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Marijuana cultivation is estimated to use one percent of America’s electricity output. That’s enough juice to power 1.7 million average homes.

And as more states make the drug legal in some form, that power consumption is expected to soar. Northwest energy officials project cannabis grows will suck up three percent of the region’s power by 2035.

Now, efforts are underway to get growers to reduce their energy use.

John Kagia cuts right to the chase.

“Indoor cannabis cultivation is extraordinarily energy intensive," he flatly states.

A University of Washington study concluded about 30 football fields worth of marijuana are needed to serve the medical marijuana market in Washington. That translates to about two million square feet of canopy.

Currently, more than 12 million square feet are approved for production.

'Week in Review' panel Ross Reynolds, Claudia Balducci, Joni Balter and Rob McKenna.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Will the city come to a standstill with the viaduct closed? That isn't the only transportation story this week, we're also talking about Sound Transit 3.  And can you win an election without big donations? Why aren't more people furious about Troy Kelley? Plus, a round up of this week in pot. 

Ross Reynolds talks the week's news with former Attorney General Rob McKenna, Seattle Channel's Joni Balter and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci. 

Employees at Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle's Central District sell marijuana products on their opening day, Sept. 30, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

When writer David Schmader was approached to write a book about marijuana, he laid down these rules: No cartoon pot leaves, no stoner puns and no forwards by Tommy Chong.

Taxes from marijuana sales continue to outpace expectations in Oregon. The state Department of Revenue Wednesday said the state has collected nearly $7 million in pot taxes so far this year.

Public opinion on marijuana has risen dramatically over the last couple of decades. In the mid-1990s, only around 25 percent of Americans thought pot should be legal, according to Gallup.

Today, it's around 58 percent.

Voters in two Oregon counties will decide in the May primary whether to allow marijuana-related businesses. County commissioners banned marijuana retailers and growers in unincorporated parts of Klamath and Grant counties last year.

When Tim McClure was 42 years old, he was convicted of illegally growing marijuana on his ranch near The Dalles, Oregon. And at this time last year, McClure was living with the shame of being a felon.

"I don't think it's the measure of me as a man,” McClure said 2015.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, some activists and entrepreneurs are taking the next step: They're running for office themselves.

Pot-infused edibles are big sellers in states that have legalized marijuana. The problem is, it's been tough to measure and regulate the potency of these ganja-laced gummy bears, lollies and brownies.

A lot of visitors to Colorado figure they might give the state's good ganja a try, but they might not be prepared for the effects. When it comes to bad weed trips, out-of-staters have been doing much worse than Colorado residents and are going to the ER more often since recreational sales of marijuana began in 2014.

Oregon and Washington state lawmakers are making another try at introducing a new crop to the Northwest: Industrial hemp, the non-drug cousin of marijuana.

'Week in Review' panel Mike McGinn, Joni Balter, Bill Radke and Paul Guppy.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

What's the way to help homeless citizens and protect the rights of neighborhood residents? Also, Seattleites hiring private security guards – necessary protection or needless fear? And is it time to extend marijuana rights further?

Bill Radke looks for answers with former Mayor Mike McGinn, Washington Policy Center’s Paul Guppy and Seattle Channel’s Joni Balter.

We've had legal marijuana for a while -- is it time for pot cafes? Have you seen the crowdsourced mao of Seattle for people with disabilities? And what is Macklemore going for with his new song “White Privilege II” – a nine-minute monument to inner conflict?

Listen to the full show above or check out the individual stories:

A line extends outside a crowded pot cafe on 'High Street' in Amsterdam.
Flickr Photo/Michael Delaney (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/di4HNo

Public consumption of pot continues to be illegal, but a new bill would let Seattle and other cities opt out of the ban and open up pot cafes. 

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes backs the effort.

Is the tax on legal marijuana in Washington too high?

Seattle officials say the city’s 24 marijuana delivery businesses are illegal and now outnumber its 19 licensed stores. To combat the problem, Seattle officials are pledging a crackdown as well as a new legal delivery option.

Solstice's Joe Santucci says new technologies reduce the need for power-hungry lights. But they aren't totally embracing LEDs.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Marijuana growers in the Northwest are going to use a lot of electricity in the next 20 years, enough to power up to 200,000 homes, according to a recent forecast.

That’s because a lighting module to grow four marijuana plants takes as much energy as 29 refrigerators.

Editors' note, Feb. 1, 2016: On Jan. 20, we reported on a statement from the American Psychological Association that a research paper, "Chronic Adolescent Marijuana Use as a Risk Factor for Physical and Mental Health Problems in Young Adult Men," had a statistical error. The APA now says that statement, which was titled "APA Corrects Article Regarding Teen Marijuana Use," should not have said there was an error in the paper. Jim Sliwa, a spokesman for the APA, told NPR: "There was no error.

There's been a lot of interest in opening a licensed recreational marijuana business in Oregon. The state received nearly 200 paid submissions in the first two days since it began taking applications.

Starting Monday, shoppers in Oregon will find themselves in the unusual position of paying sales tax. But only if they're buying recreational marijuana.

Alaska is about to become the first state to have pot cafes where people can buy and consume marijuana, similar to Amsterdam.

Right now, that's not legal in other states that have recreational marijuana.

Brothers James and Giono Barrett, who own a marijuana business, Rainforest Farms, in Juneau, also plan to produce a line of chocolate bars infused with pot. They'll be an alternative to the sugary, processed edibles Giono says he has eaten recently in Colorado.

When 2015 dawned, it was illegal to grow, smoke or buy marijuana in Oregon unless you held a medical marijuana card. Now, all of those things are legal for adults.

Oregon cities and counties have until December 27 to act if they want to ban retail marijuana sales. More than 70 communities have already put their names on that list.

Marijuana plants growing at Seattle's first legal pot farm, Sea of Green.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Rick Steves doesn’t think Big Marijuana should control your pot. That’s one reason people in Washington state should be able to grow their own weed, Steves told KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel.

Parents of children with severe epilepsy have reported incredible recoveries when their children were given cannabidiol, a derivative of marijuana. The drug, a non-psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in cannabis, has been marketed with epithets like Charlotte's Web and Haleigh's Hope.

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, fatal crashes involving drivers under the influence of marijuana have risen sharply since Washington voters legalized recreational pot in 2012.

A South Puget Sound tribe is planning a grand opening at 4:20 p.m. on Thursday for what it believes is the nation's first marijuana store on a reservation.

A street drug made of various chemicals sprayed on tea leaves, grass clippings and other plant material continues to send thousands of people suffering from psychotic episodes and seizures to emergency rooms around the country.

In 2015, calls to poison control regarding the drug already have almost doubled, compared to last year's total, and health professionals and lawmakers are struggling to keep up with the problem.

Cannabis City opened on July 9. At the time it was the only store able to open -- others faced obstacles including distance between them and schools.
KUOW Photo/Michael Clinard

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is accepting a second wave of applications for new marijuana retail licenses.

Gone are the quotas and lotteries used in the first round of licensing. Now there are no limits on the number of licenses that may be granted – a change that took some cities by surprise.

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