Oct 18, 2017
Marijuana Farms Damaged by Northern California Fires

Cannabis growers in Northern California are assessing damages from wildfires that have ravaged Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties. However, unlike winegrape growers also affected by California fires, cannabis growers are unable to obtain crop insurance and are ineligible for federal disaster relief. Cannabis remains classified as an illegal substance under federal law.

Up to one-third of the annual outdoor cannabis crop in Mendocino and Sonoma counties could be destroyed or damaged as wildfires continue to burn in Northern California, SFGate reports. Smoke may have also damaged crops that survived the wildfires.

Ben Bradley, California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) operations director, told SFGate dozens of CCIA members have lost crops and homes in the marijuana commerce epicenters of Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

KQED News spoke with Ned Fussell, CEO of CannaCraft, a medical cannabis manufacturer headquartered in Santa Rosa.

“We’ve lost millions of dollars of product for sure,” Fussell said. “And we have no insurance.”

Fussell owns about 20 farms in Northern California, but has only been able to access a few of them. The rest are in fire zones, still burning, KQED reports.

The company is still assessing losses to its sites throughout the area and expects damage to be substantial. CannaCraft is also temporarily donating 12,000 square feet of its office space in Santa Rosa to the American Red Cross to use as its regional headquarters for Northern California fire relief.

In addition to donating office space, CannaCraft is bringing in phone and internet service, as well providing Red Cross staff with access to the cafeteria, showers and other necessary amenities. CannaCraft has also partnered with local dispensaries Mercy Wellness in Cotati, SPARC/Peace in Medicine in Santa Rosa, and Soulful in Sebastopol to donate $40,000 in free medicine to patients in need.

The California Growers Association has established a recovery fund for growers affected by the wildfires.

— Ana Olvera, digital content editor; photo: California Growers Association


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