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Wildfires pile woes on California pot industry after tough year

Wildfires pile woes on California pot industry after tough year
From Reuters - December 7, 2017

(Reuters) - Wildfires blazing through Southern California are worrying marijuana growers, who fear that smoke could damage their crops, the basis of a newly legalized industry in the state.

For the cannabis industry, recovering like the rest of the state from devastating fires two months ago that killed 44 people and ravaged scores of pot farms north of San Franciscos Bay area, the new wave of wildfires comes at a challenging time.

This year has been some of the highest highs and lowest lows, where weve made so much progress toward a legal, regulated, normal future, Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, said by telephone. But at the same time, weve had these catastrophic fires.

Four major fires in the Los Angeles area have forced 200,000 people to flee and destroyed hundreds of homes. And the regions westward Santa Ana winds blowing hot and dry from the California desert could exacerbate the situation.

Things could be worse for the marijuana industry in the state, Allen said, except for the fact that particularly hard-hit Ventura County does not issue permits for pot farms.

The smoke billowing from the latest blazes could be damaging for growers in San Luis Obispo County, up the coast to the north of the city, as well as in Los Angeles itself, he said.

These are fires burning in a more urban-type development, and that smoke is going to contain potential contaminants that are not typically in wildfire smoke, Allen said.

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