Outdoor cannabis cultivation can have several environmental benefits, from sequestering carbon to remediating polluted soil. But most U.S. cannabis is grown inside greenhouses with sophisticated climate-control systems and high-powered lights that require a lot of energy — over 1% of total U.S. electricity use. Seeing as cannabis is projected to have a $70 billion market by 2028, this energy issue has the potential to get a lot worse if left unchecked. Today, we discuss how cannabis cultivation affects the environment, the links between cannabis and climate change, and how policymakers could help steer the industry’s environmental, economic, and social impacts in the right direction. With special guest Dr. Brandy Phipps: Research Assistant Professor of Food, Nutrition and Health at Central State University.
The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise.
Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
Writers: Olivia Amitay, Maddy Schmidt, Ethan Brown
Fact Checker: Isabel Plower
Editor: Frank Hernandez
Producers: Olivia Amitay, Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, Dain Kim, Caroline Koehl
Ad Voiceover: Lindsay Cronin
Music: Brett Sawka
The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.