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Environmental Impacts of the Marijuana Industry

April 17, 2019

Plants growing inside a marijuana facility

You're probably wondering why the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is writing an article about the marijuana industry. After all, isn't the marijuana industry just growing plants? What many don't realize is that although marijuana is often thought of as a "green" industry, the growing and processing of marijuana at an industrial scale presents many environmental risks.

Marijuana is commonly grown indoors where environmental factors, such as light, water, and nutrient inputs are carefully controlled. Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides used by growers threaten water, land, and air quality if not properly applied and disposed of. In addition, growing marijuana plants can require substantial amounts of water, which can lead to large and sometimes illegal withdrawals of groundwater or surface water.

Flow process of the marijuana industryBureau of Marijuana Regulation has a clearinghouse of information on this industry, not limited to environmental regulations and impacts. Any questions on which environmental regulations may apply to you or about overall impacts of the marijuana industry may be directed to the MDEQ Environmental Assistance Center at 1-800-662-9278.


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