Legalization

Colorado launches carbon, energy programs for cannabis firms

Marijuana being dried and cured at commercial grow. Pueblo, CO

DENVER (AP) – Colorado has launched two pilot programs focused on reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency at cannabis cultivating businesses, officials said.

Both programs starting Wednesday support Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ mission to cut greenhouse gases 50% by 2030, The Denver Post reports.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is making resources available for the two programs, the Carbon Dioxide Reuse Project and Colorado Cultivators Energy Management.

The Carbon Dioxide Reuse Project partners Denver Beer Co. with the Clinic cannabis dispensary to recycle carbon emissions.

Denver Beer Co. plans to use a a carbon-capturing machine to provide carbon dioxide produced during the brewing process to the clinic, which will use the gas to stimulate plant growth at its cultivation operations.

The machine developed by Earthly Labs captures carbon dioxide from the brewery’s fermentation tanks, purifies the gas and then chills it into liquid form.

Denver Beer Co. expects to recycle more than 150,000 pounds (68,000 kilograms) of carbon dioxide using the technology, which is enough to meet all of the clinic’s needs, Earthly Labs CEO Amy George said.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulators hope the brewery-dispensary collaboration will inspire other cannabis companies to evaluate their environmental footprint.

The Colorado Cultivators Energy Management pilot will enable cannabis businesses to enlist the help of local electric cooperatives and utility companies to examine their energy use and ways to become more efficient.

The free program will start with five utility providers and 15 licensed cannabis cultivations. The participating utilities include Mountain Parks Electric, San Isabel Electric Association, United Power, La Plata Electric Association, and Colorado Springs Utilities.

The assessments will help cultivators better understand what is driving their energy use and costs and highlight cost-effective energy management opportunities, said Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office.

The programs show the state is serious about reducing emissions, Polis said Wednesday.

“We will leave no stone unturned, no beer tank unturned, no cannabis plant unturned in the climate effort because it’s that important,” Polis said.