With wildfires blazing across California, weed growers have been especially impacted. In an already risky industry, with lack of regulation and insurance, the loss of crops to the wildfires is compounded. Rolling Stone recently looked at what this could mean for the California industry:
FROM ROLLING STONE:
Ashley Oldham, one of only a few dozen legal pot growers in Northern California's Mendocino County, was sound asleep in the early hours of October 9th when she woke to the sound of her neighbor banging on her door. He'd driven through flames and jumped her fence to tell her that she needed to get out, that a fire was headed straight for her home and cannabis farm.
Oldham, the owner of Frost Flower Farms, jumped out of bed. She grabbed her daughter, dogs, computer, a filing cabinet, some clean laundry and the stash of cash that she kept in her office – other stashes with more money weren't easily accessible, so she left them behind. Then, she got out. About 15 minutes later, the flames consumed her house and burned it to the ground.
Oldham stayed the night at her best friend's house in Ukiah, a 20-minute drive away. In the coming days, high winds and dry conditions contributed to Northern California fires that burnt at least 240,000 acres and blanketed multiple counties in smoke. So far, the fires have killed at least 42 people (with 50 others still missing), displaced 100,000 and caused more than $1 billion of insured losses.
California's thriving cannabis industry wasn't spared by the destruction. Assessing the early damage, Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, says that 30 to 40 percent of the state's marijuana growers could have been affected in some way, whether by fires or the resulting smoke and toxic particles in the air.