back to article STONERS are DESTROYING the PLANET

"Let's find out what everybody is doing – and stop them doing it" – A P Herbert Stoners are helping destroy the planet. Not by excessive snacking, but thanks to the high-energy demands of indoor marijuana cultivation. So says a US Government policy analyst with a Puritanical streak and an EYE for a SHOUTY HEADLINE. Evan Mills …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    It's official.

    The ecofundies have gone to pot.

    If you'll excuse the corny line. *Hemp*. Yes, that's a hemp-woven smoking jacket. Why do you ask?

  2. Arctic fox

    I think there is no doubt whatsoever that marjuana has a major effect on the......

    .......upper atmosphere. Well at least the longer the evening goes at the parties I attend the higher the atmosphere gets!

  3. Leona A

    but they don't care.

    The growers don't care about energy costs, they usually use abandoned buildings, by pass the power supply, no doubt all the kit is stolen, so telling them they are using too much power is really going to fall on 'deaf' ears! Get real Maaaan .....

    1. maclovinz

      Wow, how ignorant...

      So, ALL growers use this method of theft to grow their herbs?

      The ignorance of people who don't know, don't research, and don't WANT to know is ASTOUNDING.

      Smiley - Mr. Nice Guy

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      bit of a blanket statement.

      I know several gardeners whom use hydroponics for chillis, toms, melons etc.

      They ALL pay for their leccy...Because they arent greedy bastards and will get more back in weight than £ spent on the leccy....

      £10'er a gram these days.. Robbing cunts.....

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Except that

      It's legal to grow in the enlightened state of California, with the appropriate license.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        isn't that only 'medical marijuana' ?

        punter: doctor, i've got a terrible migraine that just won't shift and my friend told me that weed is the only thing that works (for MS, glaucoma too etc).

        the good doctor: that's no problem madam, would you like some bubblegum or white widow?

  4. Chris Hatfield

    Evan Mills can..

    ...fuck off and die. Don't plants convert CO2 to O2 during photosynthesis?

    Why can't we grow the sacred herb in hot countries and import them? Oh yeah, that's right, due to silly, unjust laws. We wouldn't want to threaten the alcohol industry.

    I'm about to warm up my Volcano to vaporise some fine herbs.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      They did it to me, so I know I'm right.

      It's not the alcohol industrial complex fighting legalization, as much as it's the cops and lawyers and judges (all of whom may be in a hostage situation)...

      Let me explain. Pot can be smuggled to a college town by cops and other people in power, then sold to kids for profit #1. Then said consumers are arrested, and charged, and ultimately pay both a fine the community, and likely hire a lawyer. Both are profitable for the community.

      Is the corruption handed down from generation to generation? Yes! Any good cop, lawyer or judge is secretly ostracized or threatened into maintaining the outward appearance of Truth.

      No one in the world believes the federal (USA) government doesn't know local governments are corrupt.

      Illegal Pot is too profitable, for too many reasons, to EVER be legal.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Yes they do

      Yes, plants convert CO2 to O2 during photosynthesis, however the electricity used, and we are talking about 1kW of LED lights per square meter, or more than that if you use a less efficient bulb, generates a lot more CO2 than the carbon captured by these plants. Also, that carbon gets released again when you burn the plants.

      Cannabis can be grown outside even in places like Scotland, but you are much more likely to get caught if you grow outside.

      1. Stone Fox


        A quick check of the forums or related guides would tell you a couple of things - very few people use LED lights, they need a lot more work to be viable. Most people are switching from HID setups (e.g Metal Halides) to low power CFLs. Even with High Intensity Discharge light 1,000 watts per square metre would be REALLY high and cause potentially insurmountable heat issues

        1. jonathanb Silver badge


          Indeed it does, which is why the police helicopter regularly flies over at night with a thermal imaging camera to catch these people.

      2. neil 15

        Plants also respire

        Plants also convert O2 to CO2 during respiration (using the sugar produced in photosynthesis to get energy from it). Ever wondered why flowers are commonly taken away from patients in hospitals at night? The main reason trees are counted as good for CO2 is for carbon capture (tying it up for considerable time), not because of photosyntheses else just planting more grass would be in vogue rather than long lived trees.

  5. Adante

    Stoners ?

    I was going to comment but ......... I got high

  6. Anonymous Coward

    The Planet is going...

    ...Up In Smoke. Hey Pendejos, how are you doing?

    Hey, where's the spliff icon? Have to use the guy that looks stoned instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: The Planet is going...

      +1 for the use of 'pendejos'

    2. Anonymous Coward


      You should have gone one to the right ;)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the great Mencken ...

    it was good to hear him find a new generation of fans, through "The Wire" ... The Life of Kings

  8. Christoph

    Does this mean

    that marijuana cultivation is vital to the US economy?

    1. Fibbles

      Worth more than you think

      I remember reading a paper back in 2006 that said weed is now the US's number one cash crop.

  9. Efros
    Thumb Up

    Only solution

    Make it illegal to grow pot indoors, make it legal to grow it outdoors, problem solved.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    Obvious answer.

    Import it in bulk from places where it can be grown outdoors. Resin is more convenient here for transportation purposes.

    Morocco ("00"), The Lebanon ("Red") and Afghanistan ("Black") always used to run a thriving resin export business back in the day and I'm sure they'd be delighted to expand the industry.....

    1. Mike 68

      Oh God no!

      Not crappy old hash again! Come on man, this isn't the 80s

      1. mike2R

        Re: Oh God no!

        I know what your saying, but there is something about solid that I miss.

        Probably the elephant tranquilliser...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          ...but there is something about solid that I miss

          > Probably the elephant tranquilliser...

          ...and the old car tyres, used condoms, diesel etc. They should make that illegal...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Re: Oh God no!

          I agree it has its uses, if I ever have a cold, a bong bowl later I don't have the symptoms and a day or so later I don't have the cold.

          1. Anonymous Coward


            "I agree it has its uses, if I ever have a cold, a bong bowl later I don't have the symptoms and a day or so later I don't have the cold."

            That's because in reality, a week has gone past.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    What Evan forgot...

    ...though, is that due to consumption of said weed, stoners sleep longer which saves enormous amounts of energy, thus overall lowering the stoners' carbon footprint. Stoners should seek a CO2 offset which they can then trade on the carbon markets, and with their profits they can buy more weed and start the cycle over.

    1. irish donkey

      Yes but they leave the TV on when they fall asleep

      or well I do anyway

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nah waaaay

    Ahahah, really? Nah, you'e pulling my leg! Ahahah. Look at this sky, it looks greaaat! Look at this cloud, it looks like a cow! So cuuute! Man, thinking of a cow made me hungry, I sure could have a burger right now, ahahah. Huh, what were we talking about again?

  13. James Micallef Silver badge


    "1 per cent of energy usage in the United States".

    I have absolutely no data to back me up in this, but surely this quote is very very very far off the mark.

    And if indoor pot growing is very energy-inefficient, surely teh best solution is (a) grow it outdoors and (b) stop sending SWAT teams to bust people for a few grams of marijuana. Legalise the stuff and send the SWAT teams to tear up Wall street

    1. Elmer Phud

      Cop TV progs

      It amazes me the huge amount of resources used to bust someone with a few plants. The TV Cops progs show a lot of this stuff and the cops boast about "Stopping another farm" - a farm ffs? Usually about enough plants to keep yerself happy, not exactly the regulation 'houseful of plants and Vietnamese' that are apparently abundant in our cities.

      Legalising the growing of just a few plants would save a huge amount of police money and time and fuel and and and.

      The Troll looks like he's just had a hit off a bong

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This title intentionally left blank

        > Legalising the growing of just a few plants would save a huge amount of police money and time and fuel and and and.

        You're 100% right, but if this happened the cops would have to buy their own gear instead of pinching it off Joe Public.

  14. Miek

    A title is required and must contain pithy remarks

    "Shifting cultivation outdoors eliminates most energy uses " -- problem solved then, oh wait.

  15. Oliver Mayes

    Simple solution

    Legalise it, grow it in the open in greenhouses so theres no need for the high intensity lamps.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...what about the smell?

      Notice: Keep off the Grass

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Funnel it...

        ... through carbon filters.

    2. Slim Chance

      simpler yet Oliver

      Just get a grip and stop using the stuff, no self control, that's the problem, we mean it Maaaannnnnn......

      1. Rattus Rattus
        Thumb Down

        @Slim Chance

        So, are you going to volunteer to lead by example and give up all alcohol, or cigars, or coffee, or whatever your own preferred vice is? This just sounds like more of the "I don't use it, therefore nobody should be allowed to" nonsense spouted by the control freaks who want to ban everything in society.

        1. Slim Chance

          @Rattus Rattus

          No control freaks here dude, you're either the horse or the rider, the choice is yours.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    If you can't beat them...

    legalize it and join them!

  17. Arnie

    Double Oh fits the bill, most definatly

    hmmm lets see. legalise it. who's gonna spend months growing in the loft if they can pop out and pick up a henry of O.G #18 for a tenner?

    god no, someone think of the children, sorry daily mail

  18. copsewood

    Have to keep it illegal

    Like once you get the drug war habit, well, it's kind of hard to stop.

    We'd only need half as many prisons and prison officers.

    We'd have to sack half the police as most other crime is done by junkies needing the money for a fix.

    Journalists would have to find other stories to write about.

    Hundreds of undertakers in Mexico employed burying the 20,000 drug war victims per annum would have to find other employment.

    The whole economy would go to pot - pun intended.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...we'd have to do some real work this afternoon instead of making comments here

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Steady on!

        >real work this afternoon

        Don't lets go completely down the fantasy trail...

    2. CD001


      This is only pot we're talking about - weedheads don't quite fall into the heroin junkie type category normally ... about the only crime a stoner is likely to commit (apart from the obvious weed buying bit) is walking out of the all-night garage with 20 Mars bars because they got mixed up in the shelf maze and wandered out the door before going to the till.

      And then being too paranoid to go back into the garage afterwards because like, they'll know man... O_o

  19. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Many stoners don't go on holidays or own cars as they spend their money on dope. I'm sure this offsets the dope growing that some engage in.

    Rich people are destroying the planet - they fly hither and yon, pontificating about how we should all live. They often own more than one house, thus depriving others of shelter and own companies that treat the earth and its citizens as a means to making profit. They pay their workers so poorly that Government have to top wages up and then they avoid paying as much tax as possible, thus bleeding the system from both ends.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a sec

    Care to provide an actual rational for that 192,000 additional deaths a year thing instead of just pulling a big number out your arse? Because I'm pretty sure even the poor people in the U.S don't subsist solely on corn and it certainly isn't the only cheap foodstuff.

    1. Mephistro
      Thumb Down

      It's economy...

      Transforming cheap food into fuel makes cheap food more scarce, and hence more expensive. Corn prices go up, rice and potatoes follow... And don't forget poultry and cattle, that also are fed corn.

      1. Mediocrates

        Don't forget corn syrup

        And how many deaths are caused by growing corn just to make a cheap sweetener that our digestive systems cannot metabolize properly.

      2. Peter Murphy

        Well, it's transferring the WRONG cheap food...

        There's nothing wrong with biofuel per se, as long as the EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) is high. Brazil and Australia get theirs from sugar cane, which has an EROEI of 8. In neither country is sugar cane depriving people of food.

        The US, on the other hand, gets theirs mainly from corn, which has a piddly EROEI of 1.6. The only reason companies convert corn into biofuel is because of all the government subsidies to do so. It's bloody stupid, in my opinion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, Mexico complained.

      Apparently they were having tortilla riots because the cost of the low-grade corn used to make them went up because the ethanol distillers were out-bidding the bakeries.

  21. scatter

    Excuse me?

    "Targeting the pot industry appeals to environmentalists in a number of ways. It allows several new bureaucracies to sprout forth, and more importantly, it also plays to "the haunting fear" (in Mencken's description of Puritanism) that "someone, somewhere, may be happy"."

    Excuse me? I think you're confusing environmentalists with the Christian right or something.

    Looking at the FAQs on his website and scanning the report, I would also suggest that calling the author a "policy analyst with a Puritanical streak" is quite wide of the mark (but par for the course).

    This research is just one more reason why the criminalisation of marijuana is utterly wrong. The fact that in 2006 a third of the US's *total* weed crop was grown indoors in California (you really should pay more attention to your source material), a climate so perfectly suited for outdoor growing, is staggering and predominantly down to criminalisation.

    Therefore I would expect the vast majority of environmentalists to lean towards decriminilsation rather than increased control.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Carbon offsetting

    So pot production accounts for 1% of energy consumption eh? Now tell us how much CO2 a square mile of cannabis absorbs compared to a square mile of old oak*

    * About four times as much

    1. CD001


      ... but the oak tree has been locking that CO2 in place for the last few hundred years - the CO2 in the weed crop has been returned to the atmosphere (quite literally) in just a few months.

      The net impact of the weed crop on CO2 levels year on year is nothing. Whereas the Oak copse will have held that CO2 trapped up until long after your grandchildren are dead - carbon offsetting in this way is all about postponing the problem so long that it's no longer YOUR problem.

  23. Matt Newman 1

    In the interests of saving the enviornment

    In the interests in saving the environment, maybe our govt, should re-examine their stance on the illegality of a plant (made illegal after WWII (thanks dupont, and hurst), and get rid of the penalties for cultivation of a commonly occurring plant. Let these indoor farmers move outside with out fear of reprisal, give them the book authored by President George Washington on growing for potency in exchange for their Indoor Grower's guide.

    Just a thought!

  24. Anonymous Coward


    Big 300w equivalent ones in the right spectrum cut down on electricity cost due to less power used for lighting and cooling. You can also use more of them at different levels.

    Not that I would know... I heard it from that guy <points over that way..>..... over there ->

    1. Eddie Edwards
      Thumb Up


      And less chance of the heat seeking helicoppers seeing you. I imagine.

  25. MarkS

    Why do people get so upset

    when there's any criticism of pot? it's fucking horrible and the people who smoke it are fucking boring.

    Doesn't make some kind of fucking freedom fighter because you smoke it.

    Sacred herb? My arse.

    Give me a pint any day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why do people get so upset

      when there's any criticism of alcohol? it's fucking horrible and the people who drink it are fucking annoying.

      Doesn't make some kind of fucking ultimate street fighter / funniest person on the planet / god's gift to the opposite sex because you drink it.

      Nectar of the gods? My arse.

      Give me a spliff any day.

    2. fridaynightsmoke

      Why do YOU get so upset

      when there's any praise of pot? It's good stuff and the people who don't smoke it are often uptight arseholes.

      It doesn't make you some kind of righteous moral guardian because you don't smoke it.

      Give me a spliff over a pint any day. Maybe toking up would chill you out a little ;)

      (For the record, the 'sacred herb' people make me groan a little too. Taking things a little far methinks)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:Oh God No

    Sorry to say you ere getting crappy hash. Prefer some of it to whats about nowadays.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IF ever

    I had a house in London again, I'd want to keep a minimum temperature of 20C to 28C, because that is what I've become used to since I left.

    I wonder how long it would be before the cops paid my little tropical nest a 4.00am visit, costing me a front door?

  28. AdamWill

    Puritan angle

    Some illuminating quotations from the source on the 'puritan angle' Andrew pulled out of thin air for this one:

    "Does this study support the case for criminalization? No."

    "What is the purpose of this study?

    This study simply aims to quantify a previously undocumented component of energy demand in the United States, to understand the underlying technical drivers, and to establish baseline impacts in terms of energy use, costs, and greenhouse-gas emissions. This study does not pass judgement on the merits of Cannabis cultivation or make recommendations for how to reduce this energy use, but observes that many reversible inefficiencies are embedded in current practices."

  29. jake Silver badge

    TFA forgot the obvious ...

    Not a week goes by without an illegal grow operation burning to the ground here in Northern California, thanks to overloaded electrical systems, thus pumping all kinds of narsties into the atmosphere.

    Hint to the brain-dead: Just because you have 150 amp service doesn't mean you can pull 150 amps continuously ... or even 125, for that matter, unless you know what you are doing.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      UK problem as well

      There's been several busts in my town where people have rented houses, bypassed the meters and set up farms. A bit of a health & safety problem in our more densely populated areas, but luckily we seem to have less of a problem with meth labs exploding. So far.

      As for California, their problem may be self-limiting given California's energy and carbon policies will be inflating costs. As soon as other states figure out the tax potential from licensing weed production, California's growers will probably relocate. Much like other Californian businesses are doing at the moment.

  30. Beelzeebub


    Toke and drink all you like!

    You will be welcome down here, we have infinite quantities of each!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Six or one-half dozen of the other

    As someone who has abused both alcohol and cannabis in various forms it is clear to me that marijuana ABUSE is less deleterious to individuals and societies than alcohol ABUSE.

    OTOH, since I know plenty who enjoy a glass of wine or beer without ever getting drunk, but no one who smokes weed without getting high, the percentage of users to abusers is lower with alcohol.

    I'd say that most of us would be better off with neither, so policy makers should do their best to discourage both. The "war on drugs" seems a bit heavy-handed though, and given the precedent set with alcohol & tobacco in most places at huge societal cost, it seems odd to put reefer across the DMZ in that failed and costly war.

    I wonder about the carbon footprint of doing these kinds of studies. But maybe I DID smoke too much dope....

    1. Rattus Rattus


      "OTOH, since I know plenty who enjoy a glass of wine or beer without ever getting drunk, but no one who smokes weed without getting high, the percentage of users to abusers is lower with alcohol."

      By this sentence, you seem to be implying that any intoxication from a substance = abuse of that substance. I do not believe this is a valid link to make, especially in this context.

      "Getting high" with weed is nothing like getting falling-down-drunk. It's much more similar to becoming mildly tipsy. You wouldn't consider drinking to that level to be alcohol abuse, would you? To be impaired by weed to the same level as impairment due to drunkenness, you would have to smoke most of an ounce all to yourself - a ludicrous amount of pot to smoke all at once, and certainly nothing you could consume in a short amount of time.

      Since you have said you abused both alcohol and pot, perhaps it's simply that you cannot imagine any use that is not abuse? I smoke weed regularly and I would certainly not consider my low levels of use to be "abuse." It is, rather, a relaxing way to wind down at the end of a week, certainly more relaxing and "cleaner-feeling" than the times I've chosen to wind down with alcohol instead.

      I'd say, rather than banning things, let people consume whatever intoxicants they choose, and stop funding the expensive, failing War on Drugs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @@AC: True enough, AND there's the reverse tolerance thing

        You know; the first inhibition you lose drinking is the inhibition to drink more; coke makes you a new man but the first thing the new man wants is another hit, etc. Not so with weed. My experience is you take a few hits, then next time around ending up passing the thing.

        But yeah, I am saying that when we put chemicals into our system for the express purpose of changing our mindset, that's abusive, or at least it has proven so for me. Not the end of civilization, not always a direct path to ruination for everyone, but generally a bad sign. It sounds really corny to say, but the "natural highs" (exercise, meditation, listening to music, hanging w/ friends, commenting on the Reg?, ...) are much healthier and more sustainable for the individual as well as society, although at the societal level, for "soft drugs" especially, we bring much of it on ourselves with our punitive, heavy-handed approach.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          @AC again

          I see, thanks for clarifying your point of view. I don't agree with you about what you consider substance abuse, but I do think you're on to a good thing with the natural highs.

  32. Msan

    Jesus H...

    Is no pleasure safe from some moralizing fucksocket? Personally I think the real problem is the old people who turn their heaters up in winter. Sort those selfish bastards out and we have a planet.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously flawed

    He forgot to include the CO2 emissions of the pizza delivery vans.

  34. MikeyD85

    I love dope. I love booze.

    I also love moderation.

  35. Chris007

    I was going to comment...

    ..on this post..... but then forgot what it was about...

  36. Anonymous Coward

    When medical........

    "....marijuana was legalised in California in 1996, Humboldt County saw a rise in energy usage of around 50 per cent"

    Did anyone do any studies to find out how much cookie consumption did go up by. I am more intersted in that

  37. Jimboom
    Paris Hilton

    The answer is simple

    Decriminalize, then regulate. Put health and safety regulations on the growing of it (has to be in an open area, not to close to schools.. blah blah blah). Not to mention the hemp industry could take off meaning less need for other crops and less need for pesticides (as it is generally a more bug resistant plant). Not to mention all the CO2 saved by people having to go pick-up from their dealers as they would either grow it themselves or just go to the local pot shop/pub to get their stashes and if they were growing it themselves there would be more plants soaking up the C02.

    Seems a no brainer.

    Paris, because she is the queen of no-brainers.

  38. Naughtyhorse

    1 per cent of energy usage in the United States..

    growing weed????

    get the fuck out of here

    no way.

    not even 0.001%

  39. A J Stiles


    Hydroponics is basically the exact inverse of biofuel: Use energy generated by some other means and store it as chemical PE in plants.

    The high-intensity discharge lamps used for growing plants are already about as energy efficient as can be got (traditional, wirewound ballasts can actually be *less* lossy, due to the use of decent, thick copper wire and properly-sized steel cores, than some switched-mode ones -- which are clearly built down to a selling price, and never mind that the buyer will eventually spend many more times the difference on wasted electricity over the lifetime of the product). LED technology is looking promising, but not ready for prime time yet.

    Anyway, for crying out loud: people only grow the stuff indoors *to avoid detection because it's illegal*. If it wasn't illegal, they'd be saving electricity (and therefore money) by growing it outdoors. And the "waste" (i.e., non-THC bearing) parts of the plant contain enough PE to make damn good biofuel.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ARRRGH, I can't take the stupidity

    "Stoners are helping destroy the planet"


    Oi! Reg! WTF is this shite?

  41. NomNomNom

    Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

    Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

    google it. You might be suprised...

  42. indulis

    The ethanol lobbying is matched by oil/coal lobbying

    What a laugh to hear The Reg complain about ethanol production. I don't think there are many "greens" that think this is a great idea, instead we get "green-wash" from the farming lobby, the same way as we get "carbon-wash" from the oil/gas lobby to keep society hooked on their products.

    Both groups scared at the idea of decentralised, efficient, energy that doesn't result in ongoing mega-profits for them.

    The energy gain figures for ethanol from food-stock are ludicrous- you have to pump in about as much energy to produce corn-based ethanol in the form of oil as you get out.

    So this is why you don't hear the oil/gas lobby screaming against ethanol. It is more money for everyone!

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