In Oregon, where there is a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability, a new study shows that the 40,000 Oregonians enrolled in the medical marijuana program are contributing to a large carbon footprint. The Oregonian published an article explaining Evan Mills', University of California's Lawrence Berkeleys National Laboratory's energy analyst, study.
The article reports the facts of the study and relates it to the Oregon for the local paper. It gives basic background information about the significance the industry has on U.S. electrical assumption. Although, the article is about a scientific study, the article is understandable and the facts are clear and concise.
Here is an example of the Oregonian's clear way of explaining the environmental impact of growing marijuana indoors:
Using the research techniques with which he analyzes the energy efficiency of appliances in cars -- the report has 22 footnotes -- Mills said a single "cannabis cigarette" represents two pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That's equal to burning a 100-watt lightbulb for 17 hours.
A Consumer's Report article gives the witty headline, "Growing marijuana gets you high ... energy costs, study finds." This article proactively responds to how the situation is going to affect the legalization debate claiming that the purpose of the report was not to give something anti-drug activists to attack, but rather to encourage energy-efficient production.
A New York Times article also reports on the findings. Like the Oregonian article it explains the scientific findings in a simple, understandable way. It lists the various factors causing the CO2 emissions and rise in energy costs. It also briefly comments on the economic factors of marijuana.
By some estimates, marijuana has long been the largest cash crop in the United States -- ahead of corn, soybeans and hay. The industry has been pegged at about $40 billion in value, with California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington the top five production states.
Even though, Oregon is not one of the leading production states. The Oregonian article found it significant enough to relate it to the state's medical marijuana program, and with the bordering states leading the industry it still affects the Portland Metropolitan area.
All of the articles report one source. I think it would have been better if an article reported the marijuana industry's position on the energy use. However, the analyst doesn't seem to blame the industry rather suggest that there is a more productive way it could be done, predicting a possible change in the industry. The Oregonian reports:
Marijuana users, legal dispensaries and equipment manufactures may have key roles in bringing about more energy-efficient growing operations, he said. Consumers increasingly look for assurances that food or other products were grown or made sustainability, and the same standards could be applied to pot.
Also, while nothing in this points directly to the Portland area, Oregonian's understand the truth in this statement. There is a strong emphasis on buying local, sustainable goods that reduce impact on the environment. I think this particular article is sufficient in covering the story and relating it to the demographics of readers.