WEST MARIN (KPIX 5) — The recent Northern California wildfires have hit the marijuana industry, burning dozens of pot farms and leaving many more engulfed in smoke.
Growers at a marijuana farm in West Marin say enough of this year’s crop is ruined that the price of pot will probably go up.
“I knew we had to get the pot out immediately or risk losing everything,” said Chris Leenhouts, the master grower of the medical marijuana farm.
“There’s one morning I got up here at 4 a.m. and as the sun rose you could see red glow and ash raining down. And that’s when I realized we need to get this out immediately,” Leenhouts said.
There was a red flag warning, and heavy smoke was heading his way.
Besides worrying about fire, he also worried about water. All of their supply was being used to fight the Tubbs Fire.
“So we had to manually use our pickup trucks to haul 100 gallons of water up,” he said.
It’s not known yet whether all the smoke ruined the crop.
Workers had to go out in the middle of the night and work 24/7 to harvest 200 to 250 pounds of marijuana. They normally dry it on the grounds here, but they had to haul all of the marijuana up the hill and bring it to a facility in Salinas.
Smoke may have ruined the crop, and it won’t be sold for medicinal use because of potential toxins.
“The final product isn’t ready, so until it is we are kind of waiting in limbo,” Leenhouts said.
On top of this worry, their other medicinal pot farm — in the Santa Cruz area — was in the line of fire Tuesday in that area.
And California’s marijuana growers are up against a key lifeline: crop insurance.
“There is no insurance whatsoever,” Leenhouts said.
So for the marijuana industry, hundreds of thousands of dollars of infrastructure remains uninsured.
Harborside Dispensary and Acme Elixirs says it will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this farm to fire relief charities.