As we all well know legalization is becoming a stronger possibility as each day passes but is this a good thing for the people of Humboldt County? Could this mean that the hippies and radicals from the 60s and 70s, that moved there to get away from living a conventional life of working a daily 9-5 job, become the leading force in marijuana cultivation once it becomes legal for anyone 21+? Or will big tobacco companies put these Ma and Pop operations out of business?
It is a well known fact that Humboldt as well as Mendocino and Trinity counties are more or less thriving because of the number of growers in their communities. With the boom of medicinal marijuana dispensaries over the last 5 years, wholesale prices of marijuana have dropped significantly because of the boost in the number of growers that came with the dispensaries. Now that marijuana might become legal in California, the people of Humboldt are worried that big tobacco companies like Marlboro might make the transition into growing their own marijuana. This would no doubt put these Ma and Pop operations under because they don’t have the kind of money that big tobacco does. Personally I don’t see Marlboro or any other big tobacco company making a switch to marijuana until marijuana become legal on a Federal level.
“It’s morally right that marijuana be legal,” said Kym Kemp, a journalist who blogs about life in southern Humboldt County. “But I know why they want to say, ‘No, don’t let this happen to us,’ because we’re going to die. It already happened with the logging industry.”
Humboldt State economists guess that marijuana accounts for between $500 million and $700 million of the county’s $3.6 billion economy. What will happen if marijuana is legalized and big corporations do make the switch to marijuana, what does this mean for the people who have been in the growing business for decades. What does this mean for these counties whose major source of income is marijuana cultivation? People in Humboldt have started rockin’ “Keep Pot Illegal” bumper stickers and just recently had a community meeting in Garberville about what will happen after pot is legalized.
There is still a good chance that legalization could make Humboldt and other counties like Humboldt flourish. With legalization they could possibly expand their production because they wouldn’t have to worry about being raided by local police. It is still a very unclear subject as to how legal marijuana will work. There are still a lot of regulations and guidelines that need to be worked out. It is really hard to say whether legalization will have a positive or negative affect on Humboldt but in the long run I think legalization is the right thing and the people of Humboldt will just have to figure out a way to make it work for them. They moved there to start their own self sustained way of life decades ago, I think they still have it in them to make it happen again if marijuana is legalized in November.
Sidenote: Check out the movie Humboldt County. I’ve never been to Humboldt but if I had to guess what life is like there I would guess it is pretty similar to how it is portrayed in this movie. It’s about a guy who’s dad wants him to follow his foot steps and become a doctor but he isn’t interested in what his dad wants. He ends up going to Humboldt County with a girl he meets and she introduces him to a family of growers and more or less ditches him and leaves him. He is hesitant at first about the situation but then he starts to live their way of life. Definitely a great movie, one of my current favorites, I believe if you have a Netflix account you can stream the movie, if not I know they have it for delivery.
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