Humboldt Economy Up in Smoke?

This post was written by Tyrel Click here to read his blog and Click here to read more by this author

Forgive the pun.  Recent news that California might be headed towards full legalization soon has reverberated across the Land of Schwarzenegger (wow, I spelled that correctly the first time).  You would be surprised how it’s affecting the local, and still illegal, growers that make up the most famous county in Cali for marijuana aficionados.


The question of the night: Will marijuana be legalized this year? “Flip a coin,” Hamilton said. Whether it’s legalized right away or there is a wait, one thing is certain, the fiercely independent growers of the past must now come together in solidarity if Humboldt County is to survive.

All the underground growers, that make up a large percentage of Humboldt county, sat down with municipal officials to determine the best way to assimilate once marijuana is made legal (whether that happens now or later doesn’t really matter).  There are many problems they’ll face (after almost 40 years of uninterrupted growing, save the occasional helicopter and DEA arrest).

The Back-to-the-Landers (BTTL) who went to Humboldt county in the 1960’s will have to join the rest of society, and that’s where the friction will form.  The BTTL just want to sell some grass and live life without mainstream society encroaching on them.  Something a lot of HMJ readers can understand.

Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace sits on a task force committee that will ultimately be involved in defining the regulatory issues surrounding grows once legal.

At one point during the meeting Lovelace stated ‘back-to-the-landers’ of the 1960s came to Humboldt County to ‘hide out’ and grow pot, and it was time to come into the limelight and pull together to grow the ‘best’ pot they can.

No longer is the issue whether to grow pot in Humboldt County, or not, but to grow the best for resale.

One back-to-the-lander was more than eager to take to the microphone, countering Lovelace’s ‘somewhat naive’ view. In so many words, she said, ‘We came here to find a connection to the Earth. Marijuana was a gift that allowed us to live this life here in this beautiful place.’

After more than 40 years for some Southern Humboldt growers, marijuana has become more than a way of life, it’s become an industry with a billion dollar bottom-line, creating economic dependency and environmental havoc.

So, where do growers go from here? Now they must become what they ran from during the ‘Summer of Love,’ they must now become ‘The Man,’ collecting 1099 forms from trimmers, filing itemized tax forms and becoming the cog in the wheel of a business California hopes will become savior to an economic crisis in full swing.

As a child of some pseudo-hippy boomers, I would side with the back-to-the-landers, but isn’t it better to pay taxes and be a legitimate business than it is to try and elude police?  Isn’t it better for their families?  Who wants to run the risk of being taken from their families; especially if as the primary grower in your family you’re responsible for providing food and shelter, something you can’t do from prison.

Independent Humboldt growers, I’ll bet you can be a legitimate business, but still not sell out.  Tell me I’m wrong commentators.

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Author: Tyrel

Annoyed about writing my biographical information. but here you are.

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