The Canadian Cannabis Energy Challenge

In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the Cannabis Act and amendments to the Criminal Code to make non-medical cannabis legal in Canada by July 2018.  While the Cannabis Act provides for the federal government to regulate commercial production, provinces and territories will have authority (as they do also for tobacco and liquor) to regulate certain aspects, including:

  • Distribution
  • Retail sales
  • How and where it can be sold
  • Where it can be consumed in the province
  • And a range of other matters

It is not well known that the cannabis industry is an extremely energy-intensive industry, and arguably one of the most unsustainable growing industries in the world today.  Indoor-growing facilities require massive amounts of energy for lighting, venting and de-humidification.  Communities where cannabis was first legalized at the recreational level — such as the U.S. states of Colorado, Washington, and Oregon — have struggled to find effective solutions to manage the industry’s enormous energy requirements. In 2012, even before the legalization wave started in earnest in the U.S., 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, already rivaling energy consumption of data centers.

This specialized conference will explore the impact on energy consumption and power operations of the upcoming legal cannabis industry in Canada.  It will focus on evaluating key considerations and planning needs that the Canadian energy industry must confront when operating in a market for medical and/or recreational marijuana grows, and discuss the special due diligence required from the power sector, regulators, and cannabis industry to collaborate on best practices.