Illinois Legislation Demands Sustainability From Indoor Cannabis Growers

NPR ( St Louis Public Radio) report

Both recreational and medical cannabis growers in Illinois will have to meet high standards for their energy and water use. 

state law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June places limits on the amount of water and electricity growers can use, as well as setting requirements for water runoff and wastewater.

“This is a high-resource-use industry, and it doesn’t have to be,” said state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago. “Illinois can show the way to do it in a better way.”

The legislation’s sustainability requirements for growers is among the strictest in the nation, according to Sam Milton, a consultant at Climate Resources Group, which helps businesses, regulators and other organizations pursue climate-friendly business practices.

“It definitely puts Illinois at or near the top in terms of state policies for energy and environmental performance for cultivation facilities,” he said.

Illinois growers must use automatic watering systems and limit how much runoff water they produce, according to the state law. They also have to collect and filter wastewater so that it could be used to water their plants in the future.

In terms of energy consumption, a grower can use no more than 36 watts per square foot for lighting the plants. That standard is similar to one in Massachusetts, but the Illinois law goes further. 

Cultivators can also must use high-efficiency lights approved by the DesignLights Consortium, a nonprofit organization that pushes for the use of high-performing commercial lights. 

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