Op-ed: Five years after Amendment 64, Colorado’s marijuana crop is getting greener
After marijuana’s November 2012 victory at the Colorado ballot box, voters and state officials seemed oblivious to the fact that they had just green-lighted a huge agricultural industry.
Five years after Coloradans legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of Amendment 64, the state is more familiar with marijuana’s environmental impact, prompting some positive change in regulation and within the cannabis industry itself.
But the work isn’t finished.
Colorado was in unchartered waters as it embarked on implementation of Amendment 64 in late 2012 and 2013, but there was still reason in those early days to believe that environmental issues would prove paramount in the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The state could have looked to California – at the time, 16 years into medical marijuana legalization – for a glimpse at the task at hand. For instance, an April 2012 peer-reviewed study published in the journal Energy Policy determined that California’s indoor marijuana crop emitted as much CO2 as 3 million cars. The report found the grow ops were contributing to the climate shift that exacerbated the effects of drought.
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