Up in smoke: California fires damaging marijuana farms


The wildfires in Northern California are not only wreaking havoc on residential areas. The blazes are also sending marijuana farms up in smoke, CNN reported.

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The fires have destroyed several farms in Mendocino County, just before recreational sales begin in California. A lack of insurance coverage could hurt the farm owners.

"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."

Because federal law prohibits marijuana, farmers cannot insure their businesses. Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, which grows and sells marijuana in California, estimated to CNN that farmers invest more than $5 million in their facilities and as much as $3 million on growing the crop itself.

"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," Peterson said. "There's no mechanism for recovery to repay them for their loss. It's a tremendous risk for these people."

The 22 wildfires burning in California have left 23 persons dead and hundreds missing, with more than 170,000 acres of land burned along with thousands of homes and businesses, CNN reported.

Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, and recreational use was approved by referendum in 2016.


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