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Hazy Regulations: Cannabis and the Environment

July 7, 2022
Robert L. Hines
Environmental Law Institute

Robert Hines is a speaker on the Environmental Law Institute webinar, "Hazy Regulations: Cannabis and the Environment."

About the ELI webinar:

The legal cannabis market in the United States is an estimated $60 billion industry with approximately 28,000 businesses operating and employing upwards of 300,000 people. This field is rapidly growing, as 37 states as well as DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have legalized cannabis for medical use. Approximately half of these states and territories have also legalized cannabis for adult recreational use.

Large-scale cannabis cultivation requires significant energy usage, nutrient and pesticide inputs, and water usage, resulting in cumulative environmental impacts, including air and water pollution. Addressing these environmental concerns present complex legal issues due to cannabis being classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic by the federal government. This classification prevents federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), from collecting data, providing guidance, or regulating the environmental impacts for legal cannabis producers. This fraught legal status has led to fragmented state regulations that differ widely in regulating the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation.

Join ELI and expert panelists to explore the cannabis industry’s legal and technical challenges, the environmental impacts of cannabis production, and opportunities to improve sustainability across the industry.

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