Over the past couple months, Americans have been dealing with devastating wildfires up and down the West Coast. Now, everyone is aware of the damage that these fires cause. But not many understand the ramifications that come with the fires.
West Coast fires this week reportedly burned down a number of cannabis farms in Oregon and threatened even more in California and Washington state. This a reoccurring situation that is disastrous to the economy.

The situation has many marijuana farmers voicing concerns this is part of a “new normal” in which they’ll have to adapt their business models because of wildfires that take place on a nearly annual basis, especially in California. A normal that is everything but normal.

“We’ve already broken the record for most acres burned in history, and we haven’t even gotten to the worst part of the season. Fires are just a way of life at this point,” said David Najera, a marijuana cultivation consultant and farmer in Mendocino County, California.

According to local scientists, climate change plays a huge role in the extreme weather patterns, including the West Coast fires and the huge temperature swing that unleashed snowfall and sudden cold weather in Colorado that may have destroyed millions of dollars worth of outdoor marijuana and hemp plants.

On the West Coast, cannabis industry insiders say the true toll of the fires is undetermined, both on the financial end for growers and potential impacts for the rest of the cannabis supply chain. Meaning, the entire country will feel this.

That’s in part because fire season is ongoing and most outdoor farmers have yet to discover whether their crops will still be able to pass mandated state testing as a result of potential contamination from smoke, ash, fire retardant, among others. A situation which has many growers and farmers understandably on edge.

“When you start getting into how [it’s] going to affect product and manufacturing and production, this is the big variable,” Jon Vaught, CEO of Front Range Biosciences, a Colorado-based agricultural biotech company, told Cannabis Business Times. “It depends on where the wind’s blowing, what your situation is, where you’re located. You could be right next to a fire and have no issues at all, or you could be ten miles from it and have your building filled with smoke. It really just depends on the weather.”

We will for sure keep an eye on this as more info and data is available. However, for now, continue to pray for the west coast and the industries that thrive here.

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