The wildfires that swept across Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa counties in Northern California last week devastated many of the region’s legal cannabis growers, torching their crops and facilities at peak harvest time and leaving smaller farmers at risk of collapse.
The fires, which continue to smolder, are the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history — killing at least 41 people and claiming 220,000 acres and 5,700 homes. The blazes incinerated untold amounts of pot, just as legal sales are set to begin in the state in January.
“The opportunity of legal cannabis is in ashes for many longtime California growers and their communities,” wrote Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, in a message to the trade group’s 1,200 members. “Over the course of the last 18 months, these growers have spent their life savings getting permits and preparing for state licenses.”
Allen said the fires had destroyed at least 21 farms and damaged two others. Even for farms that didn’t burn, the crops may die for lack of water, as many are in areas that are now off-limits. Unlike grape farmers who lost vines in the fires, cannabis g... Read more