Marijuana Growing Has to Change Its Energy-Hogging Ways

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- In Washington state, a land of tall evergreens and high-minded environmental principles, one wonders what could be greener than a pot farm. Think again.

Initial regulations of the state’s new legal marijuana industry seem to favor energy-guzzling indoor operations over outdoor farms. How did that happen?

After Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana more than a year ago, regulators created a system whereby the pot sold in 334 state-licensed private stores must be grown in-state and tracked “seed to sale.” The new rules limit marijuana farms to 30,000 square feet.


Indoor enterprises can yield three or four crops a year, while outdoor farms can only produce one or two.

Regulators weren’t trying to write environmentally tone-deaf rules, and they are open to change later. Several considerations forced their hands.

For one, they didn’t want big businesses to dominate. The rules are also supposed to help coax...

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