How indoor cannabis could change the way we grow food

Cannabis legalization is expanding at a rapid clip into states not usually associated with large scale marijuana cultivation. This includes Midwestern states like Michigan and Illinois that don’t benefit from year-round sunshine like California, for decades the cannabis cultivation powerhouse of the United States. 

Even in the months when the climate is more mild, outdoor growing is usually not an option in these states. And because cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, producers and retailers can’t import it from states like California or Oregon. The result is indoor growing on a massive scale, which can take a serious toll on the environment. 

The cultivation challenges facing producers in places like the Midwest will have a big impact on how the legal cannabis industry looks in these states in the years to come. 

Getting it right from an energy and environmental perspective requires serious thought and planning, says Molly Graham, programs director for the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

“If energy efficiency isn’t considered at the outset of designing any indoor agricultural facility, a lot of energy will be wasted,” she told The Cannigma in an interview.

That planning in the world of cannabis and the innovation it leads to, explained Graham, who has written extensively on the subject of cannabis cultivation in colder climates, could help the broader world of agriculture move more crops indoors — to the benefit of consumers, the environment and local economies.

View the full Q&A at The Cannigma.