As The Hemp Connection Closes, Its Cannabis Trail Cultural Landmark Plaque Is Rehomed

Hemp Connection owners, Marie and Teresa Mills with Executive Director of the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce, Leann Greene with The Cannabis Trail Founder, Brian Applegarth on both sides of the wooden shelf housing the cannabis trail plaque

L-R: Teresa Mills, Brian Applegarth, Marie Mills and Leann Greene, Executive Director of The Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center [Photo by Lisa Music]

When Marie Mills and her daughter Teresa decided to close the doors to the Hemp Connection due to a rent increase, a lingering question remained: Where should they place the Cannabis Trail Cultural Landmark plaque awarded the historic business in 2021?

On Friday, April 29th, the plaque found its new home less than a block away from the Hemp Connection at the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in Garberville.

The Cannabis Trail winds from Santa Cruz up through Humboldt and ends at Weaverville in Trinity County. The trail currently has ten cultural landmarks and one monument along the trail, with at least ten additional landmarks and 3-5 monuments to be placed in the next year to complete the trail.

Marie and Teresa Mills were the first ever recipients of a Cultural Landmark plaque, recognizing the Mills’ pioneering work with the first hemp retail store in the United States since prohibition. Founded in 1980, Marie Mills opened the Hemp Connection in Redway. The first years of business were spent learning the art of making hemp paper from Marie’s homegrown cannabis stalks and honing her hemp clothing line.

a large brown and green sign with yellow writing saying Hemp Connection, with a large green cannabis leaf

The Hemp Connection sign in Garberville [Photo by Lisa Music]

In 1998, Teresa joined her mom in the opening of the Hemp Connection, two miles away in Garberville. The store found its home in the building formerly known as ‘Connie’s Corner’. Even though medical marijuana was legalized two years prior, the Mills’ and their large iconic cannabis leaf sign raised a ruckus in Garberville. The Southern Humboldt cannabis community rallied for Marie’s second First Amendment rights to prominently display the Hemp Connection sign. To this day, the sign is one of the most photographed symbols in Garberville.

The Cannabis Trail Founder, Brian Applegarth, honored Marie’s pioneering spirit and historic hemp retail business with the first Cannabis Trail Cultural Landmark plaque awarded back in 2021. When Marie knew she was closing the doors to the Hemp Connection she contacted Applegarth to get his advice on where to place the plaque.

Ultimately, the pair agreed that the visitor center was the appropriate next home for the plaque where it could reside and still honor Marie and the Hemp Connection’s place in cannabis history.

green, silver and black circular plaque for the Cannabis Trail Cultural LandmarkAt the unveiling ceremony on Friday, Applegarth once again honored the Hemp Connection historic importance and the Mills’ stating, “Marie’s life represents a story of self-reliance, bravery, vision and earth stewardship. May this Cultural Landmark serve to educate others about hemp sustainability, self-reliance and the bravery needed to bring about positive change.”

There is currently one other Cultural Landmark plaque in Southern Humboldt, located at Huckleberry Hill Farms, a legal commercial cannabis farm owned by local Johnny Casali who spent 17 years in and out of the legal system during the War on Drugs.

Applegarth said that the Cannabis Trail non-profit group plans on placing four additional Cultural Landmark plaques in Humboldt County honoring the pioneers of the cannabis movement in Humboldt County. With a total of six plaques, Humboldt County will host the most Cultural Landmark plaques of any county along The Cannabis Trail.

Applegarth’s hope is to encourage tourism and to tell the story of cannabis history in California. The Cannabis Trail’s website states, “As you travel The Cannabis Trail, you will visit historical and cultural sites and take in powerful artistic monuments that effectively storytell about the people, places and benchmark moments of the California cannabis movement.”

In addition to the Cultural Landmarks and Monuments, Applegarth told us the organization is working on a “cannabis holiday” slated for November 5th. “It’s supposed to be the yin to the yang of 420. It’s all about a day of remembrance for the compassionate roots of cannabis. …We’re going to ask all of our containers …to hold a ceremony, like a remembrance of the stories.”

Applegarth said that the events at the sites along The Cannabis Trail would focus on retelling the history of the cannabis movement. “When you look at the cannabis trail landmarks and monuments together, it’s everything from sustainability, self-reliance and bravery, community to [the] War on Drugs impact on communities – …a quilt of the values of the cannabis movement and all the different communities,” he envisioned.

Those who want to view The Cultural Trail Cultural Landmark plaque can stop by the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in Garberville at 782 Redwood Drive, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

the owners of the Hemp Connection standing on either side of a wooden shelf displaying the green, silver and black Cannabis Trail Cultural Landmark plaque

Hemp Connection owners, Teresa and Marie Mills with Buddy [Photo by Lisa Music]

Marie and Teresa were given an honorary plaque to keep after the rehoming ceremony of the original Cultural Landmark plaque that had resided at the Hemp Connection. The Mills, however, do not plan on retiring simply because they no longer have a brick-and-mortar store front. Hemp Connection wares will be available at various craft fairs and farmers markets as Marie states that her calendar is quite full. The pairs’ next event will be at the Westside Live Market Whitethorn on May 28th.

 

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34 Comments
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thatguyinarcata
Guest
thatguyinarcata
1 year ago

Second amendment right to display the cannabis leaf sign?

Kym Kemp
Admin
1 year ago

To draw and shoot it…

Sorry, sigh, we’ve fixed it.

thatguyinarcata
Guest
thatguyinarcata
1 year ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

We can just be thankful they didn’t have to use their second amendment rights to defend their first amendment ones.

There’s a certain poetry to the closing down of a cultural landmark. Kind of like a ritual acknowledgement of the end of an era.

Permanently on Monitoring
Guest
Permanently on Monitoring
1 year ago

Another Garberville obituary, The Hemp Connection, one of the only consistently good businesses in GBV, is finished…

I always enjoyed a visit, and now there are even fewer reasons to go to Garberville, ever.

I take no joy watching the corpse of Garberville, as it decays in the sunshine…

I will never forget seeing Harry Jasper and his new partner, sitting outside on the curb, smoking a number, one Sunday…

Good luck in your future endeavors, and severing your relationship with Garberville is not too difficult…

Lots of opportunity awaits in more vibrant areas, like Lucerne or Lakeport!

Meanwhile, I recommend Dash Hemp, Santa Cruz, but, a lot of good small businesses have foundered in this economy, and I suspect that nothing is ever certain, besides the crunchy end of Garberville as the universe implodes upon it…

Last edited 1 year ago
White Devil
Guest
White Devil
1 year ago

I want to put a bill board on the 101 that says.

“Ready for $200 lbs?
Buckle up buttercup”

That or

“Greenrushers Begone”

Either way I will be expecting my contribution to the cannabis trail of tear to be the next stop in this shit show.

“Cannabis trail of tears”😭🤣🤣

Larry Jetski
Guest
Larry Jetski
1 year ago
Reply to  White Devil

Someone needs to add “Weed” to the sign on 101 North Bound into Mendocino that says “Wine, Waves whatever”.
How did the cannabis trail get all the way to Weaverville without stopping off at the Honeydew store?

PotterValleyHippy
Guest
PotterValleyHippy
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Jetski

I did this on 4/20 four years ago!

1088338D-8C77-4BAF-86C9-3BE7E240D18D.jpeg
PotterValleyHippy
Guest
PotterValleyHippy
1 year ago

Hey Kym, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to double dip the image but I’m unsure if I can delete one.

Larry Jetski
Guest
Larry Jetski
1 year ago

Two’s even better!

Kym Kemp
Admin
1 year ago

Deleted one for you.

Ben Round
Guest
Ben Round
1 year ago

Been thinking about doing this for YEARS! Ha!
How long did it stay up???

BTW. I always spelled it ‘hippie’….?

Last edited 1 year ago
Chef Jeff
Guest
Chef Jeff
1 year ago
Reply to  White Devil

As a descendant of those who were on the trail of tears, I find your comment disgusting. However you feel about weed, or those who grow it, forced relocation is wrong. I suggest you give your statement a bit of thought, hopefully you will see how hurtful it is to all free people.

White Devil
Guest
White Devil
1 year ago
Reply to  Chef Jeff

I did put thought into that comment, that is why it worked so well. I also had relatives on that trail. They were just on horse back.

WTF?
Guest
WTF?
1 year ago
Reply to  White Devil

You want pounds of machine trimmed smalls for 100? Distro’s are offering $75/pound right now.
So that equates to $165/ pound in taxes to the state, $50-100/pound to the Distro, and $75/pound to the farmer. Then the farmer pays income tax on the end of the year on the $240/pound sale. So subtract about another $20.
What’s the point of being a legal farm again? Does anybody know at this point? Seems like the only reason to be legal is to support big brother. The stress that traditional market farmers had didn’t go away after going legal, it just changed from choppers, busts and ripoffs to permits, fees, deadlines, and inspections.
Such a shit show. My advice to farmers is don’t forget your outlaw roots, run a tight ship, and do what you gotta do!

Chris
Guest
Chris
1 year ago

I’m just curious how this statement applies……”The Southern Humboldt cannabis community rallied for Marie’s second-amendment rights to prominently display the Hemp Connection sign. ”

The 2nd has nothing to do with signs.

Meh, its only the Constitution. Who cares which number is which, right?

Kym Kemp
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

Snort…our bad. I got a chuckle at the thought of Marie toting a bunch of firearms though. Fixed now.

Xebeche
Guest
Xebeche
1 year ago

Marie Mills is a true cannabis hero.
Rent increase? The landlord should be grateful they had this paying tenant for lo these many years. Empty storefronts springing up everywhere with the death of local cannabis. Stupid, stupid, stupid

Tree Hugger
Guest
Tree Hugger
1 year ago

I still have my favorite shirt, purchased at HC long ago. I’d purchase another one right now online, if only…

Last edited 1 year ago
Xebeche
Guest
Xebeche
1 year ago
Reply to  Tree Hugger

Thanks for reminding me, I have a hat and a shirt from the HC….25 years 😁

URMOMMMSSS
Guest
1 year ago

I want to put a bill board on the 101 that says.

“Ready for $200 lbs?
Buckle up buttercup”

That or

“Greenrushers Begone”

Either way I will be expecting my contribution to the cannabis trail of tear to be the next stop in this shit show.

“Cannabis trail of tears”😭🤣🤣

Larry Jetski
Guest
Larry Jetski
1 year ago
Reply to  URMOMMMSSS

Weird way to introduce your distro company. Good luck gettn product.

URMOMMMSSS
Guest
1 year ago

so stupid

Bug on a Windshield
Guest
Bug on a Windshield
1 year ago

So, have cannabis prices come down enough for someone, anyone, to switch their farming to hemp? Maybe then, vendors like the Mills could carry a local product. Does hemp have the same restrictions as cannabis: plot size, plant quantity, whatever else? Is hemp even in prop 64?

Bug on a Windshield
Guest
Bug on a Windshield
1 year ago

OK, answered my own question, at least partially. Yes, Prop 64 made hemp legal but the details are few. This was the first info bit I found, an article from Jan. 2017. Don’t have the time at the moment to delve deeper.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/sd-fi-prop64-hemp-20161213-story.html

Entering a world of pain
Guest
Entering a world of pain
1 year ago

From my understanding there is a moratorium on growing hemp in humboldt for fear of pollen drift seeding weed crops. So I guess the cannabis movement wasn’t really concerned with saving the world after all.
I haven’t heard alot of talk about “medicine” for several years now either

Destiny Rides AgainD
Member
1 year ago

The more salient issue is where would industrial hemp be processed — not just a local problem, but this is a nationwide issue with the industrialization of hemp. The “hemp moratorium” to protect cannabis from hemp pollen can easily be challenged in court — it would be equivalent to saying one couldn’t grow limes around lemon trees. It is crazy stupid, and with the precipitous drop in cannabis prices, one could understand why. All the old, idle timber processing plants would do well to be converted into hemp processing plants, and cannabis growers (among other HumCo farmers) would have a new crop to pursue. Currently, there are ~ 15,000 consumer products made from hemp, and many more products where hemp could replace the conventional raw material. Thank the paper industry and Randolph Hearst for the ban on hemp in the US.

thatguyinarcata
Guest
thatguyinarcata
1 year ago

The problem with that industry in Humboldt is that we don’t really have the scale of arable land that makes industrial hemp worth it. Unless the dairy guys decided to run it. It’s much better suited to the great plains, where it can be grown like corn in patches measured in the hundreds of acres

WTF?
Guest
WTF?
1 year ago

There are applications for hemp production on file with the county totaling over 500 acres. They will be processed if the moratorium is lifted.

thatguyinarcata
Guest
thatguyinarcata
1 year ago
Reply to  WTF?

Those permits are likely for cbd hemp flower, not for the types of industrial uses that people typically associate with “hemp”. From the outside they would just look like the field grown weed we have now under prop 64, they wouldn’t be for fiber or food

Larry Jetski
Guest
Larry Jetski
1 year ago

The limes/lemons and hemp comparison betrays your understanding of how people made money on weed, and the botany. Hemp as fiber or for seed would earn about $5.00 on most people’s $100,000/year sinsemilla op. A majority of people applying for “hemp” permits in Humboldt, wanted to grow sinsemilla flower of low THC cannabis for CBD extracts. The same way you might grow regular weed. The whole “hemp” being different than “cannabis” is crap. For 70 years the only strains you could maybe grow legally for fiber or seed had to be low THC. There is nothing inherently better about low THC strains for producing fiber or seed. It was just foolish social pressure because higher THC is fun.

Macy Lane
Guest
Macy Lane
1 year ago

Still would not change the fact that legal cannabis is a commodity with a limited customer base that the entire state can produce very effortlessly at a much lower cost. Were John & Estelle responsible for writing pot growers business plans too?

Laura Hall
Guest
Laura Hall
1 year ago
Reply to  Macy Lane

They, the stupid visors and other government gangsters certainly have killed Humboldt. This will be their legacy. May the faces of their offspring show the shame and disgrace for generations to come.

Two Dogs
Guest
Two Dogs
1 year ago

Too many people getting lost on this trail.

Rose Gerstner
Guest
9 months ago

I sold my hemp/tencel clothing to Hemp Connection and will miss doing business with Teresa. She and her Mom were wonderful to work with. Best luck to them!