Wildfires rage across Oregon, incinerating vast swathes of the forests that made the state one of the most beautiful places on earth. Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed, and ten percent of the population is now under evacuation order. Cannabis and hemp farmers are expected to be among the hardest hit by the compound disaster.
As The Oregonian reported, The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which regulates Oregon cannabis, confirmed Wednesday that one in five licensed marijuana businesses (or 408 businesses) were in evacuation protocols from the wildfires. The number is likely higher now. Evacuated areas include parts of Josephine and Jackson counties, home to 62 percent of the state’s outdoor cannabis farms and a stronghold of the legacy growers who built Oregon’s reputation for premium bud.
For Oregon growers and retailers, the stress of escaping from the inferno is compounded by legal issues. Many Oregon cannabis businesses are uninsured or under-insured due to the high cost of insurance for license holders and the tricky exclusions written into cannabis insurance policies. And evacuation is complicated by protocol issued by the OLCC, which prohibits the transfer of cannabis products to unlicensed spaces. Those fortunate enough to have a licensed refuge must track their movements via the official cannabis tracking system (CTS), use a valid transfer manifest, and keep OLCC notified. No small feat when you’re fleeing for your life.