Towards the end of July, news broke out that a fire that caused twelve cannabis greenhousesto quickly burn to a crisp. Loudpack Farms, the victim of the accidental fire, isa California cannabisfacility located in Monterey county.This is the largest loss the legal industry has witnessed, and businesses are actively wondering what precautionary measures could have prevented this.
The total amount of loss claimed by Loudpack Farms. Businesses cringe upon hearing thata single cigarette would be thecause of all the damages. The Greenfield Fire Chief told news sources the fire was accidental with no signs of arson. In the surveillance video, an employee was displayed smoking between two buildings, inadequately putting outthe cigarette, and walking away.
A source from Loudpacksays the employee was smoking by some Bokashi, excess trim waste they mix with chemicals—a volatile mixture. Additionally, the greenhouses were built largely with flammable plastics. So, when the cigarette ignited the Bokashi, the greenhouses burned too quick and hot to put out.
In California, installing a sprinkler system in cannabis greenhouses is not a requirement. Out of all the compliance laws, why is this one excluded? After this fire, it is clear a sprinkler system would have saved many, if not all, greenhouses.
Loss of Jobs
In an email statement made to the public, a spokesperson for the company said the fire would “absolutely not” affect employment at the facility.
“We invest in our people. We will rebuild our facility, and no one should feel that their job is at risk due to these unfortunate circumstances,” the email reads.
However, multiple sources from Loudpack have come forward claiming their job was taken from them unexpectedly following the fire. One individual implicated the lack of on-site smoking locations. According to sources familiar with procedures at the facility, all employees must be “thoroughly checked before and after entering the premises” to “ensure no more cannabis would be stolen.” The security lines, however, would take up “half their breaks.”
The Hiring Process
When Loudpack Farms’ Greenfield facility first opened in February, they needed many employees to quickly fill cultivation and plant care positions. One source working at the facility at the time said, they were “literally hiring anyone they could find, and then firing the ones who stole.”
Businesses are made up of their employees. Taking the time to adequately interview responsible employees is the key to any business’s long-term success. Even though the employee who caused the fire may not have done it intentionally, having a more thorough hiring process could have reasonably decreased the likelihood of such an occurrence happening.