Cannabis and the California Wildfires

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California is definitely not a state that is new to wildfires in recent times but the types of wildfires that have plagued the state this year have set a record in terms of devastation. Much like Oregon, these fires have put the residents of the state of California in a troubling position as it has prompted the evacuation of many from their homes. It is also important to stress the loss of life that has been incurred on the account of these wildfires. These fires have raided the West Coast and are one of the major talking points especially among business owners who are directly affected by the effect of the fire on crops. The season and the dangers that lie with this fire are still existential as we speak which is why we want to look into the relationship of these California wildfires and how they play out with cannabis.

A detailed breakdown

Some of the major drivers that have been put forward as the cause of these record-breaking wildfires are climate change, extreme weather patterns, and huge temperatures. For long the effects of global warming and the role it has to play with climate change across the world as we know it has been spoken of by many experts.

In the California wildfires experienced this year, we have front-row seats to see the level of impact that climate change can have on everyday life. The wildfires have proven to be a huge problem for firefighters as it continues to sweep through acres of land destroying land, crops, and valuable property. The expected reaction in response to these imminent dangers being posed by the fire is shutdown and evacuations. These forms of response may ultimately be detrimental particularly for cannabis business owners who have plants directly in the line of the wildfires.

California is a state that loves and is very accepting of cannabis. In a country where only a certain number of states have legalized the use of cannabis for use either medically or recreationally, California and some other notable states stand out. This fact even becomes more important when the fact that the federal government and the FDA still classify cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic drug which is of no medicinal value. This has seen California become home to a good number of cannabis businesses and cannabis users as well. The vast acres of lands that are available in the region also made it the perfect place for many cannabis business owners to fully establish their franchise. This has seen the vast acres of land available in California dominated by cannabis cultivators and these same cultivators have their businesses at risk because of the wildfires. 

To understand the level of effect the California fires are having on the cannabis businesses in the region, it is important to see it from different angles. First, we look at it from the angle of pollutants that are being propelled into the atmosphere.

These pollutants include smoke and ash that are sue to be detrimental to the health of cannabis plants. For the cannabis plants that are not in the line of sight of the wildfires, they still bear a great deal of risk in terms of the impact the smoke and ash will have on their integrity. This becomes more important when you take into consideration the different number of state-mandated tests for crops in order to ascertain their level of contamination. With the visible effects of the California state wildfires being seen in faraway states, one can only speculate the real extent of damage the smoke and ash from the wildfires could have had on the cannabis plants.

It goes without saying that a good number of outdoor marijuana and hemp plants stand the risk of being destroyed by the wildfires. The toll that this damage invariably on cannabis businesses from the financial side of things is enormous. It is also bound to invariably affect and impede the supply chain of cannabis in the state in the future. This is because a good number of cannabis businesses are already recording great losses. One such business is the Sweet Creek Farm in Sonoma County which has recorded losses of about $150,000 in crops that are largely uninsured.

Due to the illegal nature of cannabis federally, a good number of cannabis businesses with acres of land in the midst of the fires have their lands uninsured. This has therefore created a problematic situation for firefighters because a good number of cannabis business owners have opted not to follow evacuations issued in a bid to save their crops. Many farmers are looking to quickly finish up harvesting their plants in a bid to save some of the plants and not loose outrightly on all fronts.

These fires threaten to completely drive some of these cannabis farmers out of the cannabis industry completely and a good number of them are finding different ways to respond to the threat. The CA Department of Food and Agriculture classifies fires under disaster that makes it open to providing relief for businesses. The CDFA still has sole responsibility to grant such reliefs if offers a way for many licensed owners of cannabis businesses. The fires have also prompted many cannabis businesses to move cannabis from premises prone to the fires to other premises in order to avoid destruction. Such moves definitely require informing the CDFA within a span of 24hours of the movement of the natural products.

Bottom line

The wildfires experienced in California this year seem to be the new norm and it ultimately means that cannabis businesses will have to adapt to the new conditions. This means that cannabis businesses will have to find a new and better way to protect their plants and lands from fire. This is because the strong winds and heat that propel these fires are bound to be a regular occurrence in California. Ensuring new and better safety measures are put in place might just be all that keeps these cannabis plants from destruction.

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