“Nobody right now has insurance,” 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,” Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, a cannabis agriculture company, according to CNN. “There’s no mechanism for recovery to repay them for their loss. It’s a tremendous risk for these people.”
As of now, there is no clear estimate telling us how many of the 10,000 to 15,000 marijuana farms in the state have burned down so far. Moreover, its a situation that weed farmers have found themselves in before as wildfires in California have increased intensity in recent years.
The damages are “especially severe this year because many growers had spent their life savings getting local permits and preparing crops for state licensure and sales scheduled to begin Jan. 2,” Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, explained to the Los Angeles Times. Despite the damage, it’s still unlikely to cause any shortage of marijuana as there are numerous farms throughout the state, Allen told CNN.
Nonetheless, some of the individuals providing that crop will be hurting. “A lot of plants have been lost in the fire, especially in Sonoma County,” said Nikki Lastreto, secretary of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association. “In southern Mendocino County, there are farms burning right now.”
Though roughly 61 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized, President Donald Trump’s administration has hinted at cracking down on states that have legalized the federally illegal plant. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long been anti-marijuana and he may be able to begin crackdowns with the expiration of a budget amendment.