By Katie Burke
The fires raging through Northern California has left many in the cannabis community questioning how we can help. The Emerald Triangle which is made up of Mendocino County, Humboldt County, and Trinity County have been farming cannabis since the 60’s. It is the largest cannabis producing region in the country.
Licensing, equipment, and employees can cost a farmer anywhere from $3-6 Million to produce cannabis. A majority of these farmers put their life savings, heart and soul into growing their product. Many farmers that had been growing cannabis recently had to completely update their equipment and strategies to meet the state requirement for licensing and finally become legal.
Reports coming from the reps up north are stating the change in weather is helping contain the fires at this point. The air is cooler, there’s drizzle, and the fog is rolling in. Most farmers still have not been allowed back on their property to access damages. Sonoma County alone has anywhere from 6,000 – 9,000 cannabis farms, and that’s not taking into consideration all of the undocumented farms. The wildfires have burned more than 213,000 acres.
The majority of the farmers had taken a serious risk growing marijuana because the crop can not be federally insured. Heather Manzano, the acting administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, which oversees crop insurance, was quoted as saying, “Since hemp is classified as a prohibited substance under federal law, it is not eligible for federal crop insurance.”
The farmers that were lucky enough to have their crop spared will still be deeply affected by the ash and contaminants from the wildfires ruining their existing cannabis. To make matters worse, a crowdfunding site the cannabis community had used to donate, refunded all of the donations. The third party that handles the transactions, WePay, had stated:
“Current U.S. Federal Law prohibits the purchase and sale of marijuana. Subsequently, our payment provider is unable to process payments connected to the production or sale of cannabis (including CBD oil), even in situations where such payments would be permitted under State Law.”
Shame on WePay. Money being collected for families that have lost everything to a fire isn’t going to buy cannabis products. If you would like to help The Soil King out of Cloverdale is accepting on-site donations as well as a hotline for donations at (707) 894-3500. All of the money will go directly to the cannafamilies that have lost everything.