Can You Get High From Burning Weed Farms? The California Wildfires Are Producing A Lot Of Pot Smoke
California's drought has enabled wildfires to rage across the state. Unfortunately, that means some of its marijuana farms have gone up in flames — about 70,000 acres so far, according to The Guardian. Although this won't affect the statewide supply, it could drive up prices and put the farmers whose crops burned out of business. And in a hilarious turn, it's also giving off a scent that will remind you of college. But — and this is a PSA — you can't get high from the burning marijuana farms. Experts say the fumes are actually more likely to make you feel sick.
Hezekiah Allen of the Emerald Growers Association, an collective of cannabis farmers in California, told The Guardian that when marijuana farms catch fire, they give off smoke that's similar to the kind you would inhale if you were trying to get high off of the plant. The smoke even smells like the kind that many people think shouldn't be wasted. But this smoke is "tainted" by other nearby plants that are burning along with it, like poison oak. A representative from Cal Fire even cautioned local residents to stay away from high-smoke areas to avoid getting sick from whatever else is burning along with the weed. Allen said bluntly that nearby residents won't get high.
Although supplies across the state shouldn't be affected by the fires, Allen explained that dispensaries, where patients often go to purchase medicinal marijuana, might be affected if their nearby suppliers have been shut down. Right now, California law allows counties to opt out of allowing weed to be transported across their borders. That means, for example, that if a farm is the only farm in one county and it burns down, it might not be able to supply any in-county dispensaries, effectively cutting those outlets off from a steady supply if the county won't allow transport across its borders. Allen described the fires as a "tragedy on the local level":
The market regulation has been unhealthy for years and this could be one of the problems some dispensaries may face ... This year has been devastating to a number of farmers, who have lost their greenhouses and farms.
Harborside Health Center purchasing manager Timothy Anderson said that the fires are affecting an "already constricted market," making availability and affordability an issue for patients. The Harborside Health Center serves about 200,000 patients, and operates kind of like a food cooperative — member patients can grow and sell to each other through one dispensary. Anderson told The Guardian that the fires are also affecting small farms surrounding the fires:
I had to help another farmer get new plants. They’re having trouble getting young plants to thrive because of the smoke. There’s a range of issues.
In 2014, California issued 80,986 medical marijuana identification cards in 46 counties.