California Wildfires Burning Part of Medical Marijuana Industry - NBC Bay Area

California Wildfires Burning Part of Medical Marijuana Industry

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    CA Wildfires Burning Part of Medical Marijuana Industry

    NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull examines how the Rocky Fire is having an unusual affect on CA's medical marijuana industry. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015)

    It’s a different kind of smoke than they’re used to. Several Bay Area medical marijuana dispensaries say wildfires around California are hurting their industry. They claim cannabis plants are growing around some of state’s fires, especially the Rocky Fire near Clear Lake.

    By Wednesday night, the Rocky Fire burned 69,600 acres and destroyed 43 homes.

    Timothy Anderson is the purchasing manager at Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland. He says one of the burned homes belonged to a cannabis grower who provided them with product.

    “I can't remember [a fire] affecting our growers as much as this year,” he said.

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

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

    Anderson says the buds from those plants could be dangerous to smoke, and he wouldn’t buy any marijuana for the dispensary that smells like wildfire.

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

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