California Wildfire Victims Denied Aid Because of Marijuana
The most devastating wildfire in California history is continuing to destroy the homes and livelihoods of people in Northern California. Some of the California wildfire victims worst affected include cannabis farmers who have had to resort to crowdfunding as a means by which to get relief.
As of Tuesday morning, 41 people have perished in the fires, which have destroyed 6,700 homes and businesses at an estimated cost of $3 billion. Multiple fires are still burning in Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties and 88 people are still missing in Sonoma County alone.
The California Growers Association is the main lobby representing cannabis growers in the region. It estimates that as many as 300 marijuana farms have been affected in some way by the fires. Some have had their crops and homes consumed by the fires whilst others have had their plants tainted with toxic smoke and ash. This was set to be California's first legal harvest and many growers had a lot of money invested in this year's crop. Whilst regular farmers can access crop insurance, cannabis farmers generally don't qualify.
An Attempt at Relief
The Grower's Association saw fit to take action to ensure the California wildfire victims could be provided with some form of relief in the wake of the fires. They decided to set up a campaign on the San Francisco-based crowdfunding website, YouCaring to ask for donations.
At the beginning of the week, the campaign had earned more than $10,000 dollars, all of which would go to the farmers.
However, it seems now that none of the money raised will ever reach the California wildfire victims it was intended for.
The reason? YouPay, the company that processes YouCaring's payments does not allow "payments connected to the production, sale, or consumption of cannabis, even in situations where such activities would be permitted under state law."
This quote was taken from an email sent to Hezekiah Allen, CGA's founder and executive director. He shared the email with Leafly News and noted that he had been unable to reach anyone at the company over the phone to talk directly about the matter.
Since the rejection, Allen has set up another crowdfunding campaign through the service NationBuilder. It's hoped that generous donators will be willing to go through the process of donating their funds again after they were returned to them by YouPay.
This story is not unfamiliar within the cannabis community. We already know that both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are unable to accept payments via credit card, making them susceptible to robberies. Hawaii recently announced it would be going 'cashless' through the use of a new app in order to counter the issue.
In a quote for Leafly, Allen summed up what a lot of people in the cannabis industry already know to be true. "We forgot that we can't use all the tools at society's disposal," he said, "because we're sort of second-class."
It's this sad truth that has led the cannabis industry to be one of the most technologically advanced in the world so perhaps being the underdog can have its benefits.
How's this for technology? You can get your cannabis delivered.
Underdog or not, greenRush makes sure you get the cannabis you need. It's easy to order online to get your weed delivered straight to you.