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Humboldt Cannabis Trail

Advice & Things To Do for the Canna Curious

Humboldt Cannabis Trail


The Redwood experience is something you remember for the rest of your life. As you weave through the ancient trees, glimpse stunning ocean views, and navigate the rivers, this famous area has also gained an international reputation as “The Emerald Triangle.”

In the 1960-1970s, there was a back-to-land movement which brought many to Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties. These pioneers brought remote logging areas back to life and began creating their own communities. Some of these farms realized that they could augment their income by growing cannabis alongside their other crops and bringing it to the San Francisco Bay Area and other areas where there was a growing demand. A risky trip to the Himalayan foothills brought cannabis seeds cultivated for thousands of years back to Humboldt which shares similar climate and elevation. This allowed Emerald Triangle farmers to produce higher quality cannabis. A couple of decades later, the Emerald Triangle was reportedly supplying 80% of the domestic market - unheard of in almost any industry.

There is incredible history in the hills of the Emerald Triangle because of the concentration of farms who engineered clever ways to hide from helicopters and law enforcement before legalization. Many farms and their children lived in fear - while also funding local schools, volunteer fire departments and many local businesses. This history and the colorful stories that were born out of the redwoods can now be accessed and explored for the first time by tourists looking for another experience.

While you can visit the licensed retailers along Highway 101 on your visit, some of these farms and operations have also been opening up for visits. Agriculture is California's largest industry, and cannabis has become one its most valuable products. Consumers are seeking more knowledge about the potential health and wellness benefits of this plant which has been used for thousands of years across many cultures. If you are curious and over 21 years of age, the cannabis dispensaries along your route will be able to introduce you not only to the products, but also the emerging science, new product categories, tours, and experiences.

In particular, Humboldt has had books, movies, documentaries, and songs produced about its history and culture. As the most internationally famous regional cannabis brand, Humboldt has become the Mecca for those seeking out the latest trends in the fastest growing industry in the U.S. But visitors also report that this area retains the brain trust of the industry as many of the “OG's” (“Old Growers”) are still around to share their colorful stories and their deep knowledge. Most of the cannabis grown in the Emerald Triangle is outdoor where many farmers are creating regenerative agriculture models that not only produce superior products but are also attracting attention from the environmental community who see the future here.

Like the many artists who add to Humboldt's creative culture, the farmers are honing their “craft cannabis” as well. Together, Humboldt has created a very unique community where travelers come to break out of the boxes life gives us, and enjoy craft at its finest. Humboldt has always been about stories. What will yours be?

- Written by Ken Harrick. Ken Hamick is a Board Member for the Humboldt County Visitors Bureau, an Operating Partner for The Ganjery (McKinleyville), and a Member of the Presidents Council at College of the Redwoods.

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