After the Fires
With just 75 days until California cannabis is fully legalized, devastating wildfires have exacted a brutal toll on cannabis growers.
"For the cottage-scale growers whose farms were destroyed in the blazes, the disaster intensifies financial pressure that was already pushing them to the brink. The first two weeks of October are generally peak harvest for cannabis growers. Flames got the crop before they could."
Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, expressed the dire circumstances of the cannabis growers whose crops were wiped out by last week's wildfires:
“The opportunity of legal cannabis is in ashes for many longtime California growers and their communities. Over the course of the last 18 months, these growers have spent their life savings getting permits and preparing for state licenses.”
The fires are the deadliest and most destructive in California history, killing at least 41 people (with many still unaccounted for) while displacing 100,000 and destroying 7,000 homes.
Within the cannabis industry specifically, Allen says the fires destroyed 21 farms completely and damaged two others. Many areas are now declared off-limits by fire marshals and law enforcement, which means they may simply brown out due to lack of water.
In just-another-example of the inequity of the federal prohibition on cannabis, "Unlike grape farmers who lost vines in the fires, cannabis growers don’t qualify for crop insurance and can’t apply for federal assistance grants."