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Report: U.S. Legal Cannabis Water Use to Almost Double by 2025

New Study Finds Water Use Efficiency Critical to Cannabis Industry Sustainability

Key Findings:

  • By 2025, total water use of the legal cannabis market is expected to increase by 86%.

  • Combined legal and illicit cannabis crops used nearly 2.8 billion gallons in 2020, with usage forecast to reach 3.6 billion gallons by 2025 fueled by demand-driven growth.

  • The illicit market will remain the primary driver of water use over the next five years, accounting for 83% of water use in 2020, and declining to 69% in 2025.

  • Water use practices are highly diverse in the new regulated cannabis industry, underscoring the need for well-tailored regulatory policies that are responsive to this diversity.

NFD report

New Frontier Data (https://newfrontierdata.com), the premier data, analytics and technology firm specializing in the global cannabis industry, in partnership with Resource Innovation Institute (“RII”) (https://resourceinnovation.org) and the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center, releases Cannabis H2O: Water Use and Sustainability in Cultivation. The report provides an in-depth look at water usage in the regulated cannabis cultivation market and how its use compares to the illicit market and traditional agricultural sectors. The report also includes strategic recommendations for policy makers, industry leaders and other key stakeholders.

“Water has always been a vital variable to cannabis cultivation, especially in drought-prone states such as California, the U.S. cannabis cultivation epicenter,” said New Frontier Data Founder & CEO Giadha A. DeCarcer. “Ongoing environmental concerns, and now rapidly increasing pressure to price competitively, are making water efficiency critical for lower operational costs and industry sustainability in the U.S. and abroad.”

The report reveals that the cannabis industry uses significantly less water than other major agricultural crops in California. However, there are significant opportunities to drive even greater efficiency in the industry. “It is interesting to note how the conventional wisdom about water use in the legal industry does not appear to be accurate, which further validates why the findings in this report are so important. Understanding water use is the first step to learning how we can create a more sustainable cannabis agriculture industry,” said Derek Smith, Executive Director of RII.

The report assesses water use intensity variances across different facility types and sizes, identifying significant opportunities for cultivators to improve water efficiency by adopting new techniques expected to be key industry-wide sustainability drivers.

Key Findings:

  • By 2025, total water use of the legal cannabis market is expected to increase by 86%.
  • Combined legal and illicit cannabis crops used nearly 2.8 billion gallons in 2020, with usage forecast to reach 3.6 billion gallons by 2025 fueled by demand-driven growth.
  • The illicit market will remain the primary driver of water use over the next five years, accounting for 83% of water use in 2020, and declining to 69% in 2025.
  • Water use practices are highly diverse in the new regulated cannabis industry, underscoring the need for well-tailored regulatory policies that are responsive to this diversity.

Supplementing this report, New Frontier Data, Resource Innovation Institute and the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center will conduct a Free Industry Briefing on Wednesday, March 10th at 3:00 PM EST. The briefing will address both commercial and policy implications detailed in the report.

Free Briefing Registrationhttps://hubs.ly/H0H63ff0

A complimentary copy of Cannabis H2O: Water Use and Sustainability in Cultivation can be downloaded herehttps://info.newfrontierdata.com/cannabis-h2o.

About New Frontier Data:

New Frontier Data is the premier data, analytics and technology firm specializing in the global cannabis industry, delivering solutions that enable investors, operators, advertisers, brands, researchers and policy makers to assess, understand, engage and transact with the cannabis industry and its consumers.

Our mission is to inform policy and commercial activity for the global legal cannabis industry. We maintain a neutral position on the merits of cannabis legalization through comprehensive and transparent data analysis and projections that shape industry trends, dynamics, demand and opportunity drivers. Founded in 2014, New Frontier Data is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a presence in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

About Resource Innovation Institute:

Resource Innovation Institute (RII) is an objective, data-driven non-profit organization who establishes industry standards, facilitates best practices and advocates for effective policies and incentives that accelerate conservation. With its Cannabis PowerScore benchmarking platform, RII helps producers confidentially assess the efficiency and productivity of their cultivation facilities using industry-standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on energy, emissions, water and waste. RII’s Technical Advisory Council brings together multidisciplinary stakeholders and subject matter experts to define best practices through comprehensive peer review. As an aggregator of knowledge, RII trains the market and informs governments and utilities about baselines and standards for resilient, high-performance production.

About the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center:

The Cannabis Research Center (CRC) is a research group based at the University of California, Berkeley. Our goal is to promote interdisciplinary scholarship on the social and environmental dimensions of cannabis production. Through scientific research and engagement with community, government, and academic entities, we advance understanding of cannabis agriculture in socioecological systems at local, national, and global scales. We seek to inform public dialogue and contribute to the development of prosperous communities and healthy environments.

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