SXSW 2023

Green or Not? Is Cannabis Actually Good for the Environment?


The cannabis community has carefully cultivated a reputation of being environmentally friendly — but growing cannabis can actually be one of the most energy-intensive processes in agriculture. Depending on the cultivation setup, cannabis can consume up to 40 times the energy that it takes to grow leafy greens like lettuce.
Cannabis remains federally illegal, every state's cannabis industry is self-contained. It's as if every state where orange juice was sold also grew and juiced the oranges themselves.
Advocates say legalizing cannabis on the federal level is the fastest way to lessen environmental impact. Until that happens, these panelists are trying to solve the problem of how to control the environmental footprint of one of the nation’s fastest growing industries.

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  1. The surprising ways that cannabis impacts the environment and the solutions being proposed right now to mitigate the effect.
  2. How federal policy hurts the industry's ability to "go green" and what states and cities are doing to fill in the regulatory gaps.
  3. Where agricultural science and local regulations are headed next as a handful of newly legal states bring their recreational cannabis markets online.



Natalie Fertig, Federal Cannabis Policy Reporter, POLITICO

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Cannabis
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

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