GOP Lawmakers Urge Dems To Consider Environmental Impact Of Cannabis Legislation


By Joana Scopel

Republican Reps. Earl Carter of Georgia and Doug Lamborn of Colorado urged Senate Democrats to conduct research into the environmental impact of their proposed cannabis legalization bill.

“The American people must have a better understanding of the environmental costs of this rapidly growing industry,” wrote the lawmakers, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“As Congress debates whether to advance marijuana legalization, the American people must have a better understanding of the environmental costs of this rapidly growing industry. If the Administration seeks to reduce emissions and protect our environment as aggressively as it has previously committed, we must have a comprehensive view of where emissions and other pollution occurs, as they will likely only grow,” wrote Carter and Lamborn.

Photo by Olena Ruban/Getty Images

Citing studies of the energy usage of the industry, the letter claims that indoor cannabis cultivation accounts for 10% of overall energy consumption in Massachusetts and cannabis grow emissions in Colorado are on par with trash collection and coal mining.

RELATED: NORML Op-ed: Prohibitionists Fear Democracy More Than Marijuana

Carter and Lamborn asked the four agencies for “detailed responses” to these questions by Nov. 30:

  • How does current marijuana legalization impact state energy consumption and emission levels?
  • How would federal legalization of marijuana affect national energy consumption and emission levels?
  • What is the anticipated growth of energy usage and emissions from the marijuana industry?
  • How will growing energy demands from the marijuana industry affect the reliability of our electric grid?
  • What impact do illegal marijuana growing operations have on the country’s water supply?
  • What harms do illegal marijuana growers’ use of various fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides pose to wildlife, habitats, and humans in the United States?

RELATED: Is Growing Marijuana Really That Bad For The Environment?

The letter was addressed to the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Departments of Energy, Interior, and Power in response to the bill released by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), entitled Cannabis Administration And Opportunity Act (CAOA) and presented in the Senate in July.

The bill includes plans to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge prior convictions and allow people who are serving time for applicable crimes to petition for resentencing, which also promotes social equity.

RELATED: Criminalization Of Weed Is A Waste Of Resources, Pennsylvania AG Says As Elections Approach

Schumer said that the proposal will “ensure restorative justice, public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations.” “The overwhelming evidence from the states that have legalized cannabis is there has not been an increase in crime and has not been an increase in drug use,” Schumer recently told reporters. “I think it makes a great deal of sense to legalize it.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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