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Marijuana woes in California following the global-warming induced wildfires…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: October 22, 2017, 11:50:27 am »


from The Washington Post....

Wildfires scorched marijuana crops, possibly complicating
California's rollout of legal sales


At least 34 marijuana farms suffered extensive damage in Northern California's wildfires,
ahead of fully legal sales that are set to begin on January 1st.


By KATIE SEZIMA | 6:30PM EDT - Friday, October 20, 2017

Amy Goodwin removes the yellow leaves and checks for damage on the marijuana plants for SPARC on Wednesday in Glen Ellen, California. The plants require a high level of maintenance, and the fire stopped employees from working. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Amy Goodwin removes the yellow leaves and checks for damage on the marijuana plants for SPARC on Wednesday in Glen Ellen, California.
The plants require a high level of maintenance, and the fire stopped employees from working.
 — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


THE DEADLY WILDFIRES that ravaged communities and wineries in Northern California also severely damaged numerous marijuana farms, just before the state is expected to fully legalize the drug, in a disaster that could have far-reaching implications for a nascent industry.

At least 34 marijuana farms suffered extensive damage as the wildfires tore across wine country and some of California's prime marijuana-growing areas. The fires could present challenges to the scheduled January 1st rollout of legal marijuana sales at the start of an industry that is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue.

In many cases, owners have spent tens of thousands of dollars to become compliant with state law to sell the product. But because the federal government considers marijuana cultivation and sales a criminal enterprise, it remains extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most of the marijuana businesses affected by the fire to access insurance, mortgages and loans to rebuild. Even a charitable fund set up to help marijuana farmers was frozen because a payment processor will not handle cannabis transactions.

Cannabis businesses also are not eligible for any type of federal disaster relief, according to a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It's the darkness right before the dawn of legal, regulated cannabis in California,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, who cautioned that the full extent of the damage remains unknown. “These businesses are in a really vulnerable position, and this really came at about the worst time it could have. It means we're on our own.”

The fires burned swaths of Mendocino County, which is part of what is known as California's “Emerald Triangle”, the nation's epicenter of marijuana growing. It also devastated Sonoma County, which is best known for wine but has seen an increase in cannabis farming. The fires killed at least 42 people and damaged thousands of buildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Some marijuana farms were completely destroyed, and many others are believed to have been heavily damaged by fire, smoke and ash. Structures used to store dried marijuana burned, as did greenhouses and irrigation lines. Many marijuana cultivators live on their farms, and some homes burned to the ground.


Thousands of glass dispensary containers are scattered where SPARC's processing barn once stood in Glen Ellen, California. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Thousands of glass dispensary containers are scattered where SPARC's processing barn once stood in Glen Ellen, California.
 — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


Inside a damaged SPARC barn, bunches of drying marijuana still hang from the rafters. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Inside a damaged SPARC barn, bunches of drying marijuana still hang from the rafters. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.

Erich Pearson, co-owner of SPARC, a large medical cannabis dispensary with two locations in San Francisco and others north of the city, saw his crops in Glen Ellen, California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, engulfed by flames after awakening to the smell of smoke. The first thing he saw after getting close to the farm was a metal-roofed barn on fire. It was filled with marijuana harvested to sell on the legal market.

“We lost everything we harvested to date, and had significant damage to what's left,” he said.

There is concern that what has been destroyed, as well as the damage from smoke, ash and lack of water for crops that did survive, could seriously impact the supply for customers when marijuana is legal for sale. The fire has compounded existing problems with the initial start of sales because of a regulatory mess: Many municipalities and the state have not released draft regulations for how businesses must comply with the new law. Businesses in some places, including San Francisco, are not likely to be able to open on January 1st.

“Now, we might be facing a much smaller harvest than we were anticipating, which could potentially drive the price up,” said Josh Drayton, deputy director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “It's going to touch every different piece of the industry, and we can't get ahead of this yet. We still don't know how much has survived, how much has been lost.”

Chiah Rodriques, chief executive of Mendocino Generations, a marijuana collective in Mendocino County, said that most of the 40 farms she works with were only about 25-to-50-percent harvested when the fires broke out earlier this month. About a quarter of the farms were affected by either fire or smoke, she said, and just 10 of the 40 have the local permit necessary to become compliant with the state, though all are working toward them. None of them have crop insurance, she said.

Rodriques said that the fires could lead to less usable marijuana on the market come January. The one saving grace might be to repurpose affected plants and use them for oil and other tinctures that can be sold at dispensaries. The oils are far less lucrative than the flowers, the part of the plant that is consumed — and this year was expected to be a bumper crop.

“You're looking at the difference between $800 to $1,500 a pound to now getting $100; it's a huge blow,” she said, “especially when farmers have spent so much money trying to become compliant with laws.”

“These people put everything they had into paying for this fee and this tax and this permit and this lawyer, one thing after the next, and to have this happen right when it's finally harvest is huge,” she said.


Joey Ereneta, director of cultivation at SPARC, stands near the rubble where the dispensary's processing barn once stood. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Joey Ereneta, director of cultivation at SPARC, stands near the rubble where the dispensary's processing barn once stood.
 — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


Some of the marijuana plants that were destroyed in the Northern California wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Some of the marijuana plants that were destroyed in the Northern California wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.

Pearson carefully selected the seeds and genetic strains for the cannabis he planted in February on part of 400 acres he shares with 11 other farmers. He is now starting from scratch: finding new seeds and securing greenhouse space to grow the new plants. He had submitted all of his permits to become legal under the county and state's new regulations.

“The hopes of what we could do are still the hopes of what we're going to do,” Pearson said. “It's just going to be a little harder to get there.”

Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms in Redwood Valley, California, did something very out of character: She left her cellphone at a friend's house the day the fire reached her. A neighbor pounded on her door in the middle of the night as flames surrounded her home, saving the lives of Oldham and her 4-year-old daughter.

Oldham's house was destroyed, but her greenhouse stayed intact, in part because she hiked through what looked like a “post-apocalyptic disaster zone” to check on her property after the fire passed. She said that emergency officials initially did not allow marijuana farmers to check on their crops, as is allowed for farmers of other agricultural products.

When she arrived at the farm, she used a neighbor's hose to wet down a large oak tree that was ablaze, saving her greenhouse. Oldham has been okayed for a legal permit in Mendocino County, spending “a lot of money” to come fully into compliance. She estimates that she lost about 25 percent of her crop to wind damage, and much of it looks burned.

She and other cannabis farmers must have their crops extensively tested under California's new regulations, and most people don't know what impact smoke or burn damage will have.

“We've never experienced this and I don't know what to expect,” she said. She said that she will not be able to recoup the full value of her house through insurance because she grows marijuana.

“We're totally legal,” she said of her farm. “But we're still being treated unfairly.”


Peter Brown, from left, Patrick Liese and Dan Hertz trim marijuana buds, which SPARC's Ereneta says will be tested for contaminants from the fires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Peter Brown, from left, Patrick Liese and Dan Hertz trim marijuana buds, which SPARC's Ereneta says will be tested for contaminants
from the fires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.


Marcos Morales holds up a marijuana bud affected by the wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.
Marcos Morales holds up a marijuana bud affected by the wildfires. — Photograph: Mason Trinca/The Washington Post.

Susan Schindler, a grower in Potter Valley, California, said she has spent at least $20,000 on consultants, attorneys and fees trying to come into compliance for legal sales in January. She evacuated her home and has been at a San Francisco hotel since the fires. Her master grower told her the plants are “very crisp”.

Half of the crop was destroyed earlier this year due to russet mites, and now she thinks much of the other half will be lost to fire. Some was harvested, and she's hoping that it will allow her to break even.

Schindler calls marijuana a “holy plant” that she's farmed for years, selling to medical dispensaries.

“I'm not going to give up,” she said, “but it's going to take a lot of money out of my bank account this year.”


• Katie Zezima is a national correspondent at The Washington Post covering drugs, guns, gambling and vice in America. She also covered the 2016 election and the Obama White House for The Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Ten miles of California's loveliest countryside, transformed by fire

 • ‘We are going to stay’: Northern California residents vow to stay put even as wildfires worsen housing crunch


https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wildfires-scorched-marijuana-crops-possibly-complicating-californias-rollout-of-legal-sales/2017/10/20/037d36a4-b41b-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html
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aDjUsToR
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 12:05:33 pm »

In a sane world, supplies would simply be transported in from elsewhere.
Criminalising softer drugs is just dumb. The cost of doing so far outweighs the harms of these drugs.
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 02:36:16 pm »


Ah, but it is a federal offence in the USA to transport marijuana across state lines.

Prior to the recent wildfires, the California state government was worried about the fact that the amount of legal marijuana being cultivated was four-times the estimated projected consumption by residents of California, which meant that 75% of the crop would probably be sold out-of-state and that would attract the attention of the feds. The Los Angeles Times published an article about those concerns a few weeks ago. However, as a result of the recent wild-fires (no doubt partly because of global warming and the resultant climate change) there will now be a marijuana shortage in California until the growers get up and running again. Which raises the prospect that growers in other states where marijuana is legal may be tempted to supply the California market, which would likewise attract the attention of the feds and put the heat on everybody.
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Im2Sexy4MyPants
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 03:07:32 pm »

It's not global warming it's called climate change it's been happening for millions of years
not sure what you are smoking but try to remain calm Grin
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Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
http://www.infowars.com/

AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 05:13:24 pm »


It's actually climate change CAUSED BY global warming.

And a majority of the world's climate scientists agree that human beings are contributing to it.
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aDjUsToR
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 06:28:09 pm »

A significant number of climate experts ACTUALLY APPOINTED BY THE IPCC have called bullshit on the scam. This should make anyone with a few braincells wonder if this is maybe a crock.
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aDjUsToR
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 06:31:48 pm »

Global warming causes CO2 to be released from the biosphere and oceans. This is shown in the ancient ice records. Temperatures rise first, then the oceans and biosphere release more Co2 into the atmosphere. Industrial Co2 is only 3% of the Co2 in the atmosphere.ALL Co2 in the atmosphere is only 0.04% of the total atmosphere!!!
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2017, 09:02:00 am »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Wildfires devastate California pot farmers,
who must rebuild without banks or insurance


By JOE MOZINGO | 9:00AM PDT - Saturday, October 28, 2017

Firefighters with Cal Fire Mendocino unit extinguish a hotspot near a marijuana grow on the Frost Flower Farms in Redwood Valley. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
Firefighters with Cal Fire Mendocino unit extinguish a hotspot near a marijuana grow on the Frost Flower Farms in Redwood Valley.
 — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


SHE KNEW just where she had buried the gold and silver coins — down a ravine from her home by a big Douglas fir.

After Cheryl Dumont lost her entire marijuana crop, her income for the year, she was anxious to see whether that savings had survived the Redwood fire.

She hiked down to the tree with a shovel and started digging for the plastic box holding the coins. Two feet deep she found what a week before was worth $40,000. It was a melted mess of gold, silver, plastic, dirt and pine needles.

She was among hundreds of growers — big and small, fully permitted, semi-legal and pure outlaw — devastated by the fires in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.

Their losses illustrate how, despite new laws to make the industry legal in California, many farmers remain uninsured and trapped in a cash economy that leaves them vulnerable to natural disasters.


Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, walks through the ruins of her home destroyed by the Redwood fire. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, walks through the ruins of her home destroyed by the Redwood fire.
 — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


Fire season and the cannabis harvest coincide in the fall, leaving growers with a combustible mix: flammable plants and the flammable currency that paid for them.

Established crop insurance companies do not write policies for cannabis. Because marijuana growing is illegal under federal law, banks generally do not do business with cultivators.

So even farmers like Dumont, who spent thousands to get her crop permitted by Mendocino County, are stuck with cash. Because that makes them vulnerable to home invasions and robberies, they often bury their cash — or the gold and silver they buy — around their properties.

Many people in Mendocino, and to a lesser extent in Sonoma and Napa, supplement other wages with backyard grows. Gardens are scattered everywhere.

Because the marijuana culture of Northern California has survived in secrecy for the last 50 years, and mostly still does, no one can know the exact loss to the industry.


Ashley Oldham looks over part of her marijuana farm that survived the Redwood fire. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
Ashley Oldham looks over part of her marijuana farm that survived the Redwood fire.
 — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


The threat of losing a year's crop and cash reserves pushes many growers to take risks a grape farmer neighbor might not.

When the fires broke, farmers thrashed over four-wheel-drive roads with horse trailers full of hastily cut marijuana. Some defied evacuation orders to save the crops.

Others left, and lost everything.

The owners of Mystic Spring Farms expected its 900 marijuana plants to bring in more than $2 million this season.

The 12-acre farm in the mountains of eastern Sonoma County had its own spring for irrigation, buildings for indoor growing, greenhouses and open fields for outdoor farming. The farmers had investors, distributors, attorneys and business consultants.


Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, hugs a firefighter who was putting out hot spots at her marijuana farm in Redwood Valley. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, hugs a firefighter who was putting out hot spots at her marijuana farm
in Redwood Valley. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


But they had no crop insurance. When the Tubbs fire roared through the farm this month, they could only count it as a complete loss.

“Everything is gone,” said Kelvin Craver, 36, a one-time Hollywood producer who co-founded Mystic Springs Farms.

He noted that a few small companies try to sell insurance for marijuana crops. “But they seemed kind of sketchy. We didn't know if they would really cover the crop in the end,” he said.

Less than 60 miles to the northwest, Ashley Oldham, 31, had already suffered a natural disaster this year at her Redwood Valley farm in Mendocino County.

Russet mites infested her plants, so she ripped out the entire crop and replanted in July. She said she had just spent over $200,000 to build an automated, climate-controlled greenhouse that regulated the amount of sunlight her plants received to make them flower when she wanted. She estimated she spent over $80,000 to get a county permit, and planned to get a state permit when it becomes available in 2018.


Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, reflects on the loss to her marijuana farm due to the Redwood Valley fire. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, reflects on the loss to her marijuana farm due to the Redwood Valley fire.
 — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


She woke up in the early hours of October 9th to a neighbor's knock on the door and fire in the trees. The power was out. She and her 4-year-old daughter fled the house using the girl's Batman flashlight.

Her crop, in pots, had been moved outside so that building officials could do an electrical inspection of the greenhouse.

She drove off, hoping they would survive.

When she hiked back in the next day, she found her house, two commercial processing buildings, and materials for two new greenhouses destroyed. The fire was so hot that even her home’s steel I-beam sub-floor warped and melted.

Fortunately, the new greenhouse survived and, amazingly, so did her crop — but for some singeing on the edges. She’ll have to wait to find out if the smoke made the marijuana too toxic to sell.


A Redwood Valley resident looks at his neighbor's marijuana grow that was destroyed in the Redwood Valley fire. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
A Redwood Valley resident looks at his neighbor's marijuana grow that was destroyed in the Redwood Valley fire.
 — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


What she knows she lost: her savings.

In the past, banks have shut down four of her accounts, she said. So she stored “tens of thousands” of dollars in a safe under her house.

The heat turned it to ash.

“That was going to be how I built the new greenhouses,” she said.

Her next step will be to sell her Audi to buy an RV so she can live on her property and protect her crop from thieves.


Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, left, receives a hug of support from friend Serena Inda in Redwood Valley. — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.
Ashley Oldham, owner of Frost Flower Farms, left, receives a hug of support from friend Serena Inda in Redwood Valley.
 — Photograph: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.


Dumont and Oldham are angry that they and other registered marijuana growers were not allowed to re-enter the evacuation zone to tend to their crops at the same time as grape growers.

Oldham hiked in anyway, the day after the fire first hit, with 100 feet of hose and a backpack full of high-pressure nozzles and sprinklers to keep her plants from dying in the withering sun and to douse spot-fires. Her property was still smoldering two weeks after the flame front passed.

Dumont, 53, couldn't get back to her Redwood Valley land for about a week, so she has no idea whether her crop burned right away, or much later when she could have protected it.

“We're still not respected as legitimate business owners,” she said.

It made her wonder whether she might be burying cash and gold for years to come.


• Joe Mozingo is a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for covering the earthquake in Haiti and the ASNE Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling for his in-depth look at a federal investigation into relic poaching in rural Utah that led to three suicides. Mozingo helped lead the L.A. Times' coverage of the Isla Vista killings in 2014 and a Miami Herald investigation into the space shuttle Columbia crash in 2003; both were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. His book, The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, a Search for Family was a 2012 “Discover Great New Writers” pick by Barnes and Noble.

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-fire-weed-20171028-story.html
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