By Eric Vengroff, Financial Analyst, Cannabis Daily

Earlier this week a fire broke out in Greenfield, California.  The fire took place at a cannabis greenhouse, located in the downtown area. Fortunately it was brought under control quickly.

There are various videos and pictures on social media from cell phones and local TV for the curious, or if you hadn’t heard about this news story beforehand.  Luckily there were no injuries as well.

The company, Loudpack Farms, is the single largest employer in Greenfield, a town of just over 17,000 in central California.  The financial impact of the damage and the ensuing time it will take to rebuild, will surely be felt by the town and 103 local residents who made up 37% of the total 278 people employed at Loudpack.  It speaks volumes about the positive impact cannabis cultivation, packaging and manufacturing of downstream products can have for a community, a county, a state or a country.

Loudpack’s facility, which does both cultivation and manufacturing, is located steps from City Hall, a stunning endorsement by city officials, who have estimated their cannabis-related tax revenue this year to be about $1.7 million.

The fire, which was believed to have started somewhere between 4:20 and 4:30 p.m. Monday, is sadly ironic, given the occurrence coincided with the celebrated time of cannabis lore, which also started in California.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, this much is known.  The fire spread quickly, and the greenhouses did not have sprinkler systems installed, which by the account of the fire chief, would have slowed the progression of the fire “and caused a lot less damage.”  There was little that fire crews could do to save a portion of the facility, pictured below, by the time they arrived.  A company email stated that the greenhouses will be rebuilt and that employees will be retained.

A number of licensed producers have stated that they follow GMP or Good Manufacturing Practice, which is intended on giving the consumer comfort and confidence that the drugs they buy are tested to be safe.

“Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any pharmaceutical production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product.” (https://ispe.org/initiatives/regulatory-resources/gmp)

But what about workplace health and safety standards?  Cultivation and manufacturing of just about anything has its workplace hazards to be sure.  Cannabis cultivation, particularly in certain processes and operations, can involve coming into contact with anything from blinding and extremely hot lighting, industrial-size fans and ventilation, hazardous chemicals, molds, fungi and other micro-organisms and fine particulates, etc.  Even certified organic processes have their own associated biohazards.  High-voltage electrical systems may require some fire suppression ability close by.   Lifting, bending, cuts, burns, blah, blah…

Let’s hope that cannabis companies use this historic growth opportunity for their businesses and their communities to show they are as committed to their workers’ health as their customers.