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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