Publication Date

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Frances L. Edwards


Sustainable Cannabis Policy, California Municipalities, Legalized Cannabis Industry, Cannabis Carbon Impacts, Local Cannabis Regulations, Energy Efficiency Standards


As cannabis cultivation can be highly energy-intensive, the legalization of cannabis growing has created concerns for energy forecasting, electric system reliability, rate design, and energy efficiency policies, as well as possible ramifications for the state’s electricity grid (California Energy Commission, 2018b). Indoor cannabis cultivation in California accounts for 3% of the state’s total energy consumption (Mills, 2012), and as the industry continues to grow, its energy consumption will result in significant greenhouse gas emissions, unless otherwise mitigated (Warren, 2015). The addition of a new industry that is highly energy-intensive, such as the legalized cannabis industry, is a problem for California. The legalized cannabis industry’s high demand for energy consumption will result in significant greenhouse gas emissions, leading to higher concentrations in the atmosphere, and may adversely affect local governments’ climate goals, if renewable energy and energy efficiency standards are not incorporated when developing local cannabis regulations in accordance with new state regulations.

The research question of this study is, have municipalities in California developed local regulations to address the high energy consumption of cannabis cultivation and its resulting carbon footprint?