Total national carbon production from indoor cannabis production nationally was estimated by Mills to be 17 million metric tons in 2011, equal to 3 million additional cars on the road. Using Mill’s analysis would equal 560 million pounds of carbon emissions to produce the states crop estimated at 187,000 pounds, or 60,000 more cars on the road. These are astonishing numbers.
The paper also estimates that 3% of California’s power and 1% of the nation’s power is used in the production of indoor cultivated cannabis. Washington currently makes up 2.2% of the United States population. This translates into enough power to power 44,000 homes, which is likely an underestimate since Washington currently ranks within the top five cannabis producers and relies heavily on indoor production. Additionally, to produce the states crop indoors would require the disposal of 46,000 mercury and heavy metal laden HID light bulbs each year. It is incomprehensible that we would use so much energy and produce so much carbon for a non-food crop used primarily for recreation.
Currently much of the states crop is grown indoors to avoid detection. Transferring production from indoors to sun grown would have obvious and significant environmental benefit. The Washington State Department of Ecology should be involved in the implementation of I-502 to represent the state’s environmental interests and assess the environmental effects of cannabis production methods.
2) Adopt production and inventory caps based upon pounds of cannabis with three tiers of production.
Growers and processors would be allowed to produce and hold 1.5 times the amount of cannabis that they are allowed to grow under the respective tier. The excess cannabis could enter the market through raising of the caps by the LCB or the farmer could hold onto the excess to meet the next years quota. This approach gives flexibility to the grower, tools for the LCB to influence the market, and creates storage capacity essential for the proper function of any commodity market.
Tier I: License to sell 1000 pounds a year. Growers would be allowed to grow and posses 1500 pounds. Indoor operations would be limited to this tier. Tier II: License to sell 2500 pounds. Growers would be allowed to grow and posses 3750 pounds. Tier III: License to produce 10,000 pounds a year. Growers would be allowed to grow and possess 15,000 pounds.
(3) Limit past criminal offenses as grounds for denying a permit to violent or fraud based felony convictions.
A non-violent felony incurred for producing cannabis should not be grounds for denying a producers license.
(4) Give preference to licensing experienced growers who are already producing crops legally under a medical license. Cannabis is not an easy crop to grow. It requires an experienced eye to know the potency, its horticultural requirements, its mature state and how to produce the licensed amount. This is particularly important if the LCB intends to produce a crop this year. By giving preference to currently producing medical licensed growers, the state is assured that it can meet its cannabis production goals for 2013/2014.
(5) Require indoor operations to comply with SEPA and environmental laws.
Identify operations that need to obtain waste water discharge permits and require indoor growers to offset their carbon footprint through the purchase of carbon credits.
(6) Immediately limit the use of pesticides and herbicides while adopting rules for organic production.
(7) Adopt organic standards that include an evaluation of how sustainable different inputs are, inputs that are considered organic but are not sustainable should not be included.
Cannabis grown under artificial lighting would not meet the organic/sustainable criteria. It’s imperative that the LCB adopt rules that assure the public that the product is environmentally sustainable and safe to use. The successful implementation of I-502 depends on making the legal product the preferred product.
People are much more likely to buy a legal product that is produced sustainable and with minimum safety standards than cannabis from the unregulated black market where no such standards exist.
(8) Require growers to account for and publish the carbon footprint of the cannabis they produce.
It is very important for consumers to know their cannabis is produced sustainable and be given the necessary information to make informed consumer choices when purchasing cannabis.
(9) Applications and permits should be confidential from beginning to end, even those applications that are denied.
This is necessary for the protection of the producers and to prevent criminals from targeting producers and processors. Understanding that cannabis production is illegal at the federal level, confidentially of applicants and licensees should be strictly protected by the state.
2018 Copyright – Okanogan Cannabis Association. All rights reserved.
The OCA supports the economic revitalization of Okanogan County by supporting small scale sun grown cannabis producers and the safe, secure production of the state’s legal cannabis crop.
WA Sate Liquor Control Board: I-502 Implementation