There’s a bonanza sweeping across North America: cannabis.

As more states legalize marijuana, the industry is attracting high-profile investors and bringing in $6.5 billion in annual sales.

But it also faces two major challenges: limited access to banking and high energy costs.

Since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, traditional banks are unwilling to do business with the thousands of companies serving the market.

At the same time, the industry now eats up $6 billion in electricity costs. Growers are paying tens of thousands of dollars per month to power cultivation sites, and some utilities are worried about strain on the grid in certain locations. So what will it take to green up America's newest cash crop?

Trying to slash that electricity use is very hard for cash-only companies that can’t get access to traditional financing.

“The capital you would most typically have to deploy if you wanted to site solar at a cultivation facility will end up being very expensive because you don’t have access to traditional bank financing,” explains Mark Hooley, who heads up CohnReznick's renewable energy practice on the West Coast.

In this episode, we talk with Hooley about the intersection of cannabis and renewable energy. How do we get more solar, microgrids and efficiency deployed to serve this budding market?

This branded episode was produced in partnership with CohnReznick. If you are a developer looking to understand how to serve the cannabis space, or if you are a grower trying to figure out how to clean up your energy use, CohnReznick can help.