“The love in the air is thicker than smoke,” read signs posted around Sonoma on Wednesday.
As wildfires continue to burn through the Northern California cannabis meccas of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, efforts have already begun to help the thousands of people — including many in the cannabis industry — who have lost their homes and their livelihoods.
The California Growers Association took the lead early-on, supporting farmers affected by the fires burning throughout the entire state. While much of the press has been directed just north of San Francisco and in wine country, folks in places like Yuba and Mendocino County have also been hit by the flames.
Executive Director Hezekiah Allen told GreenState on Tuesday the fires have caused “the worst year on record for California’s growers.” Allen says that more than two dozen CGA members had lost their entire crops in the previous day.
Under the current federal prohibition laws, California farmers cannot get federal crop insurance or assistance through federal emergency relief funds.
“What we know so far is that at least 20 farms have been destroyed ‘pre-harvest’, and 15 home state with homegrows,” said Tawnie Logan of the Sonoma County Growers Association on Wednesday, from ground zero of the firestorm in the North Bay. She said that the farmers will have no way to recover millions in anticipated revenue they just lost.
Both the CGA and SCGA are directing those who wish to donate to impacted cannabis community members to the CGA’s Wildfire Relief Fund established earlier this week. Logan says they’re working hard to make sure the money received makes its way the most impacted and is distributed effectively to these families. Both organizations are also urging all who have lost their homes, farms and cannabis businesses to email their loss report and needs to email@example.com. Anyone wishing to donate via email may also use that address.
Numerous other funds and charities are taking collections to help the victims of the fire. If you want to donate to those impacted by the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire — the umbrella term for the Potter Valley and Redwood Valley fires currently destroying massive acreage in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, Mendocino locals have been circulating this YouCaring fund.
Also in Mendocino, Dr. Amanda Reiman of the International Cannabis Farmers Association recommended donating to The Community Foundation of Mendocino County Disaster Fund. Reiman watched the sky fill with smoke from Flow Kana’s Flow Cannabis Institute near Redwood Valley across the river. On Wednesday, Reiman said the institute appeared to be safe, for now — but as hot winds continue to rip through the hills, she says they’re “definitely still not out of the woods!”
Fundraisers for cannabis folks have also appeared on GoFundMe. After famed breeder Subcool lost his entire crop and genetic bank in the ongoing blaze, concerned citizens began raising funds for him immediately after word got out. The Cannafam Fire Victims Fund has already reached over $13,000 of its $15,000 goal, as of press time.
Santa Rosa’s CannaCraft is also doing what it can to help its neighbors. CannaCraft has partnered with the Mercy Wellness in Cotati, SPARC/Peace in Medicine in Santa Rosa, Solful in Sebastopol, and Emerald Pharms in Hopland to distribute free medicine to those in need. Patients will receive a complimentary AbsoluteXtracts vape pen or Be Kind premium flower while supplies last.
“We are also in the process of converting office space at our Santa Rosa headquarters into a shelter area for evacuees and first responders. We anticipate being able to house up to 80 people by the weekend,” said CannaCraft’s Vice President Marketing, Kial Long.
Here is a list of funds supporting both the cannabis and wider communities being impacted. The ones mentioned below have been generally recommended by authorities.
TELL US, what will you do to help the victims of the Northern California fires?