Colorado's outdoor marijuana crops took a heavy hit last week. 

The early winter storm that took over the state last week cooled the state down considerably and dumped a decent amount of much-needed moisture. The massive temperature drops and extreme weather change left some marijuana and hemp growers in Colorado in a tough spot, and this will likely impact the supply of marijuana products available in the state.

A 70-degree temperature change and the heavy snow posed a big risk to farms that grow their crops outside. Many growers were readying to harvest mature plants, and while they knew and took precautions for low temperatures, the temperature change came far earlier than normal, and most growers were unable to do an early harvest. Inches of heavy wet snow on crops broke stems, branches, soaked buds, and destroyed plants. 

Some plants may be able to recover, though the flower quality will likely be compromised—wet flowers face a chance of bud rot if the plants do not dry out. If there is not enough flower to harvest, the plants will only be able to make extracts and will significantly decrease the amount growers can earn. Marijuana Business Daily expects millions in losses, with some growers reporting that their plants were frozen solid. The potential loss of crops will mean less competition for indoor growers.

This storm was a historic one in what was looking like a banner year; it was the biggest drop in temperature over two days ever recorded in Denver for September and tied the earliest freeze on record for Colorado—the last freeze this early was in 1962.

Normally, an influx of outdoor-grown marijuana will flood the market in late fall, but that supply will be less this year and may cause a similar situation to 2019 when millions of dollars in crops were damaged in a mid-October snowstorm.

As temperatures rise this week, crops may dry out and begin to recover and growers can fully assess the damage and impact this early freeze had on their harvest. It will be several months before the full effects of last week’s storm are clear, and these growers have a lot of work ahead of them.

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