California’s First Legal Harvest Threatened By Wildfires

 In Blog: Industry

Life-threatening wildfires fanned by strong winds are wiping out parts of Northern California, killing at least 11 people, thousands of trees, over 120,000 acres of land, and destroying some 1,500 structures. According to the California Department of Forestry, over 30,000 people in the path of this devastating fire have evacuated their homes. Cannabis growers North of San Francisco were given mandatory evacuation orders and could easily have millions of dollars in damage done to their crops.

It has been confirmed by reporters that up to 9,000 marijuana grows in Sonoma County have been affected.

Santa Rosa is one of the cities that were hit the hardest by the wildfires. Los Angeles Times reported city blocks being entirely burnt down. Citizens grabbed what they could from their homes and fled.

More than two-dozen emergency shelters in Sonoma County alone are filling up.

How The Fires Started

A weather phenomenon known as the “Diablo Winds” is responsible for a portion of the wildfires, but the complete cause is still under investigation.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, The California Growers Association (CGA) announced that nearly one-third of its leaders were evacuating alone, or assisting neighbors in escaping the fire.

Executive director of CGA, Hezekiah Allen, said, “We’re expecting some pretty significant property damage. As damage numbers emerge, it’s going to be pretty stunning on all fronts, and certainly our membership has been directly impacted.”

Workers from dispensaries, cannabis farms, and manufacturers admitted to the Chronicle they feared for their businesses, many of which were closed.

How The Fires Could Affect Legal Cannabis

On many weed cultivation websites, such as the East Bay Express, cannabis farmers said they fear their crops will be tarnished by the odor of smoke, which consumers will easily be able to detect.

Plants exposed to smoke are more likely to result in mold, mildew, and fungus, which can create potential health risks, especially for cannabis users who consume marijuana for medical purposes.

The fire damage happens to come at the same time California’s Office of Control is establishing strict new rules for the new recreational and MMJ markets. All cannabis sold under the new legal system will have to be tested for quality.

The question now is how much of the Northern California’s outdoor harvest will pass the diligent testing process.

While the outcome of the wildfires is still being anticipated, cannabis farmers are dreading the toll it will take on this year’s harvest. So far, it does not look promising.

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