Wildfires Still Burning Through the West Coast Cannabis Industry

wildfire cannabis industry west coast

While Canyon Cannabis may have seemed like a small-town cannabis shop, it was more than that.

Located in an unassuming building just off a scenic highway, there was a dispensary in the 500-person city of Gates, Oregon. The shop gave good vibes to everyone who walked through its doors, and their vintage Pioneer sound system offered classic tunes selected by the owner, Thorin Thacker. His collection of 3,000 vinyl records on-site never went out of style. At times, Thacker would play music himself, offering the twang of his 1882 Fairbanks & Cole banjo or the clanging of the keys on his century-old piano.

But this experience is one that will never be had again. While gone, it certainly isn’t forgotten. And after the Beachie Creek Fire raged through the canyon and leveled Canyon Cannabis, the memories are all these people will have.

As the fire burned through the building, it burned hot enough to melt the safe and disintegrate the cash inside. Locally-made glass bongs and pipes were left melted, the banjo and piano transformed into metal scraps.

Canyon Cannabis is not the only company that was involved in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry on the West Coast. But with the recent wildfires hitting many cannabis businesses, it’s challenging for these operations to stay afloat.

Some business operators, like Thacker, have lost everything to the wildfires. There’s simply not much that can be done to help at this point. Another issue is how insurance companies, just as banks, have been hesitating to offer service to these operations since cannabis is still federally prohibited.

Thacker estimates that he has lost beyond $250,000. This is highly problematic as his inventory had not been insured. He’d paid nearly $500,000 in local, state, and federal taxes over the last three-and-a-half years. But now, he’s back to the beginning.

Other similar stories are sure to come to light as the wildfires continue on. 

Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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