California’s $21 billion cannabis economy is reeling from likely more than a billion dollars in crop losses related to the deadly wildfires sweeping through the cultivation heartlands of Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties this week.
Compounding the losses is the cannabis industry’s legal status: Though sanctioned by California and other states, its product remains an illegal drug under federal law. Unlike wineries, cannabis farmers generally cannot obtain crop insurance. Those that do get insured pay high rates for skimpy coverage. Cannabis businesses are also not eligible for federal disaster relief.