WASHINGTON: It’s getting tough to be a pot farmer. The West Coast’s marijuana industry, already pinched by drought and facing sharp criticism over its water use, now faces another imminent threat: fire.
Overall, more than 146,000 acres have been lost to wildfire in California. In Washington state, where recreational marijuana has been sold since last July, fires have already consumed an area the size of Rhode Island. Not surprisingly, some marijuana growers are fearful they too could see their farms go up in flames.
Weed is a lucrative industry out West: In California, medical marijuana generatessome $100 million in sales tax revenue and keeps more than 100,000 people employed across the state. Washington’s industry—which permits sales of both medicinal and recreational pot—has already netted close to $260 million in total sales this year and could garner more than $190 million in tax and revenue.