Northwest marijuana companies seek disaster relief

Derek Wright had hoped his 120-acre marijuana farm in Southern Oregon would yield a $2.8 million crop this year. But he said the South Obenchain fire incinerated everything: his home on the property, the farm manager’s cabin, the processing facility for drying the plants and close to two-thirds of his crop. The plants that survived were too damaged to sell, so Wright and his team composted them.

“Now it looks like the desert,” Wright said of the farm.

Wright, like most marijuana growers nationwide, doesn’t have crop insurance. Because federal law defines marijuana as an illegal, dangerous drug, neither federal agencies nor conventional banks and major insurance companies will work with marijuana businesses even if they are legal under state law.

Producers and industry supporters now are pushing for changes to federal relief law and seeking state disaster aid.

While it’s possible to buy marijuana crop insurance from local providers, Wright said he couldn’t find a…

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