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 county has about 1.5 millions acres of forest land. It ranges from the beach to the tops of the Coast Mountains, which are quite high. It’s the big Redwood area in the state. 40% of the old growth left is found in Humboldt. Most of the old growth is protected.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to visit the area. They encountered residents who had been there forever – the First Nations. Russians and Americans followed, looking for furs. Chinese came afterwards. Of course, as the Pacific became more commercialized there was a great mixture of people turning up. This big change was hard on the natives. There was violence and disease, and they suffered greatly. There are 8 Indian reserves in the county.
Today the big industry is marijuana production. Prop 215 allows people with a medical license to grow 99 plants without breaking any state law. Growers get the cards from doctors who are sympathetic to the issue. Tradition has it that old hippies from the Bay area came to Humboldt and started growing weed many years ago. The cash generated by marijuana underpins the economy. It arises from export to the rest of the country. It is rumoured that radio stations will announce police enforcement programs.
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 is lax. Growers usually get off with probation instead of jail time. This is especially true of small growers or medicinal growers. There are environmental damages to consider as well, but these are just becoming an issue.