Photo by Bob Doran – Follow him on Facebook or Instagram
With April gone – 4/20 in the past – and nothing but hazy memories left, Humboldt Underground staff began to contemplate the “holiday.” We’ve all heard of its 1970’s origin: five Waldos from San Rafael High, athletes who met after practice everyday at 4:20pm to look for a secret abandoned garden near Point Reyes, blazing joints all the while. We know this now popularized origin and we have grown up with its inference. We all jokingly show each other our clocks (phones) when its 4:20pm, laugh, and move on with our day.
Here in Humboldt County, most feel like its always 4/20 (or 4:20pm), no big deal. Yet, nationally 4/20 is a serious holiday. Like turkey on Thanksgiving, weed is big business on 4/20. Some estimate that cannabis sales increase 20% to 25% from April 17th to the 20th. That’s tens of millions of dollars, which is no laughing matter when it comes to business. Throw in tax revenue and 4/20, as a holiday, is big business for areas that can capitalize.
You hear it from your buddy who just bought another parcel, it’s whispered in the grow shop, in the convoy of soil and water trucks humming on the back roads, “we have got to go big this year.” It seems someone is saying this every year in recent memory. There is always some boogieman right around the corner to bring the economy and the outlaw way of life to an abrupt and final end. New regulations, a new ballot initiative, big corporations, Mexican cartels moving in, prices dropping, other states legalizing, whatever it is, it seems there is always a compelling reason that if we don’t blow it up huge this year we are not going to get another chance.
Don’t get me wrong, there are real concerns. Statewide legalization is looking better every day. New medical marijuana policies further regulate and threaten an old way of life. Not to mention the head start that states like Colorado and cities like San Francisco seem to have on Humboldt. Prices drop and drop so farmers start shooting for quantity over quality to improve the margins.
Anna in an industrial hemp field in Canada
Abbreviated version originally published in the April Edition of the Emerald Magazine:
With all the attention on cannabis these days, some may overlook the low THC seed and fiber crop varieties commonly known as hemp. In fact, there is a lot of confusion around what hemp is, how it can be used, and what role, if any, hemp can play in our local Humboldt scene. To gain some insight and understanding I interviewed Anna Owen, sole proprietor of Redwood Hemp – a local organization which organized the “cannabis stalk” drives at events such as the 2015 Hempfest. She’s also a grassroots organizer for the national Hemp History Week and volunteers with Hempstead Project HEART (begun by John Trudell) – a group currently working with Hemp Production Services, a Canada-based hemp food distribution company.
Photo provided by Blausen.com via wikipedia.com
It’s the New Year. 2016! The year California is supposed to legalize cannabis! It’s also the year new medical marijuana law – MMRSA – goes into effect. Here at HU, several of us need to renew our Prop 215 recommendation, which got us thinking… We’ve spent so much time researching the way MMRSA affects cultivation that we paved over what these new laws mean to safe access. Basically, is it more difficult to obtain our recommendation this year?
2015 turned out to be quite a year for the cannabis plant. We all secretly knew the whole world loves weed but last year made it a reality. From scientific break through to progressive public discourse to a willingness to engage the plant as an economic commodity, Mary Jane walked the red carpet and has shown she is ready for a California party. But before the doors open, lets take a look back and see what led us to this point.
After a slow start in 2015, things heated up in the Golden State. The frenzied climate began to infiltrate Humboldt County, Emerald Triangle, and greater Northern California. Whether involved in the cannabis industry or not, all are beginning to reflect on the times. And times are changing. Dominoes are falling and the legalization snow ball is building size and speed. Here at the Humboldt Underground we feel a sense of excitement for 2016. Our concentration has built over the last year and culminated in a calm, yet intense, focus. We constantly scan the headlines for events that might shape the future of our industry and culture. With this focus and intent, we sifted through 2015’s headlines looking for information that might concern us (and you). And like a trail of breadcrumbs leading from where we came, we found our narrative timeline… So read on, don’t forget how this fairytale started…