Humboldt County is located in Northern California. It’s about 200 miles north of San Francisco. The county seat is Eureka, and there is another good size town there called Arcata. It’s one county south of Oregon.

The forested land mass of the county is about 1,500,000 acres. The terrain goes from the coast to the mountaintops of the Coast Range. It is where the most Redwoods grow in California. It accounts for about 40% of the old growth left in the state. Most of that is in parks or other types of conservation areas.

Of course, the Spanish were the first whites to visit the area. They were met by First Nations people who had been on the coast for millennia. Russians and Americans also came for furs. Not long after the Chinese started to arrive. As commercial activity in the Pacific grew more and more people from diverse backgrounds arrived, just like everywhere else on the Pacific Coast of North America. This was bad news for the First Nations. They were marginalized. They now live on eight Indian Reserves.

Marijuana cultivation is the county’s biggest cash source. People with medical cards, or their caregivers, can grow 99 plants without breaking state law as a result of Prop 215. The cards are issued by doctors, and are easy to get. The story goes that Bay area hippies came to Humboldt decades ago and began the marijuana industry. That crop was exported to the rest of California and the US. It has become an important source of income for the economy. Growers are widely supported and radio stations will even announce police enforcement movements.

The amount produced seems to be under-reported, but it makes a big dent in the demand. It easily competes with all the BC bud imported into the US. There is violence associated with this, but the degree is hard to gauge. Most of that money is unreported, and Humboldt is listed as a very poor county.

Law enforcement doesn’t push hard against marijuana in Humboldt. Probation is the common sentence. This is not always the case with big commercial growers. Environmental concerns are also starting to become a problem that is being looked at.

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