More on the shutdown of the fundraiser aiming to help California cannabis farmers

Thor Benson/ Cannabis News Box Contributor

As we’ve reported, the extensive wildfires in California have been devastating for many of the state’s cannabis farmers. In an attempt to aid these farmers, Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, set up an online fundraiser. Unfortunately, the fundraiser was shut down by payment provider WePay.

WePay does not allow fundraising for anything related to cannabis. This is further evidence of the cannabis industry’s difficulties with banking and transaction companies.

“There’s been a lot of attention paid to the challenges that cannabis businesses have with banking, but this had nothing to do with cannabis businesses or transactions,” Allen told Cannabis News Box. “It’s a bit more, even, than the typical banking challenges. I think it really reflects that there is still a bit of a prejudice and a double standard, even beyond some of the very real policy challenges, there’s still some cultural barriers to normalization.”

Allen was simply trying to help out farmers in need, but he was not allowed to do so because of prejudice against the industry that has not gone away.

“We want to know what the losses are so we can document it and catalog it and be able to communicate it accurately, and then secondly the goal is to help those folks rebuild or get their businesses back on track so they’re able to succeed in California’s regulated marketplace,” Allen said.

Allen estimates there is at least $3.4 million in damage for cannabis farmers in California so far, and while he’s seen individual farms set up their own fundraisers, he was hoping to set up something larger and more long-term. Because of WePay’s actions, that will now be more difficult.

Allen is not sure how much the fires will impact California’s social use market when sales begin next year, but he’s hoping the effects will be minimal. It’s clear this is bad timing no matter how you look at it.