SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – This year’s historic wildfire season is not only affecting the local wine industry, it is also posing a threat to West Coast cannabis crops.
Some growers are already dealing with the loss of crops due to flames, while others are worried about the lingering smoke and ash in the air could impact the quality of their cannabis.
“It’s like everything had been rained on with ash. It was absolutely crazy to see,” said Wendy Kornburg, owner of Sunnabis Humbolt’s Full Sun Farms.
Her garden should produce between 200 and 400 pounds of marijuana a year but this year, she’s concerned some cannabis may not pass inspection.
“The main concern is that the product itself has ash on it and with the way ca regulations go, that becomes problematic because we will fail testing for foreign contaminants,” Kornburg said.
Most growers will have to send their crop to an extraction lab before it get’s tested for approval.
Kornburg says because the ash is getting stuck to her flower, she’s using a natural farming solution to help cleanse them before they head out for testing.
“It’s water-based, and then you use a vinegar and I increased the vinegar to make it more acidic and what we’ve found is the plants are responding really really well,” Kornburg said.
Kornburg has been sharing her technique with fellow farmers, who are not only worried they won’t have a profitable year but are also concerned about how this may affect consumers.
Dale Sky Jones is executive chancellor of Oaksterdam Cannabis College in Oakland.
She believes the amount of fresh flower on the market will likely drop after this wildfire season.
“Any disruption is diffiult to deal with, add to that COVID, on top of the fires. This is gonna be a struggle,” Jones said.
It may take a while to figure out if avid smokers will be able to tell a difference in their bud but Jones says if you want to make sure what you’re smoking is safe, you should only buy legally.
“This is more than ever a reason to ensure you’re purchasing from a state legal facility, not only are you helping everyone by paying taxes, but you also know you’re getting a product that’s been tested,” Jones said.