Marijuana production uses 1 percent of all U.S. electricity

Unlike the smokable plant, marijuana production ain’t green.

Just a guess, but the driver of this van is causing global warming.

The driver of this van has no idea he's killing baby polar bears.

Marijuana has a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint, with indoor production consuming one percent of all electricity produced in the United States, according to a study.

The resulting carbon dioxide emissions from all those power plants is equivalent to operating 3 million badly painted Volkswagen Microbuses (see photo).

Here’s some more interesting facts:

* Energy costs account for 25 percent of marijuana wholesale costs.

* The energy required to produce one joint is equal to running a 100-watt light bulb for 17 hours.

* A four-by-four-foot lighted “production module” uses the same energy as 30 refrigerators.

Of course, after reading all that, you’re probably wondering how much in energy costs the U.S. could save if we just let people grow marijuana outdoors.

The answer? $5 billion, or 2.5 million pounds of weed.

115 comments Add your comment

Not true

April 14th, 2011
5:57 pm

Most marijuana is grown outdoors, and growing in a 4×4 space only requires 600 watts or less.

Not true

April 14th, 2011
5:58 pm

But I agree with your main thrust

Old Smoker

April 14th, 2011
7:33 pm

What a load. What in the world have YOU been smoking?


April 15th, 2011
7:33 am

what a lie. people will believe anything


April 15th, 2011
9:53 am

These nembers are stupid and VERY wrong. They are by no means, “facts”.Total BS.


April 15th, 2011
9:55 am

Got any “brownies”?

Oh yeah...

April 15th, 2011
9:56 am

just another reason to legalize it….

along with lower petroleum needs for products hemp would replace, like in carpeting, linens, paper products…

Or the job growth that would occur with legalization…
Or the tax revenue..
Or the fact that law enforcement could be re-focused on REAL issues.
Or the lower incarceration rates of the common user.
The list of benefits goes on & on and clearly outweighs any minor negative that conservatives throw out, which are usually rhetoric and opinion and never based on, you know, actual facts.


April 15th, 2011
10:08 am

This is directed at Not True, 600watts is nowhere near enough to grow indoors. most indoor operations ive seen use thousands and thousands of watts.

stoned again

April 15th, 2011
10:14 am

Daniel – you are the one who is full of…… i have actual experience and know of what i speak.

truly sad

April 15th, 2011
10:24 am

how long will we let bible thumping voters continue to supress the ‘devil-weed’? It’s proven to not be a gateway drug, it has valid medical uses, noone has ever overdosed, billions are spent policing it, a unruly and violent black market is the result of it being illeagal, and every year violent criminals get paroled to make room for non violent pot criminals. If you srtill think it should be illeagal, you are either blind or dumb or both.


April 15th, 2011
10:33 am

I wonder if the idiot author of this article realizes that he just libeled the owner of that VW bus.

Mary Jane

April 15th, 2011
10:35 am

This is an example of one of those articles that you read on the internet that are not true.
Just because you read it on line does not mean its true or even near the truth, such as this article.


April 15th, 2011
10:44 am

Another way to reduce the US’s energy dependence….. Make pot legal so it can be grown outdoors with natural light!!!

Paul Lagoon

April 15th, 2011
10:55 am

They fail to mention the amount of oxygen each plant can produce in its life cycle. I don’t know the exact number, but wouldn’t that make up for some, if not all, of the greenhouse gasses produced. This story is nothing but anti-cannabis propaganda.

Paul Lagoon

April 15th, 2011
11:01 am

“The driver of this van has no idea he’s killing baby polar bears.”

Well, so are you Einstein. Every time you turn on your computer to write one of your biased articles, you are consuming power. Therefor, you too are killing baby polar bears. Is your computer returning oxygen to the air?

Shannon, M.Div.

April 15th, 2011
11:02 am

NotTrue, oldsmoker, Cheech, and shaggy: FYI, “That’s not true!” is not a proper rebuttal. If you click on the associated link in the text, you can read the study–including an excellent graph that breaks down the component parts of marijuana production. If you’d like to rebut what you read there, I’m sure we’d all like to read it. On the other hand, if you want to just yell “No! Nonononononono!” then I (and probably other readers) will assume that you are partaking of the product in question.

This has been a message from your semi-friendly neighborhood critical thinking advocate.


April 15th, 2011
11:04 am

I happen to like the paint job on the VW.
At least the electricity is going to good use…unlike all the electricity it takes to power your stupid iphone.


April 15th, 2011
11:07 am

The funny thing is that the impacts in the argument they are trying to make are non unique. Why only focus on 1%. It is like they are trying to attribute high energy cost to pot heads. Here is an idea. How about mass media outlets stop publishing pointless stories and articles. If you think about the loss of production that occurs from all the people (myself included) who stop working to read this stuff, and then you think about all the energy that is spent from people running their computers and TVs to read or view these stories. To sum it all up, get rid of pointless media and save more money.

Not Stoned

April 15th, 2011
11:12 am

Legalize it, tax the hell out of it (remember the defecit?), say goodbye to the crime and $ spent policing it, and reduce the carbon foot print by growing it outside. I don’t smoke. Why is this not happening?


April 15th, 2011
11:13 am

I don’t need to read the study to know the authors twisted data to achieve their objective. All pot is not the same, not does it all cost the same on the street. Blanket assumptions such as the ones above are not worthy of public consideration.


April 15th, 2011
11:15 am

Hey Shaggy, are you HIGH? You spelled (Numbers) incorrectly. Your spelling of it was NEMBERS. Better get yourself a pound of that BUD son.


April 15th, 2011
11:18 am

I want to know who grew the weed to come to this conclusion? Who or what company participated in the study?


April 15th, 2011
11:18 am

I can’t believe that the AJC would write an article about the DEVIL’S WEED where CHILDREN could read it! It’s a true fact that marijuana kills more people in one year than alcohol and handguns combined. You can look it up on the internet it is totally true.


April 15th, 2011
11:18 am

What is the carbon footprint of 850,000 pot arrest each year?

Did this study mention the new high efficent LED grow lights. They use over 70% less the currently used HPS or MH. Maybe the growers just need to upgrade and they can cut their footprint to 0.03% of electric use. That way pot smokers can feel even better after smoking a Jay.


April 15th, 2011
11:22 am

True Christian. Look up the facts yourself first. No one has ever die from THC toxicity. #1 killer is Cigs, #2 poor diet and lack of activity, prescription drugs, cars crashes are all at the top. Stop the reefer madness, legalize it!!! Tax It!!! regulate it!! 70years of prohibition have made the cartels rich and our prisons full.


April 15th, 2011
11:30 am

Nobody smokes outdoor schwagg anymore……only the high grades that I sell


April 15th, 2011
11:35 am

TRUE CHRISTIAN, your ignorance is astonishing. That’s all I wanted to say.


April 15th, 2011
11:38 am

So legalize it so it can be grown outside where it belongs.


April 15th, 2011
11:39 am

TRUE CHRISTIAN, if you believe everything you read on the internet, you are in trouble.

your a moran

April 15th, 2011
11:51 am

cool story Hansel. LOL

I’d like to see the numbers on how much energy is wasted producing ciggarettes and fast food every day in this country. You know, two things that actually KILL people and are undoubtedly more harmful for your body than marijuana.

You anti-legalization people need to wake the f*ck up. For every single argument you have against legalization, there are a dozen better reasons to legalize. Get your heads out of the sand and think like adults. If you don’t participate, fine, but turning a blind eye to FACTS

your a moran

April 15th, 2011
11:51 am

your a moran

April 15th, 2011
11:52 am

… is beyond ignorant. Please DIAF.

Queen Nerfballteedi

April 15th, 2011
11:56 am

I like to get my smoke on after church. It helps me relax.


April 15th, 2011
12:14 pm

How is 1% Godzilla sized?

Just call me Barry

April 15th, 2011
12:20 pm

So, pot-smoking, hippy liberals are killing the planet. Now that’s really FUNNY!!!


April 15th, 2011
12:35 pm

mark gets it! this study needs to go back to the drawing board and take into account led’s. they use considerably less power and have different settings that can more closely mimic the sun. which takes us back to the legalize it so it can be grown outdoors without fear of prosecution argument.

George Mathis

April 15th, 2011
1:05 pm

MARK: Yes, the study (if you open the link) does mention new tech can save up to 75 percent in energy costs, I assume from LED lighting.

Really and Truly a Christian

April 15th, 2011
1:18 pm

Marijuana doesn’t kill. It is infinitely better than alcohol, if comparisons are required.
It is not a gateway drug. Or wasn’t to me, and all I know, at any rate.
I have never seen a mean or threatening user of marijuana. Alcohol, anyone?

Those that condemn haven’t toked, and believe the malarky.

And besides, it really shouldn’t be anyones business other than the user.

Finally, I don’t partake anymore, for reasons personal to me. No dog in the hunt. But being truthful.

Puff Puff Pass

April 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

You can grow with a 400 watt grow light and it uses the same energy as a desktop computer. It’s legal in most European countries. Not the drug of choice anymore, prescription pills have taken over! USA so far behind the rest of the world. Just tax the stuff and put the money in the gov to pay for schools and stuff like that. WEED IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE PEOPLE BECAUSE THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE!!!!!


April 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

Like the writer of the article, I too advocate growing your weed outside. Now we just need to figure out the problem of keeping the men with badges off our property!


April 15th, 2011
1:58 pm

I remember this party where we were all so stoned off our a–es that I actually was able to convince my friends that I changed water into wine. What dumb a–es, ..but I miss them – they were good people.

Relationship Expert

April 15th, 2011
2:04 pm

Who would have though that April 1 would arrive twice in one year?

Immoral Prohibition Drives It Indoors

April 15th, 2011
2:06 pm

If it were legal, as if should be, it wouldn’t be grown indoors so much at all; Dr. Robert Melamede (PhD biology) is a good source on why cannabis is healthy and should be legal, by the way. That flower power van stuff is typical slander: cannabis is the most beneficial plant (food, fuel, textiles, medicine etc) on Earth, it is not only some hippie sacrement from the civil rights era.


April 15th, 2011
2:08 pm

Ahhhh, more statistics about our favorite “evil” topic of the week.

The whole country is going to hell in a handbasket and we’re being asked to focus on a reasonably harmless, medically useful plant that’s been cultivated for many reasons, by many humans, for thousands of years. C’mon, folks, Thomas Jefferson grew a heap of hemp, but we aren’t taking his picture off the nickel, are we? (Hey, maybe that’s why we used to call ‘em nickel bags! )

In closing, 94% of all statistics are made up, and 82.5% of those are specifically designed to scare the intended audience…


April 15th, 2011
2:16 pm


Whata Joke

April 15th, 2011
2:23 pm

Absolutely false-who published this silly articvle/ stoned obviously.

This “fact//percentage” is SO EXAGERRATED IOT MAKES ME LAUGH!!

The streets would be 6 feet deep in ganka if this were true!!

In Jamaica it is not even 1%1


Senior hippie

April 15th, 2011
2:44 pm

Get over it America. Pot is here to stay. I’m a product of the 60’s. Loved it then, love it now. So all my 60ish pals hang out on weekends watching a race or grillin. Babyboomers just might have the numbers to vote it legal. If you politicians will step aside and stop trying to impress everyone with your squeaky clean lies maybe we could get it done. We know most of you probably smoke it too. Pot carries a stigma of long haired hippies on motorcycles, wild parties and orgies. I’ve seen it in the movies. So funny. We actually sit in the cubicle next to you, attend PTA meetings and occupy the front pew at church. I’m your grandpa or dad, or mama or aunt. I don’t have horns and I’m not running crazy thru the streets looking for something stronger. Just sitting back relaxing. I know cause I’m part of it. I’m ‘NORML’. Get over your fears and learn something. And dont trust all you read on the internet. Good grief you are gullible.


April 15th, 2011
2:47 pm

drug dealers and illegal drug users should be exterminated.


April 15th, 2011
2:49 pm

keep on using your pot. It just shows who the losers are, plus you won’t be competing with me on good jobs. But you can still mow my lawn.


April 15th, 2011
2:50 pm

it’s ganja, not ganka dork. ganka is what is between your legs