Cannabis and Massachusetts Energy Efficiency

Earlier this month, Climate Resources Group had the pleasure of addressing the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Council to educate Councillors about the energy footprint of the legal cannabis industry in the state. My overarching points that cannabis cultivation is extremely energy intensive, is on the cusp of exploding in the Bay State, and merits consideration in the state's next 3-year plan were, I think, well-received. Feel free to download and use the memo. If you share it, I'd be curious to hear what kind of response you get. Stay tuned, and watch this space. ...
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The Politics of Sustainability

The Politics of Sustainability

Cannabis Business Times recently featured an article I wrote, titled "The Politics of Sustainability: How to work proactively with city and state energy and environmental officials to keep you clear of citations, and make your grow more sustainable." Below is the lede, and you can find the whole article here: When it comes to energy and the environment, there is bad news and good news for cannabis growers. The bad news is the Trump Administration has abdicated much of its responsibility to protect the environment, and the cannabis industry—particularly energy- and water-intensive commercial-scale growing and processing facilities—will be squarely in the crosshairs of state energy and environmental regulators as a result. The good news, however, is that this presents three prime opportunities for cultivators: To come together to work with policymakers to craft regulations that make sense for the industry and the environment, To explore innovative ways to reduce the energy and environmental impact of cannabis production, and To brand the cannabis...
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Climate Resources Group Comments to Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission

Climate Resources Group Comments to Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission

October 17, 2017 Cannabis Control Commission One Ashburton Place, Room 313 Boston, MA 02108 Via email to CannabisCommission@State.MA.US ATTN: Regulations Dear Members of the Cannabis Control Commission, My name is Sam Milton, Principal of Climate Resources Group, a consulting firm based in Arlington, Massachusetts. These comments pertain to the development of regulations for the adult use of marijuana in Massachusetts, and I am submitting them on behalf of the firm. We are grateful for the work of the Cannabis Control Commission and its commitment to meet the objectives laid out in Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017.  The purpose of these comments is to highlight two of the legislature’s mandates and to underscore their importance to the Commission’s overall success: SECTION 57.  “The Massachusetts cannabis control commission … shall provide recommendations to ensure farmers’ access to marijuana licenses and to allow for the growth, cultivation, production and harvest of marijuana on farm or agricultural lands…” SECTION 78. “The Massachusetts cannabis control commission shall establish energy and environmental standards …...
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Top 10 Pre-Hurricane Preparations

Top 10 Pre-Hurricane Preparations

Our man on the ground, Craig Kelley, offers tips for how Catabrigians and others in the path of this week's major storm can stay safe and secure. These 10 tips are useful for anyone looking down a severe weather event, so bookmark this page and review often! ** Hey Everyone: Hurricane Jose is on its way to New England, and while it is likely to be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it gets to Massachusetts, it may still bring high winds and heavy rains to Cambridge. Ideally, we won’t get anything more than a big storm. Still, while the City and Eversource will have staff on hand to respond to emergencies as they may arise, the first step in being prepared and staying safe starts with you. And as September is National Preparedness Month, this is a good opportunity to think about how you’ve planned for emergencies and to test out some of those plans. Please share this email with anyone you...
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Forgot Something, Commissioner Hoffman?

Forgot Something, Commissioner Hoffman?

Last week, Massachusetts’ newly-formed Cannabis Control Commission held its first formal meetings. At its second meeting, the Commission distributed a draft working agenda (whether the CCC intended its release is not clear, but regardless the document is now publicly available - though buried - on the Mass.gov website. H/T to Dan Adams of the Boston Globe for turning it up). The agenda helpfully shows the issues the Commissioners are planning to tackle and how they are divvying up the job. It’s an eye-opening document and a welcome sneak peek into a state bureaucracy getting to work. If not no other reason, it's worth a look to see how Bain trains its people to organize projects. Glaringly absent from the list, however, was any mention whatsoever of the Commission’s statutory obligations to create energy and environmental performance standards for marijuana cultivation facilities operating in the state or a plan to involve traditional agriculture. A charitable reading of the list suggests that of course...
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Massachusetts Poised to Lead in Green Weed

Massachusetts Poised to Lead in Green Weed

Massachusetts and California continue to battle it out for the title of “The Cleanest and Greenest State,” this time on the cannabis front. Voters in California and Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana in November 2016. Each state already had medical marijuana on the books, though California’s legal market has been operating since 1996, nearly 20 years before Massachusetts’ foray into legal weed. California regulators have been exploring the energy and environmental implications of a legal market for marijuana within their borders for several years now. CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, California’s official cannabis licensing organization, recently completed its draft Program Environmental Impact Report (with the final due out this fall), and The California Public Utilities Commission separately is investigating the impact on energy consumption and the power grid. Massachusetts is taking a similar approach, with lawmakers charging its nascent oversight agency, the Cannabis Control Commission, with establishing energy and environmental standards for licensees operating in the state. For the Bay State, this is a major...
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Why I Formed Climate Resources Group

I got my first taste of the urgency of climate change while spending a summer as an unpaid intern at an energy and environmental NGO in Dakar, Senegal. I was fresh out of a two year-long post-college experience in Washington, DC, and I wanted to get back to West Africa, were I had spent a year abroad in college. At ENDA-TM, I read for the first time the UNFCCC reports on climate change and desertification. Later during my stint working in rural Senegal on a fuel switching program to encourage villagers to purchase kerosene stoves instead of harvesting and burning shrubs, for the first time I began to appreciate the human dimensions of climate change, which for this part of the world largely meant more heat, less rain, less forest, more desert. A spark went off within me. I took my newfound passion for finding more environmentally sustainable ways to meet our basic (and not so basic) energy needs to New England, where...
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Can New England Innovation Make Cannabis Greener?

Can New England Innovation Make Cannabis Greener?

As I sat in a jam-packed conference room at last week’s NESEA BuildingEnergy Boston conference to learn about the energy consumption profile by commercial-scale cannabis production (a.k.a. the “Cannabis Cultivation Conundrum”), I was struck by three major themes. First, cannabis cultivation can be enormously energy intensive, and legal demand for marijuana in our region will very likely be driving up energy and water use. Every state in New England now permits marijuana consumption for medicinal purposes, and voters in both Massachusetts and Maine recently passed ballot referendums legalizing recreational use as well. Medicinal growers can produce in all states save Connecticut, and large-scale commercial growers are already preparing to set up shop across the region, particularly in Massachusetts where legal recreational use is imminent, pending regulatory fixes by legislators. At the relatively staid energy efficiency and green building conferences I typically attend, one rarely sees speakers mobbed like rockstars by audience members gobbling up information. By comparison, this panel sparked great enthusiasm,...
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