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CPUC Concerned About Marijuana Legalization's Impact On Power Grid


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- When California ramps up legal production of recreational marijuana, will the state's energy grid be able to meet demand? That was the focus of a special meeting in San Francisco between marijuana farmers, utilities and state regulators.

CPUC President Michael Picker warned the grid doesn't have the capacity to generate 1 to 2 percent more electricity to power pot farms, which was the growth in demand Colorado saw when it legalized marijuana for recreational use.

"We currently are expecting flat or declining growth in California, so if it starts to go in the other direction, then we're going to have to make sure that the electricity is there for both these uses and everybody else," Picker said.

Hezekiah Allen, lifelong Humboldt County pot grower turned executive director of the California Growers Association, thinks the legal marijuana industry will consume less power than the black market one did.

Allen said operations are moving outside, and going green through solar and wind power.

"Our policy framework is agricultural focused. The Department of Food and Agriculture regulates farms, not factories. And I think we're going to see a lot more cannabis on farms than warehouses in a few years," Allen said.

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