The Cannabis Industry’s Energy Challenge


The cannabis industry is an extremely energy-intensive business, requiring massive amounts of energy for lighting, venting, and dehumidifiers essential for indoor-growing facilities. In 2012, one study found that legal indoor marijuana growing facilities accounted for 1% of national electricity use at a cost of roughly $6 billion per year, rivaling energy consumption of data centers.

States where cannabis is already legal have struggled to find effective solutions to manage the energy consumption of the industry. This is in part due to the ‘legal gray area’, given marijuana’s illegal status at the federal level, which makes utilities uncomfortable addressing the energy challenges of the industry.  Furthermore, utilities and regulators have not yet comprehensively considered and planned for the huge impacts the industry will have on their electric grid and power operations. To date, 25 states have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia have further legalized it for recreational use. That number is growing, as several states push for legalization at both a medical and recreational level, with five states— California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nevada— voting on legalization this November.

This webinar will explore the impact and consequences on electricity consumption and power operations of the rapidly growing cannabis industry in the United States. It will describe results of a recently finished study commissioned by the Colorado Energy Office on cannabis electricity consumption by region in Colorado from 2014-2016, and discuss the relevance of initiatives in Oregon and Colorado promoting energy efficiency within the industry. Furthermore, experts in the space will provide considerations and recommendations for effectively managing the massive energy requirements of marijuana growing facilities from the perspective of utilities, public utility commissions, state and local regulators, and marijuana industry representatives.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review cannabis industry growth on a national level and impact on electricity consumption
  • Assess energy requirements for a typical marijuana cultivation facility
  • Identify the impact of the cannabis industry to utility system operations and power grid
  • Recognize solutions for effective energy and regulation management of the cannabis industry
  • Review case studies of efforts to reduce power consumption requirements for marijuana growth



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.2 CEUs for this event.

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations and instructor discussions will be used in this program


  • Setting the Scene: The Rapidly Growing Cannabis Industry
    • Overview of legalization in states (existing and in advancement)
    • Regulatory update and current federal stance
    • Trends and projected growth in legal marijuana sales
  • Energy Intensity of Marijuana Cultivation Facilities
    • Energy needs for a ‘typical’ indoor grow
    • Cost of energy for grow operations
  • Impact to Utility System Operations
    • Regulatory ‘gray area’
    • Reliability concerns
    • Pricing methodologies
    • Role of legislature and PUC
    • Effect on enterprise operations, planning and reporting
  • Solutions for Effective Management of Cannabis’ Energy Requirements
    • Energy efficiency rebates and services
    • Electric rates to promote energy efficiency
  • Colorado
    • State cannabis energy consumption
    • Denver Cannabis Sustainability Working Group
    • Identifying best energy management practices in cannabis facilities
    • Xcel Energy’s role in efficiency/rebate programs
  • Oregon and Washington
    • State cannabis energy consumption
    • Case-studies for grow-op efficiency
    • Utility engagement
    • Recommendations for utilities


Emily Backus, Sustainability Advisor, City and County Of Denver

Emily Backus is a Sustainability Advisor with Denver Environmental Health’s Certifiably Green Denver program, where she assists businesses in a variety of sectors across Denver that seek to reduce their environmental impact, improve operational efficiency and save money. In addition to assisting typical businesses like restaurants, retail stores and offices, Emily works to develop green standards and certifications for local emerging industries including breweries and cannabis cultivation facilities.  As co-chair of Denver’s Cannabis Sustainability Work Group, Emily is leading development of a best management practices manual and environmental education for the industry. Emily has a background in hospitality management, environmental consulting and financial analysis and is an alumna of Cornell University.

Kelly Crandall, Senior Rates & Research Analyst, EQ Research

Kelly is a Senior Rates & Research Analyst at EQ Research, and is based in Denver, Colorado. Her areas of expertise include electric rate cases and rate design, solar policy, energy efficiency programs, renewable energy credits, electric resource planning, emerging utility industry trends, and energy data access and privacy.  Prior to joining EQ, Kelly was the Energy Strategy Coordinator for the City of Boulder, Colorado.

John Morris, CEO, Morris Energy Consulting

John Morris is the CEO of Morris Energy Consulting, an energy firm with a focus on, electric vehicles, policy and regulatory affairs, indoor agriculture and microgrids. His firm delivers services related to energy efficiency and smart load.  Previously, he was the Policy and Regulatory Affairs Director for CLEAResult where he managed energy efficiency policy in 14 Western States and Canadian Provinces.  Mr. Morris serves on the board of Drive Oregon, an electric vehicle industry association. At Drive Oregon, he chairs the Utility Working Group.  He also serves on the board of Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC), an energy efficiency industry association, for which he chairs the Energy Policy Committee.  In addition, Mr. Morris is a co-founder and board member of the Resource Innovation Institute, whose mission is to provide certification standards, technology reviews and a market-based platform for best practices on resource conservation in the cannabis industry.

Jacob Policzer, President, The Cannabis Conservancy

Jacob Policzer is the Co-Founder and President of The Cannabis Conservancy, a standards developer and certification body that focuses on sustainable cannabis cultivation. TCC’s mission is to empower and assure that the regulated Cannabis Industry achieves environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

Jacob’s career has encompassed the fields of environmental science, environmental management and sustainable agriculture. He has worked on research projects and farms worldwide in the areas of sustainable design, permaculture, ecosystem management, as well as, traditional and alternative energy and water management. Jacob received a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies at Emory University and a M.Sc. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management through the MESPOM EU consortium focusing on Urban Agriculture Sustainability. While studying at the Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University (Sweden), he co-authored the Strategic Energy Solutions: A Case Study of the Öresund Region report. Throughout his career, Jacob has strived to find innovative and pragmatic solutions to the world’s complex environmental problems and is now applying his knowledge and experience to address the environmental issues pertaining to the cannabis industry. Jacob is currently a member of the Denver Department of Environmental Health’s Cannabis Sustainability Work Group.


You can purchase a recorded stream of this event instead of the CD-ROM version.

Event Standard RateAttendees
On-Demand Download US $ 295.00

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