The sunlight is muted, blocked out. Cannabis farmers are now desperately scrambling to save their flower, operations clearly at risk.

Ben Goldman

It is a tough scene up in the Northwest for cannabis businesses.

Our CREC associate Ben Goldman, Regional Director Broker Services In Northern California, explains his perspective on what this means for the future and how you can get support to ensure you are ready to handle tough situations like what’s been experienced here.


The Fire at the Door of Cannabis Farmers in the Northwest

The sickly muted orange smoke filled sky, is dumping ash and debris on their farms. Air quality is “extremely unhealthy”, off the charts and ranking as some of the worst on the planet.

The cannabis ecosystem is rattled, turned and twisted – again!

The August Complex Fire in California, alone has burned at least 1,002,000 acres, and it’s only 54% contained as I write this on October 5th. That’s roughly the size of Rhode Island.

The Glass Fire, The Butte Fires and others still rage on.

Across the State, 4 million acres have burned up. The majority of that incomprehensible amount of charred land, is located in the northern half of the State.

Suffice it to say, fires and smoke have wreaked havoc across northern California cannabis farms. Several operations claim heavy or catastrophic crop losses. Others have been forced to move overnight or harvest early. Never mind issues with labor shortages as workers need to worry about the safety of their own families and homes. The real threat of evacuation weighs heavily on the collective psyche. Everyone is affected.

Dealing with a constant rain of ash, or new suddenly changed grow environments, caused by burned down wind breaks, undefined pollutants, and extreme heat have shaken many operations to the core. Many farmers are on uninsured lands as a result of federal restrictions.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is the sole source of relief for legal operators. Unfortunately the CDFA also requires notifications within 24 hours for any plants to be physically moved. Staying compliant, safe and sustaining a business is a severe challenge during the crises.

August and September witnessed a massive setback to cannabis farmers in northern California and the fires are still not fully contained. The threat remains.


How Can We Make A Difference for NorCal Cannabis?

It may seem counter-intuitive, while in crisis, but now is the time to focus our collective efforts to insure we each make a difference to insure that forward progress continues for our industry on local, state and national levels.

We can…

  • keep informed and support legislation that uplifts our industry.
  • continue the fight for respect as an agricultural product.
  • advocate for fair taxation, for sensible and reasonable rules and regulations.
  • buy product from colleagues who are barely hanging on.
  • hire from the great talent pool wounded, but anxious to work and start again.


Most importantly, we can advocate and take preventive measures from the hard lessons learned by those whose farms were damaged or destroyed.


Example of fire in Santa Rosa from 2017

But, There is Good News!

In the meantime, cannabis operations are notoriously resilient and adaptable. Eventually the wind that blew up the fires, will blow the air clean again. The retail dispensary side is sitll hopping and active. Delivery services are buzzing to get their products to customers. Demand is high, higher than ever!

Farmers will farm and plan for the next grow season. And, in the meantime, the real estate brokerage side of the business speeds ahead.

Secure operations expand and consolidate, developers lease and sell land. Investors queue up for targeted investments and future cannabis hub sites. While the always slow and plodding State and local governments, seem to be realizing that revenue from legal cannabis operations, may just be more attractive and needed than ever before. Even essential.



Our Network Is Happy To Support!

The CREC Network can help you navigate through these challenging times we find ourselves in with the experience, expertise and professional counsel to handle all issues in the market.

From compliance support to up to date legal advice; to selling your assets or finding your next venture; CREC is your resource; Brokerage, Compliance, Legal and Network support!

I’m as busy as ever at CREC and grateful to be part of the rebuild effort, the revitalization already underway. And the fires aren’t even 50% contained yet.


I remain very optimistic and hopeful that everyone hurt in the fires can recover and regain their livelihoods.



More Info About The Fires in California

For Fire Updates:
Bay Area KRON news site:
For up to date industry news: Marijuana BizDaily:
Local Community Programs – For Example – Sonoma County Growers Alliance: