Cali Weed Will Be Fine, but It May Taste Like “Campfire Pot” or “Hickory Kush”
The wildfires continue to plague California's weed crops
The wildfires in Northern California have left 23 people dead and more than 100 people missing. Property has been destroyed, communities devastated, as the fires show no signs of slowing down despite firefighters’ best efforts to contain them. But the fires are ravaging another group of people: weed farmers.
The fires couldn’t have come at worse time for California pot farmers as October is peak harvest season for many growers. Tis the season for trimmers, also commonly referred to as “trimmigrants,” to flock to Northern California to earn some quick cash. But now, for many, their seasonal employment is going up in smoke.
California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen told Green State, that the wildfires would be “the worst year on record for California’s growers.” So far, at least two dozen farms from the CGA have been destroyed, causing millions in damage. “I had one conversation today where the family was in tears, saying, ‘We don’t know how we’re going to make it to January, let alone next planting season,’” Allen added.
California is positioned to begin recreational marijuana sales in January, but medical marijuana has been legal in the state for years and weed is one of the state’s largest cash crops. A depressing reality for the California weed farming industry is that there are no insurance policies to cover losses like there are for other crops.
“Nobody right now has insurance,” said Nikki Lastreto, secretary of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association told CNN. “They might have insurance on their house, but not on their crop.”
“If their facilities burn down, a lot of these people won’t be able to get any economic relief for them from an insurance claim,” said Derek Peterson, CEO of Terre Tech, a company that grows and sells weed in the state. “There’s no mechanism for recovery to repay them for their loss. It’s a tremendous risk for these people.”
Usually when people think of Sonoma and Mendocino, they think about grapes, but the area is huge and massive amounts of weed come from the region because of it’s ideal climate and soil. “A lot of plants have been lost in the fire, especially in Sonoma county,” a local weed farmer said. “In southern Mendocino County, there are farms burning right now.”
If there’s any positives about this situation, it’s that it doesn’t look like that the wildfires are going to do too much devastation to California’s weed supply. The state already has a huge weed surplus and the Trinity Humboldt counties—which are some of the largest areas known for growing weed—have gone relatively untouched by the fires.
One other potentially interesting possibility that could come out of this all, is that there could be a funky taste to a lot of the weed crops that manage to survive the fires.