LA Times Asks "Is Humboldt's Competitive Advantage in Growing Pot, or in Growing Pot Illegally?
“Is Humboldt’s competitive advantage in growing pot, or in growing pot illegally?” That is the $64 million dollar question asked today by LA Times reporter Sam Quinones. The article at the time of this writing was barely two hours old yet it was already the number two viewed story today.
The thoughtful piece asks whether Humboldt County will be able to survive the probable legalization of pot. It asks, do we have something more than just marijuana’s illegality and this area’s difficult terrain and relatively tolerant attitudes putting us at the top of the cannabis market?
Quinones points out that the possibilities if marijuana goes legal are unpredictable. He gives voice to the standard wisdom that prices will drop but then quotes Humboldt’s economic professor Erick Eschker as saying, “If it’s regulated like cigarettes, you’re going to have a massive increase in demand for it… .”
He then goes on to discuss the possibility of a cannabis tourist market and the branding of the Humboldt name–getting an appellation. (He quotes Anna Hamilton as saying, “It’s appellation or Appalachia.”) But then discusses the real problem. “But achieving a Napa Valley of marijuana might require the kind of collective action that Humboldt weed growers have found anathema. Remarkably, Hamilton’s “What’s After Pot?” meeting was the first time the topic was discussed so openly and thus stunned many locals.”
As Quinones illustrates, Humboldt isn’t the only area grappling with this. Mendocino will soon be having the same discussion as Humboldt. On April 24th, a similar meeting as the one held in Humboldt will be held in Ukiah with the featured topic “The Future of Cannabis in Northern California” and the featured speaker, Bert Mosier, the chief executive officer of the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce. Will Mendocino growers and business owners build on the foundation begun here in Humboldt? Will they find ways of protecting their economy? I hope they do but I also hope the Humboldt business community, the Humboldt County government officials and the Humboldt Growers will continue to work together and look for ways to save our county.