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  • Olivia Castro

Are Marijuana Farms Sustainable?


As time goes on, more and more marijuana farms are popping up as states continue to legalize medical or recreational programs. But this has many people asking, are marijuana farms sustainable?


As cannabis becomes legal state by state, there are more marijuana farms today than there ever have been before in the United States. But do these farms impact the environment? Are they sustainable over time?


Here at West Virginia Marijuana Card, our goal is to not only be your number one choice for your medical marijuana card but also your main source of marijuana news in the state. In today’s article, we will be getting into some new studies that determine if marijuana is a sustainable industry.


Do Cannabis Farms Affect the Environment?

A new study based in California was recently published that suggested outdoor marijuana farms may not be as bad for the environment as previously thought. Marijuana farms were traditionally thought to be unsustainable due to the amount of water that they intake. This new study showed that they may not use as much water as previously presumed. It showed that marijuana even used less water than almond farms which are California’s top agricultural crop!


Both almond farms and cannabis farms were seen as unsustainable due to the large amount of water these crops used. Yet this study is showing something different. This new study isn’t showing that marijuana farms are more sustainable but they are showing that they are not any more “thirstier” than any other crop that is grown in California. It even showed that legal outdoor marijuana farms used a similar amount of water to tomato farms which are abundant in the state.


An easy way to look at sustainability is to look at the output of a crop produced per single gallon of water that is used to grow that crop. For example, crops like tomatoes and almonds produce about a tenth of a cent to 2 cents in value for every single gallon of water used to produce them. This means they take up way more water than the produce is even sold for at the end of the day.


On the other hand, marijuana is produces on average $7 worth of value per single gallon used. In this sense, cannabis is by far more water-efficient and sustainable than any other crop that is produced in California!


Although this study is a great start, there is still so much more work to be done. First, this study only focused on legal outdoor growing in California. The study could expand to look at unregulated farms producing marijuana that haven’t reported any water usage data. Next, California is a state that is known for having water insecurity because of droughts and wildfires. Other states, such as Colorado or Oregon, that have outdoor marijuana farms may use less water due to rainfall and humidity in the air.


Either way, this study was a great start and gives hope to the marijuana community that sustainability can be implemented within the industry!



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