With legalization happening left and right, many are starting to worry about the environmental impacts it has on the planet. The expanding trend to cultivate, grow, and sell marijuana has pushed many into the growing market. But with all this marijuana production, some are left to wonder the impact it has on the environment regarding power use, water use, and land use. While research is constantly being done about the harms the marijuana industry has on the planet, no hard evidence has been released saying this drug is any worse than other types of grown produce.

In the US alone, the legal cannabis market is expected to generate as much as $43 billion by the year 2025. For the illegal market, another $65 billion is estimated to be sold. To meet demand, these marijuana growers need to produce plenty of product.  When people grow more product, land, power, and water usage is drastically increased. Given the current problems we face on earth such as climate change and a lack of fresh water, many are asking, can we afford to produce billions of dollars’ worth of marijuana?

In many areas around the US that produce marijuana, freshwater can be lacking. This includes California where a severe drought has been occurring for quite some time. In California alone, they produce roughly 514 metric tons of cannabis each year. All of these plants require significant amounts of freshwater, furthering the drought in the dry state.

Within the next few months, expect a certified study to be released explaining the environmental harms cannabis has on the earth. Until then, we can only wait and encourage producers to make cannabis in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

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