Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
October 13th, 2017
Marijuana farmers and dispensary owners across Northern California are nervously watching as wildfires burn through some of the state’s prime cannabis growing areas and destroy valuable crops, which could drive up prices for consumers across the country reports USA Today.
“This is right smack in the middle of people’s harvests,” said Eli Melrod, the CEO of Solful Dispensary in Sebastopol, in northern California. “It couldn’t have been worse timing, frankly.”
Just one marijuana plant can be worth up to $5,000.
Pot growers complain they cannot get insurance like traditional farmers or the vineyards.
Wildfires are ravaging parts of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, raising fears that their highly sought after product may go up in flames with no insurance to compensate their losses.
Making matters worse, pot farms are built in remote areas with poor road access and don’t necessarily appear on firefighters’ maps of buildings to be protected. The growers often live largely off the radar, without health insurance or access to traditional job support systems such as unemployment insurance. Black market growers may be reluctant to tell friends and family members of the losses they’ve suffered.
“It’s just sad that we live in this underground world where we can’t discuss the true extent of the damage,” said Jessica Lilga of Alta Supply, a statewide wholesale cannabis distribution based in Oakland. “All remaining growers who did not literally lose their crops will be affected.”
It’s unclear exactly how many people work in the cannabis industry in northern California and how many cultivation operations exist. Lilga said she’s aware of “thousands” of grow operations but was reluctant to speculate, given the industry’s secretive nature.
But any interruption could have widespread implications for American marijuana consumers, legal or otherwise.
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