Wildfires Could Drive Up California MMJ Prices

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California wildfires that have destroyed 43 homes are cutting into the amount of cannabis available to Bay Area dispensaries, potentially increasing prices for marijuana that’s grown outdoors.

Harborside Health Center’s purchasing manager, Timothy Anderson, said about a fourth of the dispensary’s cannabis comes from cultivation facilities near Clear Lake, where a fire has burned almost 70,000 acres, according to NBC News. He said he doesn’t remember a time when fires affected growers this much, the news station reported.

The company won’t buy any marijuana that smells like wildfire as it could pose health hazards, Anderson said. The sticky resin grabs “any environmental grit or grime from the air,” he told NBC.

California is suffering from one of its worst droughts in history, leading Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. to mandate a 25% cut in water use in June.

The drought may serve as a rallying cry for those against recreational legalization – expected to be on the 2016 ballot in the state – who say water should be used for food instead of marijuana.

Pro-cannabis advocates counter by saying legalization will lead to increased regulations on marijuana cultivation, which will force growers to preserve natural resources.

Cannabis growers have been seeking ways to cut down on water use, not only for environmental reasons but also to reduce costs.