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US Marijuana Production Energy Costs Exceed $6 Billion


marijuana cannabis garden lighting lightsNew Frontier, the leading Big Data provider in the cannabis industry, analyzes the high energy costs associated with cultivating marijuana in its latest report, Illuminating Cannabis: The Future of Energy in the Cannabis Industry. Marijuana is the most energy intensive agricultural crop produced in the U.S. Its production consumes one percent of the country’s electrical output at a cost of $6 billion annually, using the energy equivalent of 1.7 million homes.

“Both operators and legislators will need to be very mindful of the high energy demands of the legal cannabis industry. Companies that adopt the most energy efficient practices will have an important cost advantage as the industry becomes more competitive and prices fall, and states that prioritize energy efficiency will reduce the fast-growing industry’s impact on the grid and on the environment,” said New Frontier Founder and CEO Giadha Aguirre De Carcer.

“Most key parties are not yet engaged. California and elsewhere has begun to address the destructive impacts of unregulated outdoor cultivation, but have yet to recognize what may be even greater environmental consequences from the prodigious amounts of energy used by indoor operations,” said Dr. Evan Mills, Energy Analyst and member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

High energy costs, which can account for as much as half of the total wholesale price, are driven by the electricity required to grow the plant indoors, manage the intense heat generated by conventional indoor cultivation lights, and the ventilation, cooling, water and humidity management systems required to maintain optimal growing conditions for the plants.

“The unrestrained use of energy to cultivate marijuana cannot be sustained. In this must-read new report for regulators, investors, and growers, New Frontier explains how energy saving opportunities, including those stemming from advances in technologies like LED lighting, can diminish the industry’s burden to our limited resources and overall environment,” said Dr. Joseph Romm, author of Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know and New Frontier Advisor.

This report looks at how those costs are impacting the industry and explores strategies growers can adopt to more effectively manage energy use. Topics covered include:

  • The Challenge of Conventional Lighting
  • The Market Forces Fueling Reduced Energy Use
  • High Costs of Promising Technologies
  • Lighting Innovation
  • Quality vs. Profitability

About New Frontier:
New Frontier is the first company to provide objective, sophisticated and comprehensive analytics and reporting for the nascent and underserved cannabis industry. New Frontier, the premiere Big Data shop in the sector, looks beyond the plant cultivation and distribution, to raise the industry bar and provide visibility into what will inevitably soon be a mature and more complex industry. New Frontier is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Source: New Frontier


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. twin 250w kind led units 3 fans 1 ac 50 bucks a month.The system is set in 3, 4 week cycles and barfs out “happy” every month.

  2. Fungi Sclerotia 1427 on

    the plants have the sentient capability of attaching themselves to power lines,
    tapping the electrical grid dry!

  3. Fungi Sclerotia 1427 on

    The sin of cannabis prohibition is the problem…
    making “crimes” out of things which aren’t “criminal”.

  4. You could alway plant a seed outside! And save yourself the 6 Billion!
    And when all you indoor guys start throwing your tizzies?
    Come on up! Anytime anyone wants to take the pepsi challenge head to Mendocino County:)
    We’ll leave the light on.

  5. saynotohypocrisy on

    I think the $5.4 billion is the legal market, including medicinal, but not counting any of the black market.

  6. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Sorry to hear about that abuse of power, so to speak, in Nevada. Ironically, there’s some very innovative ideas being put into action here in upstate New York, the land of rampant official hatred of cannabis consumers. Feel free to check out the website of Vireo Health NY dot com. Click on “About us” and then “Our facility,” which contains a nice little video featuring Vireo owner Dr. Kyle Kingsley (a legal medical cannabis grower in both Minnesota and New York). Dr. Kingsley’s renovating a shuttered juvenile detention facility into two main cannabis greenhouses. He calls it a “closed-loop facility where we take nothing from the environment” (except natural sunlight through solar). The Vireo complex is still under construction.

  7. Where are you guys getting the 5.4 billion when just last week the report came out that Colorado alone sold 1 billion?

    My electrical costs are 20% of the gross. To produce 10K (wholesale) it takes about 2K in power at a commercial price of 8 cents

  8. And yet total retail sales last year were only 5.4 Billion – something doesn’t add up. Oops – sorry Michael – I agree with your post.

  9. Solar is a perfect fit for growing cannabis however if you live in a backwards state like I do, NV, the power companies won’t buy back your excess power and will charge you more for your grid power. Now the solar energy firms out here are going broke and moving thanks to NV Energy. Hopefully it can be reversed but it will need political intervention so I’m not holding my breath.

  10. You have to remember the topic…MARIJUANA!!!!!

    Anything anybody says when talking about weed’s “insidious” nature always has to blow it way out of proportion. See, it will drain the US power supply and we’ll all turn into zombies.

  11. Running LED in a small tent with a Kill-a-Watt to monitor usage. At 25 days, with the lights, a 4″ exhaust fan and a small fan for air movement, I’m still under $8.

  12. Michael Hennigan on

    Gross revenue for the entire MJ industry was $5.4 billion, but electricity was $6 billion? Seems like nobody made any money. I believe your data is false. The MJ industry is making money, I would belive electrical cost to be around $2 billion.

  13. Nationwide legalization would solve the problem. The huge energy footprint comes largely from the need to hide it indoors and simultaneously maximize THC content to reduce transport quantity. Greenhouses with natural light will work just as well in most climates.

  14. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Enlightening update, Johnny Green. Thanks for sharing! The good people of New Frontier perform vitally needed analyses, and I look forward to many more reports. Steve DeAngelo, owner of Harborside in CA, has for years praised the quality of sun-grown cannabis over indoor crops. But outdoor grows face obvious pollination problems when cannabis hemp is cultivated by farmers. I wonder if it would help to build sophisticated glass greenhouses that use natural sunlight during the day, and solar-powered lighting at night (during the plants’ 24-hour light cycle). Such greenhouses would need to be 100 percent airtight to protect against pollen from the hemp fields, which do not require any artificial light.

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