State MMJ Rules Could Force Truly Green Industry
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State MMJ Rules Could Force Truly Green Industry
Posted by CN Staff on May 09, 2010 at 05:09:41 PT
By Heath Urie, Camera Staff Writer
Source: Daily Camera
Colorado -- A state bill that would set broad regulations for the burgeoning medical marijuana industry would likely have the unintended side effect of forcing all dispensaries in Boulder to use 100 percent wind or solar energy. House Bill 1284, which appears to be on its way to the governor's desk this week, would contain a provision requiring all dispensaries to grow at least 70 percent of the marijuana they sell.
At the same time, regulations being considered in Boulder -- which will likely be approved May 18 -- would require dispensaries that grow any amount of their own product to offset 100 percent of the electricity they use by subscribing to wind power, connecting to a community solar garden or using on-site solar panels. The combination of the state and local laws, if left unchanged, would likely mean each of the 100 licensed dispensaries in Boulder would have to go to all-clean energy. That has some dispensary owners, and some city officials, split on the idea.  'A Dangerous Precedent' Several members of the City Council have said the medical marijuana industry should offset the greenhouse-gas emissions generated by the high-wattage growing lamps, fans, ventilators and other equipment required to cultivate the plant indoors. But Councilman George Karakehian said imposing strict rules for one category of businesses is "setting a dangerous precedent." Karakehian, a businessman who owns Art Source International on the Pearl Street Mall, warned his colleagues that forcing any one type of business to use renewable energy isn't fair. "I don't feel like it's good government to impose rules on one group for just an arbitrary reason," Karakehian said. "There are other big users of electricity. Why aren't we doing anything about them?" Karakehian suggested that the council singled out marijuana businesses on the electricity issue "because we could," but he doesn't think he has the votes to change it. Suzy Ageton and Matt Appelbaum were also among the minority of council members who oppose the move. "I'm uncomfortable with the fact that it's in the ordinance," Ageton said. Appelbaum agreed. "You do not single out one particular type of business," he said. Appelbaum said he would likely support a commercial energy conservation ordinance that would apply to all businesses over time, but starting out dispensaries at 100 percent renewable energy is "a little too much, a little fast." He said he's hopeful he can convince his colleagues to reconsider. "Maybe we'll get some more traction on it," he said. "I don't think the debate is necessarily done on this issue." Despite their opposition, Karakehian, Ageton and Appelbaum voted to approve the new regulations on second reading last week. Ryan Hartman, a co-owner of the Boulder Wellness Center, 5420 Arapahoe Ave., said the proposed state and local laws already carry hefty licensing fees that could top tens of thousands of dollars. He's concerned that the added costs of having to subscribe to Xcel Energy's Windsource program, or purchasing solar equipment, would further hurt small dispensaries like his. "Everyone has this idea that you open up a dispensary and within a month you're rich," he said. "I don't have a car because everything I make goes back into the business." He said he wouldn't mind setting a goal for his company to use 100 percent renewable energy within a few years, but he doesn't think the city should mandate it.  Cost vs. Benefit According to officials at Xcel, the average small business in Colorado uses 1,123 kilowatt hours of electricity a month and has a monthly bill of about $122. According to The Climate Trust, a national group that provides carbon offsets for governments and corporations, an average 3,000-square-foot business emits 34 to 46 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year. Windsource -- which, despite its name, doesn't actually change where a company's electricity comes from but rather provides funding for expanding renewable energy sources -- is available at a rate of $2.16 per 100 kilowatt hours, in addition to the regular price of electricity. Buying enough Windsource to offset 100 percent of an average small businesses' electricity would add $26 a month to their utility bills, an increase of about 21 percent. It's not clear how much more electricity an average marijuana growing operation requires. Ernie Travis, a co-owner of Boulder Vital Herbs, 2527 Broadway, said his electric bill is about triple the average small business -- at $600 to $700 a month. His operation grows about 200 plants at a time, using seven 1,000-watt bulbs and six 400-watt bulbs. He said he's all for a renewable-energy mandate. "I would do that in a heartbeat," he said. "I actually think about the amount of coal it takes to run my garden." His only reservation, he said, is the added cost. "Green usually means expensive," he said. Under the city's proposal, auditors would have the right to inspect dispensary utility bills to ensure compliance with the law. It would also give the city a good idea of how much energy the businesses are consuming. Under Boulder's proposal, dispensaries would also be allowed to subscribe to a community solar garden. State lawmakers earlier this month approved a bill allowing the gardens, which in concept will allow people and businesses to receive a credit on their utility bill for owning a share of solar power generated at an off-site location. But it's not yet known what level of investment in a solar garden a business would have to make to cover all of its electricity use.  Protecting The Planet Councilman Macon Cowles, one of the strongest advocates for requiring marijuana to pay for its own electricity with renewable sources, said he's convinced that dispensaries use a disproportionate amount of energy that contributes to greenhouse-gas emissions. "It seems to me that it's important that (the medical marijuana industry) not harm the planet in the long run and not make it harder for Boulder" to reach its climate action goals, he said. Cowles said the electricity for his five-bedroom, 4,800-square-foot home in north Boulder has been 100 percent offset by Windsource power for years. He said the added cost of wind power is mild compared with what the state wants to charge for a dispensary license, and the city's requirement probably won't close dispensaries. "I don't think it's going to push them out of business," he said. Cowles successfully lobbied the council Tuesday to remove a provision from the proposal that would have allowed dispensaries and growing operations to buy their way out of the requirement by purchasing certified Renewable Energy Credits or carbon offsets. The council has one last chance to amend the ordinance, during the final reading of the proposal on May 18. Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)Author: Heath Urie, Camera Staff WriterPublished: May 8, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Daily CameraWebsite: openforum dailycamera.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on May 14, 2010 at 19:54:49 PT
US CO: Final vote on city’s medical marijuana ordinance set for Tuesday Webpage: 14 May 2010Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on May 10, 2010 at 06:57:31 PT
Oops. Sorry.
Guess I got all "boorish" there. Wouldn't want to get all "boorish" on them.I should be more sensitive. Come on cannabis industry. Show them how it's done... being green... not boorish. I know you can, if anybody can.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on May 10, 2010 at 06:47:03 PT
Well sure you do...
"You do not single out one particular type of business,"If you want to show the world what a big ____ you are about medical cannabis dispensaries.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on May 10, 2010 at 06:33:54 PT
:o)Yes, it would.
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Comment #12 posted by b4daylight on May 09, 2010 at 23:59:31 PT
Wouldn't that be great if they created their own energy from this legislation :). So long monopoly we have canna power. 
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Comment #11 posted by herbdoc215 on May 09, 2010 at 20:59:33 PT
The best pot will be grown indoors, legal or not!
Which is why in California Indoor pot gets double or MORE in price at every club in the state...I'm sure patients are all just paying double because they have all been fooled that the quality is twice better and the taste is 20x better? All those fairy tale believers whom think their "organic" outdoor is killer I say 'big up yourself' because your as lucky as the guy whom actually thinks Night Train wine tastes quite fine and anything more spent upon alcohol is a waste of $. We can all pretend all we want but the market is a pretty sensible indicator? I have never seen an ounce of outdoor weed from ANYWHERE that would compare or trade with a quarter bag of killer indoor from a real grower that knows what they are doing??? All I can say is, close your eyes and repeat, there's no place like home, three times and you might wake up in Eureka,Ca. peace, steve
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Comment #10 posted by runruff on May 09, 2010 at 16:20:54 PT
To know what I know now!
Chris Romer is an M.T. Suit. He is getting all this free publicity just by being in the way.His base of no sayers and sayers of nay will remember "Little Chris" and his efforts to confound and confusticate the devils plans!It was brave Little Chris who stood up to the invasion of our children's fragile world of wholesome righteousness. In short, Little Chris is posturing. These are old dog political tricks he no doubt learned from his father.I am betting that Little Chris is betting on the wrong horse. MMj first and then recreational herb will become the norm and this push button issue for ambitious little twirps like this one, will be no more! 
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Comment #9 posted by ripit on May 09, 2010 at 16:04:47 PT
they don't make bars
brew 70% of their own beer now do they?and show me a single pharmacy that produces even 0.01% of their stock! and if i was growing outside or in a greenhouse wouldn't it solar powered anyway?i will never understand why they need to have and hold so much power over others like this!
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Comment #8 posted by ezrydn on May 09, 2010 at 15:50:27 PT:
Just allow it to be freely grown outdoors. Problem solved. Plant has been doing it for thousands of years without electro's help.
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Comment #7 posted by Nic on May 09, 2010 at 14:03:55 PT
re: comment # 2 Good Grief
I agree.In the meantime remember in this LandYou have a Brother
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Comment #6 posted by EAH on May 09, 2010 at 13:24:15 PT:
More misguided policy making.
To Storm Crow
The carbon accumulated in cannabis doesn't stay there long. Cannabis is a part of cycling carbon, like all life. Harvesting and burning it releases it again. Our problems with carbon have to do with taking vast amounts of carbon that had been stored by nature in the form of coal and oil for millions of years and releasing it into the atmosphere. Billions of TONS of carbon that had been locked up underground is now added to our biosphere. What is needed is to find a way to re-store all that added carbon. It seems that some has been absorbed by the oceans so far, but that is starting to acidify the oceans and real problems are happening from that. Allowing the regrowth of forests helps some, but we really have to stop releasing more carbon from long term storage.ColoradoAs far as producing cannabis for legal distribution, the problem is that no authority understands what is needed and what would work best or how to achieve it. How we treat cannabis in America needs to be fundamentally reworked. The existing prohibition for recreational use and its legacy is that it has so far been impossible to properly supply the medical needs with quality product, produced ecologically at sensible reasonable prices because of all the fear and ignorance and the stupid compromises that are made to make the prohibs less unhappy.Indoor growing only came into being because of prohibition. It is an environmental DISASTER! It is extremely expensive. It is also completely UNNECESSARY! Everything about it causes environmental problems, from 
the energy used to generate the electricity, to the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the disposal of used bulbs and growing mediums, and on and on.
The only reason for it is the fact that the authorities are unwilling to establish
a system of normal agricultural production. If it could be done outside, and in large scale or in large scale commercial greenhouses, quality could attain the highest level and in ways that don't use resources needlessly.
Commercial greenhouses could be secure, use natural light, use organic 
methods of fertilization and pest control. While it may be that most commercial flowers are not grown organically, there's no reason cannabis couldn't be completely done that way.Forcing dispensaries to go to all this hassle and expense to use clean energy
to produce in limited quantities onsite is like asking wine shops to grow the grapes onsite too. The fact is that the best way to supply it commercially is to license large growers who would be producing it in the normal natural way of growing in soil with sun. The model is along the lines of wine grape growing
where intensive cultivation is essential to top quality. Also like local family farm 
organic food production where production is by the acre, not the square foot.
The cost per oz would be WAY lower, the energy use of that would be WAY lower, the sustainability
is WAY higher. It is the optimum solution. But because we fight to a draw about everything these days we never get optimum soluions
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Comment #5 posted by Storm Crow on May 09, 2010 at 10:56:10 PT
And a small detail...
Those plants EAT CO2!That is a fact straight out of elementary school biology 101! (I guess they flunked it.) Shouldn't dispensaries be getting at least a small CARBON CREDIT for the CO2 the plants absorb? 
And all those Colorado business men ought to remember that old quote- which I have altered a bit to fit the times
"First they came for the Co ops but I was not a member so I did not speak out. Then they came for the dispensaries and the their growers but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the liquor stores, tobacco stores and gun shops, but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."Colorado businessmen beware! One by one, one business type at a time, they will pick you off. Divide and conquer still works. If they can do it to dispensaries, they can do it to YOU! Think about it!
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on May 09, 2010 at 10:27:27 PT
This probably isn't about green so much as it is about putting as many roadblocks as possible in front of medical marijuana dispensaries that will be mandated as grow operations.Here's a more fair approach, if green is really the interest; have a drastic reduction in licensing fees for each year a business operates on 100% solar or wind. Or a sliding scale of fees relative to percentage of renewable energy used. The businesses can apply the capital they save in fees to solar equipment and alternative energy subscriptions. And make it for any licensed/fee regulated business, not just dispensaries. Most people on our side of the fence are all for green, (pun intended), but lets be honest about it.
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Comment #3 posted by rchandar on May 09, 2010 at 09:56:27 PT:
Hey, Guys...
I think we should accept the challenge and exceed it. Whenever there's a noteworthy civil-rights issue such as MJ, the pols try to squeeze us with some difficult-sounding restrictions.When the Boulder government finds out that we're not discouraged, and that we could keep an operation running, and running well, by their rules, it's a good sign for us. We will buy more voting power this way: meaning, it will be tougher for them to revert to the old prohib system that they may prefer.--rchandar
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on May 09, 2010 at 09:10:10 PT
Good grief.
It's obvious they are all into discouraging the dispensaries on every hand.Next dispensary workers and owners will have to wear a special hat to operate and stand on one leg on a special and expensive stool, only available from the state every other year on Tuesday, if it lands on a cold day in June, to do it, and count the money in a particular way and order, or an "auditor with a gun" will arrest them if they wiggle the wrong finger on the wrong hand before the sale is complete.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on May 09, 2010 at 06:37:52 PT
Too far out.
forcing all dispensaries in Boulder to use 100 percent wind or solar energy. ???Wow. Even the thought. I know Boulder is interested in green but I don't honestly believe this will happen.
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