Pubdate: Sun, 04 Apr 2010
Source: Arcata Eye (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Arcata Eye
Author: Sharon Letts
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


HUMBOLDT - Just as concerns are rising over where our food comes from
and how it's grown, similar issues apply with the production of
Cannabis Sativa, or marijuana. Under current black market conditions,
the where and what of an ounce of pot is left to chance. With the
serious prospect of legalization, regulation is just one aspect of
change facing North Coast growers.

Ruin via bankrupcy of the county is another concern brought up by WAP
(What's After Pot) founder Anna Hamilton of Southern Humboldt, the
driving force behind organizing what has long been known as an elusive
grow community.

Last week's town hall meeting, Tuesday, March 23 at the Mateel
Community Center brought growers out of the woods and sat them down
with indoor city growers, curious community members, county officials,
non-profits and business owners concerned about the economic crisis
that will surely besige the entire Emerald Triangle from Mendocino to

A survey was handed out along with stacks of information from what
Oakland is doing via its Measure Z, to text from the initiative
measure that will ultimately fall into the hands of California voters.

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 soladarity if Humboldt
County is to survive.

As individual groups came together at tables, filling out the
questionnaire together, the hot points of the evening were
surprisingly the same challenges facing our farmers today,
distribution, processing plants, cost per pound, supply and demand and
branding the Humboldt name.

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.

Branding, marketing, packaging, distribution and synergy are the new
buzzwords. Forget about eco-tourism, goes this train of thought, it's
time to get on the bud bus as it tools through town shuttling tourists
through fields of waving stalks.

At one table ideas were plenty. "We've already begun to make tinctures
for the dispensaries," one grower intent on the future said. "Survival
of the fittest," another grower said.

Hamilton said she'd like to see the estimated 30,000 Humboldters
involved in the marjiuana industry plan now for a future without
lumber or fish. Likening pot to the wine industry, where boutique
wineries offer up varietals, specialized growers could brand "Humboldt
Gold," "Eel River Red Bud" or "Humboldt Fair Trade."

Hamilton said she's giving her time for the cause until December and
hopes others will sign up to help in the transition from private to
profits, with the county the ultimate winner. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake