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Colorado cold snap could disrupt state’s marijuana industry

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DENVER (AP) – Early cold temperatures and snow in Colorado may have destroyed millions of dollars worth of outdoor plants, cannabis and hemp companies said.

The drop of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) occurred too early in the growing season for farmers to harvest the plants, Marijuana Business Daily reports.

Jon Vaught, CEO of a cannabis biotech firm Front Range Biosciences, said the temperatures below freezing Tuesday and Wednesday combined with snow were “catastrophic for growers.”

Nick Drury, director of cultivation at Denver marijuana company Lightshade, said the decreased supply from the outdoor crops is likely to result in less lower-grade competition for indoor growers, while the price for extract materials could increase.

At the PotCo outdoor marijuana farm outside Pueblo, co-owner James Lowe said he was ready for low temperatures but unprepared for up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) of wet snow.

The farm has about 7,000 plants trellised together and the heavy moisture collapsed much of the canopy over them. The losses could reach between $4 million and $5 million, he said.

“We were on pace for the largest harvest we’ve ever had,” Lowe said. “The weight of it was what ended up being the problem.”