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California Wildfires Are Affecting the Pot Industry

Maureen Meehan

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California’s wildfires are affecting the cannabis industry in the Bay Area, according to dispensary owners who say pot plants are growing around some of the state’s raging fires—especially the Rocky Fire near Clear Lake.

Timothy Anderson, purchasing manager at Harborside Health Center, a dispensary in Oakland, said one of the burned homes belonged to a cannabis grower who provides them with product.

“I can’t remember [a fire] affecting our growers as much as this year,” Anderson told NBC Bay Area.

Anderson said about a quarter of their marijuana comes from growers near Clear Lake, and the smoke from the fire is damaging other growers’ crops as well. He expects the drop in supply will raise prices for dispensaries who buy from outdoor grows around the Bay Area.

“Unlike an apple or tomato, you can’t wash a cannabis plant off,” Anderson explained. “The sticky resin is going to grab onto any environmental grit or grime from the air.”

The buds from those plants could be dangerous to smoke, he added, saying he wouldn’t buy any marijuana for a dispensary that smells like a wildfire.

“It could potentially have some health hazards, especially for people with compromised immune systems,” Anderson added.

By late Wednesday night, the Rocky Fire had gobbled up 70,000 acres in a region 50 miles north of the Bay Area. Thousands of lightning strikes over the past several days have started small wildfires in the northern part of the state, CNN reported.

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