Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

US: Wildfires in California and Oregon damage cannabis growers

For the cannabis industry, 2020 started as quite a challenging year, with the increased difficulties in finding capital and the growing pressure from investors on companies to be as profitable as expected. On the one hand, some investors were pleased, with a number of companies reporting positive growth; on the other hand, other companies had a hard time finding the formula to turn around the negative trend. At the same time, the global pandemic presented an opportunity for the industry as a whole, with cannabis businesses deemed as essential. Many reports have indeed shown a surge in sales, in many states in the US.

Yet, the infamous wildfire season has hit California and a couple of counties in Oregon, seriously hampering the so-called Croptober – the time of the year during which outdoor growers harvest their crop. Since mid-August, more than 1 million acres of land in California, home to 5,000 licensed growers, have been burnt.

Aside from the obvious damage that fire can deal and actually has dealt to cannabis farms, smoke, ashes, darkened skies, all contribute to the potential destruction of cannabis crops. Smoke and ashes might contain toxic residues, which won’t allow the flowers to pass lab testing, apart from being extremely dangerous for the end consumer. On the other hand, darkened skies can have a twofold effect on plants: their growth can be stunted, thus pushing them to premature flowering, and they can also become more susceptible to mold and other pests.

The wildfires thus far have already broken the record for most acres burned in history, and there is a widespread fear among growers that this is going to be the new normal for them. The reason why such wildfires happen mainly point at the effect of climate change, also considering the early and sudden cold snap in Colorado, which damaged many outdoor cannabis cultivations as well.

There are some ways to limit wildfires' damages to cannabis farms, such as creating firebreaks around properties, and gaps in vegetation to slow down the fire and prevent it from getting fueled more.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to limit the damages, and many growers are experiencing huge crop and economic losses. Yet, it will take a while before the actual scope of the damages is completely understood.