The North Bay fires have not just affected the wine industry, but cannabis farmers all over Northern California. On Monday, Harborside Farms accepted the final load of cannabis plants harvested from an artisanal cannabis garden threatened by fires and smoke in West Marin. Harborside Farms in Salinas, California, is the cultivation outpost for the nationally known Harborside dispensaries in Oakland and San Jose. As a result of this coordinated effort, Acme Elixirs was ultimately able to save all 99 plants from its outdoor cannabis farm west of San Rafael.
“It’s a really amazing story of the community coming together at the worst possible time for everybody during harvest season,” said Pete Pietrangeli, CEO of Acme Elixirs. “Still, the team and support that we’ve gotten from Harborside to make it happen, it’s been a very humbling experience.”
A week ago, residents of West Marin received Red Flag Warnings issued by the U.S. National Service from multiple fires raging in the North Bay. When Acme Elixirs cultivator, Chris Leenhouts, checked in on his San Rafael cannabis plants, ash from the fires was raining into the garden, with smoke looming nearby. Leenhouts immediately contacted Pietrangeli, who enlisted cannabis trimmers to help cut and load the harvest into trucks while they searched for safe refuge for their valuable crop. But with limited resources and time running out, where would they go?
Due to federal prohibition, cannabis growers don’t have access to things like crop insurance, banking, and a streamlined way to collect and pay taxes — the safety net that all other farmers are afforded is not yet available to cannabis cultivators. Fortunately, Pietrangeli also contacted Andrew DeAngelo, director of operations for Harborside, and with the swift aid of his team at Harborside Farms, Acme Elixirs’ small craft garden was able to save its harvest and protect its precious investment.
“It’s very traumatic,” said Pietrangeli. “We were obviously more blessed and fortunate than a lot of people we know. Again, we were also in the line of fire, and the smoke was starting to settle in. If Harborside hadn’t stepped in and helped us — to have this happen was just a real testament to the community.”
For 11 years, Harborside has been committed to ensuring a safe supply of medicine to the citizens of California, and their hearts ache for everyone who has suffered as a result of these fires. Harborside is lending their help at no additional cost in this time of need and will continue to participate in active benefits for the cannabis community.
A portion of all revenue from this collaboration will go to fire relief efforts in Northern California. Harborside will also be hosting a fundraiser for fire relief efforts at 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at EVB, 1740 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
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