A deadly wildfire that has so far destroyed 73,000 acres and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 people is threatening thousands of acres of pot farms in Sonoma county.
A weekly conference call on Monday morning between the region’s California Growers Association revealed that six of 18 regional leaders were put under mandatory evacuation orders or assisting others who were, leaving their grows unattended, Chron reports.
“We’re expecting some pretty significant property damage,” California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen told Chron. “As damage numbers emerge, it’s going to be pretty stunning on all fronts, and certainly our membership has been directly impacted.”
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Reached via phone, Allen said that a number of his members have lost homes and their farms to the fire already, others were not so optimistic about returning after evacuating.
“We’ve got a few other folks that said they would be shocked if it were still there when they got home,” Allen said.
Cannabis is a yearly crop, so losing the yield isn’t as drastic as say a 20-year-old grape vine that has another 30 years of fruit to bear. But there are still other challenges with cannabis considering it continues to operate under a legal gray area, and is currently illegal under federal law.
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“What do you do when you lose your business to a fire? We can’t get insurance or aid from FEMA — we don’t have access to those programs, we can’t get loans,” Allen said.
While pot is technically legal in the state of California, purchasing it for recreational purposes is not quite there yet. The state has until January to set up its regulations, which could mean that there may be a…