A record-breaking 4 million acres have burned in California, and the season is not over. Cal Fire reports inching towards containment in Napa and Sonoma counties. Another 1.6 million acres have burned in Oregon and Washington. At 5.6 million acres so far, the 2020 fire season leaves in its wake damage larger than the state of New Jersey.
The cannabis industry is vulnerable to fires, particularly as it has less access to disaster insurance than traditional industries. It is estimated that 2/3 of California’s cannabis is grown outdoors. Fires have hindered this Croptober for the West Coast, the outdoor growing capitol of the U.S. Croptober is the time of year when cannabis yields its biggest harvest. Many outdoor plants reach a flowering peak throughout the month of October and beyond, into early November.
There is no controlling the elements. This time last year, growers in Oregon, California, and Washington reported to MJBizDaily a wetter-than-average year for outdoor crops. This meant less fires, but a different type of environmental risk: over-watering due to late-season rain, which can lead to the growth of mold or bacteria.
How can the cannabis and hemp industries prepare for a future of climate crises?