Wildfires in California’s northern counties are still raging, but containment is in sight. As the hard-hit counties of Sonoma and Mendocino assess losses and begin recuperation efforts, industry experts think that California’s cannabis market will likely absorb the losses.
“The cannabis industry has operated without a safety net for so long that we tend to look out for one another,” says Ned Fussell, Co-CEO of CannaCraft, who has donated $50,000 in medical marijuana to local dispensaries and allowed the Red Cross to set up relief headquarters in their warehouse in Santa Rosa.
With little to no insurance to cover fire- and smoke-damaged crops, outdoor grows are likely to suffer losses estimated in the hundreds of millions. California Grower’s Association (CGA) has set up a cannabis relief fund after their initial YouCaring page was taken down due to “strict policies regarding cannabis campaigns.” CGA is also encouraging those who have lost homes, farms or businesses to the fires to send their loss reports and needs to email@example.com.
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With farmers distributed throughout the state and indoor grows that produce cannabis year round, it’s unlikely that the 17 wildfires in Northern California—which burned more than 330 square miles and took 41 lives—will have a huge impact on a massive state market that produces 13 million pounds of marijuana a year.
In preparation for legalization and in lieu of already decreasing prices, growers planted more cannabis this year to make up for foreseen losses in revenue. They were also aware that 2017 was the last year in which they could grow completely unregulated crop—prompting them to go big.
Both of these factors add up to a mere dent in the state’s massive cannabis industry. While it’s difficult to see positives in the wake of such decimation, Kevin Jodrey, a long-time grower and universally recognized industry expert, notes that the destruction of prominent outdoor grows could help stabilize market prices.
There’s an ocean of those people [small businesses] getting knocked out because they can’t compete [on price],” says Jodrey in an interview with GreenState. “But when you knock all this outdoor out, this will allow people to survive for another season and they really needed it,” he says.