Cannabis industry is harming environment

Updated 4/26/2021 8:59 AM

Before counties, towns and cities in Illinois consider allowing cannabis grows or marijuana shops and services, they need to understand the environmental impact of this industry.

One seaside city in California that went in big for marijuana, Carpinteria, is now suffering the consequences of noxious odors which have made life unbearable for those living near the greenhouse grows or even a few miles away.


Colorado's indoor cannabis farms produce 30% more greenhouse emissions than the state's coal mining industry due to electricity use and natural gas consumption, according to study out of Colorado State University. Indoor marijuana growers use high intensity lights that must be kept on 24 hours a day. The carbon footprint is massive, generating up to 5,000 kg of CO2 per one kg of flower produced and straining the electrical grid to unreasonable proportions.

On the West Coast, outdoor growers divert natural streams and rob the water supply. Marijuana farmers destroyed the Northern California salmon fishing industry and are poised to do the same in other states like Washington and Alaska. A single cannabis plant demands about six gallons of water a day, almost twice the amount needed for a single grape vine. Both the illegal and legal growers are cutting down forests, using banned pesticides and rodenticides, killing species, and depleting resources with no accountability.

Some people who voted to legalize marijuana in California thought that regulation could be applied to this problem and stop the environmental damage. It didn't turn out that way. Just do an online search of marijuana and the environment, and the truth is there.

Marijuana growing is an environmental disaster, which interferes with the responsible stewardship of the planet. The environmental impacts cancel out any economic benefits.

Julie Schauer

Glen Ellyn

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