The disastrous wildfires spreading through Northern California’s Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties are still burning, with unpredictable winds pushing the blazes past the reach of the first responders trying to contain it. Even with smoke still billowing across the sky, and ash falling instead of rain, the area is wasting no time getting to work on disaster relief. This includes incredible signs of solidarity between the local community and cannabis industry, with local legal weed companies giving back to their affected neighbors and thousands in donations given to marijuana growers, some of whom have already lost millions in plants and irreplaceable genetics.
According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, a combination of 11 fires across Northern California have already burned 140,000 acres of land, destroying more than 570 structures, and a still un-totaled number of vineyards and cannabis farms.
To try and help bring relief to those who lost homes, cars, property, and even entire neighborhoods, Sonoma County based marijuana brand CannaCraft (producers of AbsoluteXtracts and Be Kind Flower) will be donating $50,000 worth of product to local residents, with three local dispensaries giving out free vape cartridges or buds to medical patients in the affected areas.
“We are fortunate that the CannaCraft manufacturing facility in Santa Rosa has not been impacted and remains operational.” The company wrote in a press release earlier this week. “We are committed to continuing to serve our patients and helping rebuild our community. Effective immediately, a portion of all CannaCraft sales will be donated to assist in local relief and rebuilding efforts. We will evaluate where our funds and efforts can be of most help to our neighbors as more information emerges.
“CannaCraft will continue to evaluate all of our resources including vehicles, property, facilities, equipment, and product to determine how to best serve our community during this time. We will be providing more information on these efforts as they develop.”
In Cloverdale, CA, a small town at the top of Sonoma County still threatened by the persistent fires, renowned cannabis soil guru Patrick King immediately opened up his business, The Soil King, as one of the city’s prime evacuation sources and donation hubs, even going as far as to offer free gas and funds to those in dire need. His action has inspired a network of cannabis companies from as far north as Oregon to coordinate relief efforts for those in Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties.
While CannaCraft and the Soil King’s facilities have so far miraculously escaped the blaze unharmed, other producers weren’t as lucky. Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, estimates that at least 30 or 40 farms have been completely reduced to rubble, with countless other farms suffering partial burn or intense smoke damage.
“I think we can honestly be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars in losses in terms of crop damage and property loss,” Allen told Leafly. “It’s that significant...The broader regional impact will have thousands of farms seeing reduced values, with some having to destroy their crop. Any airborne contamination is going to stick to those buds. And there’s a lot of toxins in that smoke.”
To try and help the area’s growers get back on their feet as quick as possible, a number of crowdfunding campaigns have started to funnel funds directly back to cultivators hit the hardest. The CalGrowers Wildfire Recovery Fund, organized by Allen, has already brought in over $7,000 of aid and a separate GoFundMe titled Farmers Helping Farmers has brought in almost $1,000.
On a more specific level, individual cannabis farmers and local residents whose property and houses have been damaged or destroyed by the fires have set up crowdfunding platforms to help rebuild from the wreckage. A list of those campaigns has been compiled by the Sacramento Bee and can be found here.
As firefighters and local residents alike do their best to contain the flames and save their lifelong home, the outpour of support for the area’s cannabis cultivators has been incredible. And more importantly, the work the local cannabis industry is doing to help their neighbors, friends and strangers alike, has proven yet again that in Northern California, marijuana is not a criminal force, but an integral part of society on the front lines of community support, even in the face of tragedy.