, thinking green is important. But, what does this mean for the marijuana farming community? More importantly, how does the marijuana farming industry effect the environment? With a community that is so obsessed with keeping things natural, are there hidden dangers to the world?
Every day the marijuana industry is growing, so does that mean the dangers are as well? With more states signing on for recreational use, is it only going to get worse? Here is everything you need to know about the impacts, small or large, that farming can have on the environment.
Environmental Factors :
There are different factors that go into determining whether or not something is having a negative impact on the environment. Experts study air quality, water quality and wildlife sustainability before making a final prediction. But, when it comes to marijuana farming, the testing is more difficult. This is because while marijuana farms are not a new thing, they have substantially grown over the past decade. This is because of the increase of states that have allowed for the legal use of marijuana. Many member of the cannabis community have joined at the ground floor and started cultivating their own fields of green.
As it stands right now, the marijuana industry is worth upwards of $2.5 billion dollars. If the industry keeps climbing, it can be worth as much as $30 billion by 2020. That means there will be a major increase in marijuana farms over the next five years. While growers tend to use land that is untouched and far from nature land markers, that type of land is harder to come by. We may even see an increase in farms being located near local rivers and streams. The biggest concern that experts have is how these farms will affect fish and aquatic life.
One of the biggest effects that experts see when it comes to marijuana farms is dead fish. Farms that are located too close to streams and rivers seem to have a major impact on the fish life. The main reason for this is the type of pesticides and chemicals that are used to cultivate marijuana. While these pesticides help to keep the plants safe, they may be doing harm to wildlife. The best way to combat this is to be sure that marijuana farms stay a safe distance from local water sources.
Energy Impact :
The other concern when it comes to marijuana farming is the effect it may have on energy. Cultivating marijuana takes a good amount of energy which may have negative effects on the environment. Because marijuana is in such high demand, farmers have had to find new ways to grow their product. This means that many farmers are now also cultivating in indoor greenhouses. While this may seem like a natural move, it does come with consequences.
Having an indoor greenhouse means that there will be more of a need for stronger lights and ventilation. All of this greatly increases the amount of energy that is used. According to a 2013 University of Berkeley report, these greenhouses use the same amount of energy as hospital operating rooms. According to the sudden increase in electricity can bring the overall state’s energy use up by as much as 0.8%.
What Can Be Done?
With the marijuana cultivation industry growing each year, what can be done to help reduce the carbon footprint? In some situations it can be as easy as making sure to find land far away from natural water sources. However, it isn’t always that easy. While the location can be easily changed, the energy that is used is far harder to regulate.
One thing that marijuana farmers can look into is alternative sources of energy. Some industries have turned to wind turbines to power their stations and greenhouses. Even local produce farmers are starting to explore these alternatives. It seems like a no brainer since the marijuana industry is invested in preserving nature. More states are expected to allow for recreational use of marijuana, so if something is going to change, it needs to happen soon.
There are other environmental factors to consider as well. From the effect on the ground and soil to how many natural resources will be needed to keep a farm sustainable. The hope is that newer marijuana farms take these studies seriously so that the marijuana industry can continue to be beneficial.