Marijuana use, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes, is growing. Because some states prohibit growing hemp plants outdoors, much of the production is indoors—an energy-intensive operation that requires grow lights, air conditioning, and dehumidification.
Cannabis cultivation centers (where the plants are grown) have been likened to data centers, which are “50 to 200 times more energy-intense than a typical office building.” With more states expected to legalize recreational cannabis in the next few years (medical use is currently legal in 33 states, and adult recreational cannabis use is currently legal in 11 states), demand for marijuana will continue to grow, bringing with it strain on energy resources.
In Illinois, energy efficiency is a statewide concern, including in the cannabis sector. Under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, cultivation centers (where the hemp plants are grown) must have an energy and resource plan, including:
(i) energy needs, including estimates of monthly electricity and gas usage, to what extent it will procure energy from a local utility or from on-site generation, and if it has or will adopt a sustainable energy use and energy conservation policy;
(ii) water needs, including estimated water draw and if it has or will adopt a sustainable water use and water conservation policy; and
(iii) waste management, including if it has or will adopt a waste reduction policy.
The statute also specifies technological standards for the facility, including for lights, HVAC systems, automated water application, and water filtration.
These measures may be especially important due to the marked uptick in cannabis use during the COVID-19 pandemic, though overall electricity demand fell in the Midwest this spring, likely due to decreased manufacturing and other economic activity.
 Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Indoor Agriculture, https://www.mwalliance.org/initiatives/issues/indoor-agriculture (last visited Sept. 17, 2020).
 Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Legalized Cannabis and Energy Use https://www.mwalliance.org/sites/default/files/meea-research/cannabis_fact_sheet_2.19.20.pdf/.
 State Medical Marijuana Laws, Nat’l Conference of State Legislators (Mar. 10, 2020), https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx (last visited Sept. 17, 2020).
Marijuana Overview, Nat’l Conference of State Legislators (Oct. 17, 2019), https://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/marijuana-overview.aspx (last visited Sept. 17, 2020).
 410 Ill. Comp. Stat. 705/20-15(a)(18) (2019).
 Alison Stine, You Know What Else Has Sold Well During the Pandemic? Weed Edibles, N.Y. Times (Sept. 4, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/style/weed-edibles-pandemic.html.
 Daily electricity demand impacts from COVID-19 mitigation efforts differ by region, U.S. Energy Info. Admin. (May 7, 2020), https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=43636 (last visited Sept. 17, 2020).