In the News

Oct 27, 2020

A New State Law Could Allow Small-Scale Outdoor Cannabis Farmers to Adopt the French Wine Concept of Terroir

By Ryan Burns | Photo By Beau Sanders

The analogy gets used so often it’s practically a cliché: Humboldt County is (or perhaps still aspires to be) to cannabis what Napa Valley is to wine — that is, a geographical locale so widely renowned for producing a particular agricultural product that the name alone serves as an imprimatur of quality.

Existing law — namely, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) — protects against imposters by allowing licensed cultivators to designate a county of origin if and only if100 percent of the cannabis was grown within that county. (It also protects against misleading branding, like when an L.A. cannabis startup christened itself “hmbldt.”)

But a new law aims to enshrine even more rigorous standards for geographically specific excellence while incentivizing eco-friendly outdoor farming. And once again, the model was borrowed from the wine industry.

Senate Bill 67, which was introduced by North Coast legislators Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood and signed into law last month by Gov. Gavin Newsom, opens the door for small-scale cannabis cultivators to establish appellations of origin based on terroir, a French term that describes a region’s distinct environmental conditions — such as soil, climate and sunlight — which manifest in crops grown there.

“This legislation really sets a new standard across this nation for quality in cannabis,” McGuire told the Outpost in a phone conversation Friday. “We all know that world-class cannabis originates from Humboldt County and other Northern California counties, and we have to protect that.” 

This new law says that the California Department of Food and Agriculture can only approve appellations of origin for cannabis that’s planted in the ground and grown under the sun, without any structures or artificial light. 

“This is the first appellations-of-origin law passed in the United States, and we hope this becomes a model around the country,” McGuire said.

The idea is for farmers in a specific region to come together and agree upon a set of cultivation practices that, along with their region’s environment, will define the terroir of their particular appellation. In this context, an appellation won’t be anything so large as an entire county — more like a valley or watershed with its own microclimate.

One of the local cannabis farmers looking to take advantage of a terroir-based appellations program is Drew Barber, who owns and operates East Mill Creek Farms, a 10,000-square-foot outdoor operation in Southern Humboldt. 

“We have kind of a unique climate in the Lower Mattole,” Barber said. This microclimate — not a lot of wind or fog, plenty of sun but few scorchingly hot temperatures — gives his cannabis distinct characteristics. “We get slightly different terpene profiles than other farms,” Barber said, referring to the organic compounds that give weed its aromas.

Barber enjoys talking about how a plant’s environment influences its expression. “Plants are producing secondary plant compounds — CBD, THC, terpenes — in response to environmental stressors,” he explained. “We don’t have a problem producing those stressors in the outdoors. There’s wind, temperature fluctuations, you have animals digging around at the roots [and] worms in the native soil.” 

All these variables contribute to what Barber calls each harvest’s “unique fingerprint.”

“If we refine our abilities to perceive that, either through testing or tasting, then we can recognize some of those environmental influences,” he said.

 

 

If such talk reminds you of wine aficionados waxing poetic about the”voluptuous tannins” and “angular body” of a certain vintage, well, that’s no coincidence. Wine grapes are the model, here. But Dr. Dominic Corva, co-director of Humboldt State University’s Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, said the concept of terroir isn’t mumbo-jumbo. 

“Absolutely, the environment matters in terms of producing distinct characteristics in a plant,” he said. “You don’t just have a clone or a seed that comes out the same whether it’s grown indoors under artificial lighting or outdoors in the soil. It’s always different. Absolutely, the environment matters. That’s cannabis cultivation 101.”

While acknowledging that he’s not a soil scientist (rather, he’s a social scientist and geographer), Corva said he “knows an awful lot about the cultural and physical aspects of cultivation that are appropriate for appellations.” And he thinks that a terroir-based appellation system will benefit small-scale craft producers in particular.

“It’s not just the physical location or microclimate,” he said. “There’s a strong cultural element to appellations. … There’s a shared set of practices around cultivation.” 

Referring to the wine-growing regions of France and the larger Mediterranean, Corva said winemakers in each little valley and community historically produced quite similar-tasting wines. “People who are dependent on each other tend to develop a shared set of meanings and practices,” he said. “Maybe they all do the same thing during different parts of the season because they learned from each other. Maybe they’re using the same genetics.”

It’s also a matter of banding together to gain a competitive advantage. Referring again to regional European winemakers, Corva said, “Their wine and their neighbors’ wine need to be the same quality so they can gain a marketing edge. “ 

Barber invoked the famous Champagne region of France, where the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne has established rigorous regulations governing harvest times, curing, pressing and more. For example, the grapes must be hand-picked by or else the finished product can’t be called champagne. 

“The extra touch of hand-harvest helps more people be employed,” Barber said, “but it also helps because there are more eyes on the grapes, so you end up with fewer moldy, dis-flavored grapes in the product. The same is true with cannabis, whether you’re dealing with a dandelion head or a flower mold.”

Such labor-intensive practices can be a competitive disadvantage in a lucrative agricultural-commodity industry that includes hundred-acre mega-grows in Santa Barbara and Monterey counties.

“That’s where we hope the consumer will appreciate that value-add,” Barber said. He and some of his neighbors in the Mattole Valley have formed an agricultural cooperative called Uplift, and as the terroir-based appellations legislation wended its way toward the governor’s desk, Barber and his neighbors — co-op members and non-members alike — have been talking about the concept and the opportunities it may present.

“We’re actively discussing it and organizing ourselves so we can implement it,” Barber said. The process of establishing a set of communal practices, obtaining a certified terroir-based appellation, and then getting those products to market may take years. “We all realize it’s a really long play,” Barber said, “but we hope it’s a way to preserve outdoor growing, not only to stay viable but so the culture of outdoor growing continues to exist.”

Indoor grow ops have advantages such as climate control and the ability to produce multiple harvests per year, but Barber and other so-called “legacy” farmers believe in the environmental benefits of sun-grown cannabis. They also believe that there’s a market for it.

“If people care enough to have a hybrid vehicle and they’re mindful about climate change then I hope they would make a consistent decision with their values and ethics when they go to purchase their cannabis,” Barber said.

Hannah Whyte, who co-owns Emerald Queen Farms in Willow Creek with her husband, Riley, has also been keeping close tabs on the appellations legislation, and she agreed with Barber about the challenges inherent in outdoor growing.

“It’s a big gamble,” she told the Outpost in a recent phone conversation. “It’s essentially the most difficult way to produce this plant, but it gives that craft and marketing edge that I think discerning consumers want.”

Whyte described SB 67 as “kind of a Hail Mary” attempt to change the regulatory framework established with the passage of Proposition 64, the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which legalized recreational cannabis in California. She believes that by providing for terroir-based appellations, the state government can leave a window of opportunity open for craft-scale farmers.

“I really feel like it’s a pay-it-forward [gift] to the future by creating more opportunities for farmers to see a market advantage in reducing their carbon footprint and enhancing this product,” Whyte said.

Terra Carver, who recently resigned from her position as executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, a nonprofit cannabis industry group she co-founded in 2017, said she was thrilled by the grassroots effort that culminated in SB 67 getting signed into law.

“This is a bold statement and I’m gonna say it: Democracy is alive and well from Humboldt County to Sacramento,” Carver said. “This bill shows that.” 

There were no high-powered lobbyists or big business interests advocating for an appellations-based regulatory system. Instead, Carver said, a group of farmers worked with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors — “Estelle [Fennell, the Second District supervisor] was key on this,” she noted — which endorsed the concept. That, in turn, activated Senator McGuire and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, creating a “domino effect” that landed the legislation on Newsom’s desk.

“It says a lot about people — literal people, not lobbyists or big money — coming together with an idea and utilizing local and state government representatives to do their jobs and get that governor’s signature,” Carver said. “I’m really proud of everybody involved, and it worked.”

According to the HCGA, the wine industry provided more than just inspiration. “[T]he California wine industry was a powerful ally, lending both political support and technical expertise in establishing terroir-based appellations,” the group said in a press release.

However, Ross Gordon, HCGA’s policy director, said there’s one more regulatory hurdle to clear before terroir-based appellations become fully enshrined in the state’s regulatory framework. The California Department of Food and Agriculture recently closed a public comment period regarding a slew of proposed regulations in the cannabis industry, including SB 67. 

The coalition that helped pass that bill is concerned that the CDFA might create a system in which appellations could be based not on terroir but merely on a region’s reputation. Under that type of model, simply being located in the Emerald Triangle region of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties might be enough to qualify for appellation status.

“We’re asking for reputation alone not to be the basis” of an appellation, Gordon said. “That can be a part of it, but there needs to be a tie to the physical land.” 

In order for the system to have integrity, he argued, “it needs to be shown that when you talk about appellations, you’re talking about the relationship between the land, the climate and the final product.”

McGuire agrees. “What we have said to the Department of Food and Agriculture is, ‘Let’s not remake the wheel,’” he said, adding that a terroir-based system “set up worldwide standards for quality wine, so our whole intent is to replicate what’s been successful for the cannabis community. Why upset the apple cart? We believe the two standards — wine and cannabis — should be similar. We see no reason to differentiate between the two.”

The CDFA’s deadline to implement regulations for cannabis appellations is Jan. 1, 2021. Barber hopes that regulators in Sacramento will recognize and respect the “causal link” he sees between environment and product. “If you take the environmental fingerprint out of it,” he said, “appellations have very little meaning.”

Lost Coast Outpost

Oct 21, 2020

Ross Gordon of HCGA Interviews on The Humboldt Chronicles About Marketing Assessment

Humboldt Chronicles spoke with Ross Gordon of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, Craig Nejedly of Satori Wellness and Congressman Jared Huffman about a cannabis marketing assessment currently being considered by the Humboldt County Board Of Supervisors.

Lost Coast Outpost

Oct 06, 2020

Humboldt County supervisors OK easing cannabis permitting

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved changes to the county’s cannabis cultivation ordinances to streamline the permitting process for new and existing commercial cannabis cultivation up to 2,000 square feet on five-acre or larger parcels that have homes that have existed before Dec. 31, 2016. The program will be open to applicants until September 2025.What's this item about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...

“Farmers and landowners and rural landowners need to be able to clear trees for defensible space,” said Natalynne DeLapp, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

Times Standard

Sep 22, 2020

Advocates Launch Group Seeking Interstate Cannabis Commerce

A cadre of cannabis advocates and business owners called the Alliance for Sensible Markets plans to lobby legalized states into establishing cannabis commerce between consenting markets. The organization says cannabis commerce between consenting markets “will bring investment, expansion, business formation, and tens of thousands of jobs in the midst of an historic recession.” About 50 organizations and businesses are listed as campaign partners on the organization’s website, including the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), New York City Cannabis Industry Association, Humboldt County Growers Alliance, Soma County Growers Alliance, Craft Cannabis Alliance, and Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce.

Ganjapreneur

Sep 30, 2020

Governor Newsom Makes California Cannabis Terroir Program Official with SB 67 Signing

As Gov. Newsom prepares to sign the foundation of a cannabis terroir system into law, family farms across the state are excited to have a new tool to protect the legacy of California’s historic growing regions and the conditions that make them special.

The effort to pass Senate Bill 67 was led by State Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Assemblymembers Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale). Groups supporting the effort included the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, Origins Council, and Napa Valley Vintners Association. While HCGA and Origin Council represent the views of many legacy cultivators, the Napa Valley Vintners Association has helped provide a model for the California cannabis industry’s now successful attempt to build and protect their regional identities.

LA Weekly

Sep 14, 2020

Humboldt Cannabis Industry Comes Together in the Face of Fires

As residents got evacuation warnings from the Alderpoint area in Southern Humboldt County at dawn on Wednesday September 9, they put their livestock and pets into trucks, and loaded their most important belongings. But what of their cannabis crop that is carefully cultivated under the Northern California sun, expertly harvested, and now in urgent need to be stored out of harm’s way? Read how the community came together.

May 19, 2020

Can California marijuana trade groups coordinate to engage industry’s legislative gears?

More than two years into the rollout of California’s regulated recreational cannabis market, many marijuana industry associations are still struggling to work together for the common good of legal operators on objectives such as lowering state taxes, expanding the industry’s retail footprint and other strategies to improve business conditions.

May 08, 2020

California Regulators Prepare for the Champagne of Cannabis

The first-of-its-kind Cannabis Appellation Program will allow for place-of-origin branding. At the final public hearing this week, growers emphasized the importance of “terroir” baseline standards.

Apr 26, 2020

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance Partners with Origins Council

The Regional Partners of Origins Council are: Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, Big Sur Farmers Association, Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Humboldt County Growers Alliance and Trinity County Agricultural Alliance.

Apr 25, 2020

Humboldt County cannabis receives equity grant, but no federal funds

Humboldt County’s cannabis industry — an essential part of the economy in the eyes of California legislators — has received none of the federal relief available to other businesses, but a new grant will allow the county to provide assistance to pot workers.

Apr 15, 2020

Trim responsibly: Humboldt County pot industry wary of COVID-19

Humboldt County’s cannabis industry has long attracted both eager pot growers seeking to learn the trade and people, sometimes immigrants, looking for steady work.

But that can’t happen right now — the global coronavirus pandemic has prompted state and local officials to call for a halt to travel.

And even as cannabis farms remain essential in state shelter-in-place policy, advocates and legal growers say they are encouraging people to prioritize the law.

Apr 15, 2020

Humboldt Cannabis Genetics & Bioethics Conference opens online 4/20

Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) in partnership with HendRx Farm is hosting the first Humboldt-focused Cannabis Genetics & Bioethics Conference live online from April 20 to April 24.

Apr 11, 2019

$350,000 in cash? California marijuana taxes still make growers - and tax collectors - nervous

On tax days, it’s not hard to spot marijuana growers waiting to exhale in downtown Eureka.
 

They haul cash in grocery bags and boxes, making their way to a state office where they can pay their taxes.

One grower “holds his breath as he walks into the building,” said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. The distance is “no more than 20 yards, but the fact that he was holding $350,000 (makes it) ... a public safety issue.”

California still doesn’t have a better way to collect taxes from its burgeoning, licensed marijuana industry three years after voters passed an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis and 23 years after they sanctioned medical marijuana.

That won’t change as long as marijuana is considered an illegal drug by federal authorities, which makes banks reluctant to do business with the cannabis industry.

The Sacramento Bee

Apr 04, 2019

Bill to Protect Cannabis Growers In Danger of Being Pushed Out of the Permitting Process Takes Crucial Step Forward

“The state is moving quickly to catch up to the massive backlog of cannabis farmers’ temporary licenses that have expired. Today’s action by the Senate and last week’s move by the administration will help keep farmers from dropping back into the black market at no fault of their own,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We’re grateful to work with the Administration – ensuring good actors who want to comply with state law don’t fall out of our regulated market. Without valid licenses, there isn’t a legal, regulated market here in the Golden State and a crisis will take hold.”

“I’m grateful that Governor Newsom has put an expedited process in place to address the expiration of temporary cannabis licenses, but we remain concerned that the processing time may still not be able to address the large number of temporary licenses out there,” said Wood. “Because of that, it is important for us to continue to move SB 67 forward.”

“The Humboldt County Growers Alliance applauds the Governor’s office and Senator McGuire for working diligently to ensure that hundreds of our members can remain in the regulated market place,” said Humboldt County Growers Alliance Executive Director Terra Carver.

Redheaded Blackbelt

Mar 29, 2019

Keeping the Golden Goose Alive: Humboldt County Makes Changes to Measure S that Could Provide Some Relief for Cannabis Farmers

Cannabis cultivators getting permits in Humboldt County received a little relief this Tuesday. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors made what Natalynne DeLapp, Operations Director for the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, characterized as “substantial” changes to tax law for those growing marijuana.

 

 

John Bartholomew who is the County Treasurer-Tax Collector explained, “I believe this to be a prudent change to support the long term viability of the cannabis industry in Humboldt County”.

DeLapp called this a “huge win for our industry.” She points out there are several changes to the law, but what she most wants the Humboldt County legal cannabis community to understand is that the Measure S Cultivation Tax will no longer be paid prior to harvest but the next year after sales have (hopefully) been made.

According to information sent out to cultivators today from the County, “What this means for farmers is that payment for 2019 cultivation taxes, WILL NOT be billed until January 2020, and the first installment payment will be due on March 15, 2020.” The second will be due on October 15, 2020. And the tax doesn’t start until the plants are on the permitted site.

DeLapp notes, “When people got their interim permit, they were liable [for the tax] immediately …and were billed even if they might not grow.”

$9.99

Mar 27, 2019

Supes Give Cannabis Farmers a Tax Break, But Statewide Overproduction Could Spell Doom for Many Growers

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to give local cannabis cultivators longer to pay their excise tax bills each year, responding to complaints from growers that taxes and fees are killing the industry. Rather than having to pay those taxes upon receiving their cultivation permits, the county’s cannabis farmers can now wait until the following year to pay up, with the first installment due on March 15 and a second due on Oct. 15.

Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, an industry group representing more than 200 local growers. She urged the board on Tuesday to delay taxation until plants are actually onsite, rather than when permits are issued, and she suggested the county start exploring the concept of tax incentives for farmers who use such environmentally friendly techniques as rainwater catchment and solar energy.

Lost Coast Outpost

Mar 23, 2019

McGuire looks to extend all temp pot permits to year’s end

“This bill is going to protect thousands of cannabis farmers who did the right thing and applied for a state license,” McGuire said.

There are just under 7,000 temporary licenses being vetted and processed by the state Department of Food and Agriculture, McGuire said. All of them will expire at some point this year.

For Humboldt County cannabis growers, the bill is an “absolute must,” said Thomas Mulder of Humboldt Redwood Healing.

“Technically, the law is you can’t operate when the license expires,” Mulder said. “When the permits expire, (the growers) will be faced with the risk of, ‘Do I break the law to put food on the table?’”

The distinction gets complicated — it’s difficult to explain without resorting to “drawing pictures,” said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. But neither a temporary permit nor a provisional one is equivalent to being in the clear.

And if the permits expire before McGuire’s bill is passed, it will be a “mission critical” moment for the industry, she said.

“We appreciate the senator’s work on the issue,” she said. “He’s been a champion.”

Times Standard

Mar 12, 2019

‘Project Trellis’ — the Multipronged, County-Led Program to Assist the Local Cannabis Industry — Appears to be a Go

The project – which will initially be funded by at least $1.7 million taken from Measure S, the excise tax on cultivation that voters passed in 2016 – was devised by county staff at the direction of the board, and takes a three-pronged approach to supporting the industry: through small grants, a countywide branding and marketing campaign, and participation in a “local equity program” that could be eligible for state funding.

Natalynne Delapp, operations director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, said that the board’s votes to get “Project Trellis” rolling made this a “historic day” for the county.

“This is a way for us to reinvest in our future and allow us to survive and thrive in a regulated marketplace,” Delapp said.

Scott Adair, the county’s economic development director, led the months-long effort to draft “Project Trellis,” and he set the stage this morning with a PowerPoint presentation to the board that emphasized how much the county has changed in the last couple of decades.

Lost Coast Outpost

Mar 13, 2019

‘Small-grower focus’ would highlight new cannabis grant, marketing, equity program

“We chose a trellis as a metaphor for our project because a trellis helps plants to grow,” said Scott Adair, the county’s director of economic development. “It provides upwards growth.”

Project Trellis’ budget could draw 10 percent of the county’s excise pot tax revenue. From there, 70 percent of the allocated funding would go to marketing, 20 percent to the micro-grant program and 10 percent to the equity initiative.

The supervisors made it a point to note the basic breakdown is only a starting point. The final numbers might look different.

The 10,000-acre number is a start to assessing for grants and loans, but it shouldn’t “preclude” anyone from potentially getting help through the program, said Natalynne DeLapp of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

A cultivator might have two separate operations, each of around 7,000 square feet, the kind of contingency that makes set figures difficult to work around, DeLapp said.

Times Standard

Mar 14, 2019

Project Trellis: The Tax Man Giveth Back to the Cannabis Community

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously March 12 to reinvest a portion of its cannabis excise tax revenue back into the industry it came from.

In a series of votes, the board approved plans to create a local “equity” program aimed at helping those impacted by prohibition and the drug war, a board to award micro-grants to the industry and a marketing plan designed to promote Humboldt County cannabis.

Finally, the third prong is the creation of a $1.19 million fund to pay for a Humboldt County specific cannabis marketing initiative. With the board’s March 12 vote, the county will issue a request for proposals for a cannabis marketing and branding plan that — coupled with point of origin stamp program — will try to build the Humboldt County cannabis brand, particularly in the urban centers of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, home to the state’s largest cannabis retail markets.

“Today is a momentous day for Humboldt County,” Humboldt County Growers Alliance Operations Director Natalynne DeLapp told the board.

Redheaded Blackbelt

Mar 11, 2019

Thousands of California pot growers’ licenses set to expire if bill is not passed

Once, the cannabis industry was poised to become a multibillion-dollar industry in California. Now, it could be heading for what its advocates call an “extinction event.”

An estimated 10,000 marijuana growers could lose their licenses in the coming months if California lawmakers fail to pass a bill designed to grant them an extension, according to Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, who has sponsored Senate Bill 67.

Terra Carver, executive director for the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, told lawmakers in a hearing that some growers have already been forced out of business because their temporary license expired before the state got around to issuing a provisional one.

If nothing is done, Carver said, “there will be dire consequences such as imminent market collapse of hundreds of businesses in the region and through the state.”

Mercury News

Feb 27, 2019

California cannabis licensing backlog could spur collapse of supply chain, ‘hundreds of businesses’

A California Senate panel on Wednesday advanced a bill – dubbed a “Band-Aid” by one sponsor – in a last-minute bid to prevent thousands of marijuana companies from being temporarily forced out of the legal market and causing chaos in the state’s marijuana supply chain. But the move is likely to be in vain, at least in the short term.

Temporary licenses – on which the entire legal market operated throughout 2018 – have already begun to expire, while licensees continue to wait for full annual permits.

“Without passage of this bill, there will be dire consequences, such as the imminent market collapse of hundreds of businesses,” Terra Carver, the executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, told lawmakers on Wednesday.

 

The measure, Senate Bill 67, would give more leeway to the three state agencies responsible for licensing marijuana companies.

Marijuana Business Daily

Feb 26, 2019

At Last Week’s ‘Seed to Sale’ Cannabis Business Event in Fortuna

Last Friday, the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) hosted another well-attended event at Fortuna’s River Lodge. The Seed to Sale Pre-Planting Planning Conference was an HCGA “Member Exclusive,” billed as “[a]n opportunity for cultivators to connect with Humboldt manufacturers and branded distributors.”

At the event on Friday, HCGA Operations Manager Natalynne Delapp gave me a bit more detail, explaining that the event was all about connecting local “wholesale cultivators” to businesses that can move and process their cannabis.

Wholesale cultivators, Delapp says, are “people who just really want to farm.” They don’t necessarily want to deal with building brands or doing distribution. “It’s hard to have your own brand,” she continues. “It’s not just a logo, you have to build and market the brand, get it out into the consumer’s mind.” And that can be costly in terms of both time and money.

Lost Coast Outpost

Feb 18, 2019

Panel Discussion at HSU Will Look at Netflix’s Murder Mountain and Media Representations of Humboldt County

Focusing on a geographic area in a remote corner of Humboldt County, a two-hour drive from HSU and representing a fraction of Humboldt County’s population, the filmmakers describe “a wild, lawless place” where “vigilante justice and outlaw culture … resembles America’s Wild West past.”

 

The purpose of this panel is to critically examine representations of culture, place, and the cannabis industry in Humboldt County.

Lost Coast Outpost

Feb 12, 2019

U.S. NEWS California's governor vows crackdown on illegal pot farms, says many are 'run by the cartels'

Newsom said during his State of the State address that he's pulling 360 of the state's National Guard troops from President Donald Trump's border security deployment, which the governor described as part of a "manufactured crisis."

William Honsal, sheriff in the cannabis epicenter of Humboldt County, said he has seen evidence of cartel connections to "trespass grows," which are operations set up on state or federal land, the amount of such activity seems to be down recently.

Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, said illicit farms have been operating with an unfair advantage in the region for too long. "We applaud his leadership in really going after trespass grows," she said of Newsom.

NBC News

Feb 06, 2019

Coastal Commission to consider delaying cannabis ordinance decision by one year

The commercial cannabis industry is still illegal in Humboldt County’s coastal zones and might be for at least another year if the state Coastal Commission votes on Friday to delay its decision on cannabis ordinances for another year.

If the commission delays its decision, industrial cannabis activity will remain illegal in the coastal zones, simply because the commission hasn’t yet adopted any ordinance acknowledging the legal cannabis industry. Coastal zones extend three nautical miles offshore the county’s coastline.

Distributors and manufacturers are always looking for new territory, said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “If there was an opportunity for more site-appropriate areas,” Carver said, “we’d see an influx of people taking advantage of that.”

Times Standard

Jan 22, 2019

Supervisors look to incentivize Humboldt County water storage

The board voted unanimously to support incentivizing water storage on properties in order to retain water for other uses, and to adjust its state and federal legislative platforms, which lay out the board’s stances for the next year. Future local incentives could look similar to existing federal and state programs that incentivize rainwater catchment and solar construction.

Local cannabis growers want to invest in water storage but are held back by the cost of hard water storage tanks, said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. Most growers are settling for ponds or wells. With incentives, growers can eventually market “rain-grown cannabis,” Carver said.

Times Standard

Jan 12, 2019

After year of commercial cannabis, some Humboldt County cities remain opposed

Between fears of crime, physical safety and the prospect of bad odors, there’s no way cannabis bans have stopped people within city limits from using the product, said Terra Carver, the executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

“The difference is, cannabis is not being bought from legal dispensaries, which means it hasn’t been safely tested,” Carver said. “These cities are fueling a public health issue.”

Most municipalities have focused discussion of the plant around its economic impacts. But Carver said centering the talk around money and job growth ignores the darker realities of an unregulated industry, where pesticide-infected product seeps into the black market and workers are abused.

Not all bans are extremist, Carver pointed out — it takes a lot of heavy lifting for city staff to properly regulate cannabis. But a blanket ban on home deliveries? That’s where things fall back on “drug war” rhetoric, she said.

“When cities like Fortuna jump on the ‘reefer madness’ talk,” she said, “it becomes a very abusive, prohibitionist stance.”

The wheels of time are spinning. As both the state and Humboldt County dive deeper into the culture of regulated cannabis, Fortuna holds its ground. But even city officials are now assuming a “wait-and-see” stance, Perry said when asked about a possible end to the ban.

But as long as the wait continues, Carver said, public health and individual safety remain at risk.

“How long is it going to take before elected officials realize they’re propping up an unregulated market? The consequences of prohibition go far beyond just the product. Everything is put at risk.”

Times Standard

Jan 04, 2019

OP-ED: What the Netflix Series ‘Murder Mountain’ Got Wrong

Perhaps that is the one kernel of value that we’re left with after going on this depressing trip: a reminder of the dysfunctional communities that can grow in an absence of regulation. In fact, the work so many of us are doing to forge a regulated cannabis industry in Humboldt County is an attempt, in part, to heal this wound.

It was disheartening to see the anger heaped on our Board of Supervisors for the collapse of the local cannabis industry. In truth, the pirate ship of easy profits sailed away with the passage of Prop. 64 and not with the efforts of our local politicians to provide a suitable berth.

If the Alderpoint residents interviewed for this series are any indicator, then altogether too many people were below decks while this particular ship was preparing to set sail. Additionally, in Murder Mountain’s warped perspective, no one is safe from the effects of shock-umentary editing. Even our law enforcement public servants, Sheriff Honsal and his department, tasked with a job of unmanageable scale, are thrown under the bus with a vigor normally reserved for illegal growers.

Lost Coast Outpost

Dec 27, 2018

Year in review: 2018 was a banner year for the cannabis industry

In California, the year began with the legalization of recreational cannabis. Locally, Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, said members of HCGA have been ahead of the curve.

“It’s been one hell of a ride,” she said. “There’s never been a dull moment to the past year, and I’m proud of the community as a whole for working through the complicated nuanced issues the industry and community face together.”

 

Carver said one of the biggest moments this year for the Humboldt County cannabis community was when the July 1 deadline for cannabis compliant with state testing standards was imposed. “Humboldt County’s product is clean,” she said. “We saw a big uptick and surge of clean cannabis being requested and purchased out of Humboldt County.”

Times Standard

Dec 20, 2018

Compliant cannabis growers will get more time for expiring interim permits

“We’re going to work with people as long as it takes to get their permit, if they’re working hard to get it,” said county Planning and Building Director John Ford.

“This is a massive undertaking,” said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “We in the industry understand that not only is it complicated, the rules change a lot. The fact that they’re trying to speed up is great.”

One grower, Pat Andrews of Ice Box Flat Farms in Honeydew, said he waited for well over a year to get fully licensed. Andrews had been in the mix even before interim permits were first conceived. “One of the biggest things is the overwhelming amount of stuff there is,” Andrews said. “There’s always one more bill to pay, one more piece of paper, it seems, no matter what you do.”

 

Now fully licensed, Andrews said the process was worth it, though he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get to the finish line. Much of that money was paid to consultants who help navigate regulations, while another chunk went to environmental improvements.

Times Standard

Dec 12, 2018

Local Cannabis Company Taking Over the Ol’ Kmart Building in Eureka

On Monday the Eureka Planning Commission approved permits for local business Papa & Barkley to operate a cannabis manufacturing facility in the 55,000-square-foot commercial building that used to house the “Big K.”

 

Executive Director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance Terra Carver urged the commission to approve this project, which she said would stimulate economic development, job growth and help improve the unsightly vacant building. “Let’s just call it what it is. The building is a current blight to our community,” she said to the planning commission. 

 

All these benefits were enough to get a unanimous vote of approval from the commission. This might not come as a surprise. “Job creation” and “economic development” are two things that city staff likes to hear.

Lost Coast Outpost

Dec 14, 2018

Oregon cannabis company says it wants to build ‘community’ in Humboldt County

In the era of legal cannabis, farms and dispensaries have flooded the county, which has struggled to keep up with a high volume of permit requests. But the arrival of an out-of-state company is nothing but a healthy development, said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

 

“Any business that can come and provide good living-wage jobs, we should support,” Carver said. “We shouldn’t turn away businesses that want to be a part of the community.”

Carver does encourage new businesses to get involved, she said, especially by supporting local nonprofits through company ties. And as the county government shores up protections of the “Humboldt brand,” it’s good for companies to be able to move local product elsewhere, she added.

“Inherently, our job is to build bridges and encourage economic growth,” Carver said. “If this company is looking to be partners to that, they’re warmly welcome.”

Times Standard

Nov 02, 2018

Humboldt Brothers team up with Francis Ford Coppola on cannabis products

“As someone who has grown up in Pepperwood, I am really proud of this project,” Johnny Deim, the founder and CEO of Humboldt Brothers told the Times-Standard on Friday morning. “Would I have thought we would be in the same place as somebody with such legendary prestige?”

“Wine and cannabis are two ancient and bounteous gifts of Mother Nature, linked by great care, terroir and temperateness. Expertise making one applies to the other,” said Coppola. “As with growing grapes, location matters, and The Grower’s Series reflects California agricultural expertise creating a true blend of art and science.”

Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance lauded the partnership.

“The Humboldt County Growers Alliance is thrilled with this collaboration,” she said Friday. “Humboldt Brothers, who are members of HCGA, convey quality and authenticity of their product through marketing that focuses on the essence of origin. They highlight Humboldt excellence and we couldn’t be more proud of their hard work.”

Times Standard

Sep 21, 2018

Humboldt County Growers Alliance hosts sold-out ‘Meet the Buyers’ event

“Here we can connect the production of Humboldt to the population base of Southern California in a professional setting.”

Natalynne DeLapp, operations director of the growers alliance, said more than 600 people attended the event. This is a significant uptick from a similar event HGCA held last year called ‘Speed Dating with Distro,’ which saw 350 attendees at the Adorni Center in Eureka. DeLapp said in the initial stages of legalization, a lot of people were wondering if coming into compliance was worth the risk.

She said they asked, “Is this as a business venture going to pay out? What we’re seeing now is that it’s starting to materialize.”

Nathan Whittington is on the board of directors of HGCA and said events like ‘Meet the Buyers’ paint a picture of what a regulated market looks like.

“The Humboldt County Growers Alliance has done a great job putting farmers and distributors together,” he said. “We’re going from regulation to implementation.”

Humboldt County agricultural commissioner Jeff Dolf said cannabis is a crucial local resource.

Times Standard

Nov 21, 2018

Casey O’Neill: On Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We asked local farmer, and Mendocino chair of the California Growers Association, Casey O'Neill what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving. He responded with some thoughts on the land and our role in it.

Our ecosystems have been damaged by industrial practices: logging, ranching, farming all have contributed to the problem. Communities have been damaged — traditional agrarianism has been subsumed, as smallholders have been pushed off the land. The landscape is sick because of direct negative impacts, but also because of a loss of stewardship.

Last week I also spoke with Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. During our conversation, she noted that because the cultivation permit program in Humboldt requires archeological surveys for new cultivation, Native peoples are being asked to survey parcels for tribal artifacts. 

The Mendocino Voice

Sep 14, 2018

Humboldt County Growers Alliance and Cannabis Distribution Association Announce Sold Out "Meet The Buyers" Event

Largest California Cannabis Supply Chain Event Links B2B Opportunities in California's New Cannabis Era: September 21, 2018, Fortuna River Lodge, 1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna, CA

In the new era of safe and legal cannabis in California, the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA), established to advance the interests of legal and responsible cannabis businesses in Humboldt County, announces a power event, MEET THE BUYERS, for cannabis producers and distributors to meet and forge new business relationships with each other to more efficiently provide high-quality, clean and reliable cannabis to consumers throughout the State of California.

PR Newswire

Nov 14, 2018

Local Appellation Exploration: Whitethorn Valley Farm

The Emerald Triangle — Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties — covers an area of more than 11,000 square miles. Between the three counties, there’s coastline, mountains, river systems, forests, marshlands, meadowlands and lots of rugged terrain.

It’s a diverse place, both in terms of culture and ecosystems, but The Emerald Triangle is often referred to in one fell swoop as California’s cannabis hot spot, without regard for or mention of the manifold conditions rural farmers work in. This fall, I visited five cannabis farms in distinct local regions to experience this range of conditions firsthand, to write about local cannabis farms in terms of terroir.

Historically the word terroir has been used to describe the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate, or the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment.

My questions were partly inspired by Chrystal Ortiz’s “Appellation Designation” article on page 60 of the Spring 2018 issue of the Humboldt Cannabis Magazine. I was also guided to some extent by conversations with International Cannabis Farmers Association Chair Kristin Nevedal, Humboldt County Growers Alliance Executive Director Terra Carver and Mendocino Appellations Project Executive Director Genine Coleman.

Redheaded Blackbelt

Nov 08, 2018

California Marijuana Notebook: L.A.’s licensing logjam & mounting lawsuits for MJ businesses

Applying for a full annual license, however, is far more complicated.

“Applying for a temp license is like filling out a sandwich form, but the annual license is like applying for college,” said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

Moreover, the city will be launching a third round of licensing.

It will involve “general” applicants – basically everyone else that doesn’t yet have a permit and doesn’t qualify for a social equity license.

There’s no word on when that may begin. But it won’t be easy to get such a permit.

Marijuana Business Daily

Sep 29, 2018

Beyond Organic: Bringing an AOC to Luxury Humboldt Cannabis

Terra Carver, the eloquent and peaceful Executive Director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance is waxing poetic about the fine wine-like Terroir of craft cannabis to a group of broadly smiling Canna-Tourists. They are smiling and utterly enraptured by the gleaming, sunlit day, the long-tables groaning with hand prepared, fanciful appetizers and locally crafted Humboldt artisan breads and oozing, succulent cheeses. They sit enveloped by the aromatics of some of the finest craft cannabis that is grown anywhere in the country. Truly the taste and the aromatics of the place surround and deepen each breath. An experience so overwhelming that most people have never seen anything like this before and they sit, awestruck in the face of such beauty. This is a Victory Garden of outdoor growing. An experience of the the 'highest' order, and it is what we have come to see at Dave and Lorelie Sandomeno's Sunrise Mountain Farm. Row after row of this lusciously scented craft cannabis fills the eyes and the nasal passages with vast bursts of spicy profusion. 

Forbes

Sep 24, 2018

Gathering Sheaves Information, Small Cannabis Farmers Meet the Buyers

On Friday, the friendly city of Fortuna, (a town not known for being friendly to marijuana) was flooded with cannabis growers and dispensary workers. The Humboldt County Growers Alliance sold out every spot in its “Meet the Buyers” event. Around 600 people attended, said Terra Carver, Executive Director of HCGA.

 

“This is economic development!” she said indicating the number of people swarming in through the doors of the River Lodge. Gas stations, grocery stores, print shops and more in Fortuna were all receiving a boost from the cannabis community, she explained.

“We represent the entire supply chain,” Carver noted. “We set up the event to help that supply chain…to make connections that span the entire state.” Next, she said, her organization plans to have workshops for growers that bring up experts in marketing and branding.

Inside the event, farmers mingled with buyers–everyone trying to network as the room roared with the noise of hundreds of people promoting their businesses and farms.

Redheaded Blackbelt

Oct 10, 2018

Voters to advise on cannabis cultivation

If you hop on Highway 101 headed north, you’ll eventually arrive in the twisting mountain roads and brambly redwood forests of Humboldt County. For decades, the rugged coastal region served as the country’s historic epicenter for black market cannabis production. In many circles, it has become synonymous with America’s pot culture. 

“Before that, we had a large amount of existing cannabis cultivation that was unregulated,” said Natalynne DeLapp, operations director for the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “There were between 6,000 and 15,000 sites within the county.” 

“This is Humboldt,” she added with a laugh.  

DeLapp said that the county’s land-use ordinances were designed primarily to bring illegal cultivation into compliance with existing laws. Her community draws upon more than 40 years of existing, albeit unregulated, growth, and a number of cities within Humboldt County are focused on new commercial cannabis production, from nurseries and greenhouses to retail. 

Half Moon Bay Reviews

Oct 08, 2018

Eureka Cannabis Company Revitalizes A Local Economy

Humboldt County, California is world renowned for producing some of the top tier cannabis strains. Socially conscious cannabis company Papa and Barkley, based in Eureka, is stimulating the local economy while utilizing locally grown strains in their product line.

P&B contend that most manufacturers on their scale are not sourcing across multiple small farms from one region. Terra Carver from the Humboldt County Growers Alliance explains, "The regions make a difference. Our quality and effectiveness start with quality inputs. With 600 lbs of trim needed each week, that requires a lot of outdoor farms, who predominately grow on small to mid-size scales in Humboldt. Without manufacturers to distribute, the farmers that took the financial risk to go legal would have a much harder time going to market and surviving this volatile transition."

Forbes

Sep 23, 2018

Cannabis Commerce Descends On Fortuna at HCGA’s ‘Meet the Buyers’ Event

In spite of Fortuna’s prohibitionist powers-that-be, the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HGCA) hosted a most happening B2B cannabis event last Friday, September 21st, at The Friendly City’s own River Lodge conference center.

HGCA successfully facilitated a massive mixer for Humboldt producers and companies like Thrive Society Distribution from Nevada City, Pacific Expeditors from Santa Rosa and Indus Distribution from Monterrey. Plus, they added in an educational component with break out workshops on marketing and branding, packaging and labeling and appellation development.

It’s compelling to see a local organization actively advocating for licensed Humboldt County producers, helping them find long-term product movement channels in the statewide marketplace, even if the product movement starts with distributors based right here at home.

Lost Coast Outpost

Sep 17, 2018

Cannabis Grower Groups Offer Help to 'Community in Crisis'

Southern Humboldt is only a “community in crisis,” if you chose to look at it that way. We think it is a community that is evolving.

On the cannabis side of things Humboldt County Growers AllianceCalifornia Growers Association and Emerald Grown are working to provide resources, support networks and tools to help our community thrive in a regulated marketplace, but we can only help if people show up. It is in the absence of cooperation and working together that crisis takes hold. We know this because this is what has been taught to us by…well you, the ‘mom and pops’.

You taught the younger generation that working together to build schools, community centers, hospice and fire departments is what in part made rural Humboldt, and the Emerald Triangle,  so unique and special.

Redheaded Blackbelt

Jul 06, 2018

Humboldt Growers See Opportunity as the State’s New Cannabis Rules Cause Bottlenecks in the Supply Chain

July 1 marked the dawn of a new phase in California’s nascent legal weed marketplace. That was the start date for a host of stringent new rules from the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control — rules dictating exactly how marijuana products must be tested, packaged and labeled before being sold to consumers.

All these new rules are creating a logjam that’s choking off much of the supply for distributors and retailers, and while that’s causing headaches across much of the industry, some local entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the situation, according to Humboldt County Growers Alliance Executive Director Terra Carver. 

 

“I’m getting calls every day from Los Angeles [companies] looking for compliant Humboldt product,” she said. And members of her industry group are stepping up to meet that demand. The HCGA now has an online platform allowing members to connect with distributors in real time, which gives growers direct access to the supply chain.

“That’s been really cool to see it all happening,” Carver said. “The regulated market hasn’t really started until this week, and it coincides perfectly with our first big light-deprivation harvest. We have fresh product coming down from the hills right now.”

Lost Coast Outpost

Oct 04, 2018

County Planners OK Dinsmore cannabis cultivation-to-consumption facility

The Humboldt County Planning Commission voted 4-2 to advance a proposed cannabis cultivation-to-consumption facility in the Dinsmore area Thursday night.

Members of local environmental groups and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife cited concerns about the project, although at least one Fish and Wildlife employee noted the agency supports the project in general.

 

“This is exactly the type of project that we envisioned when we started the ordinance process three years ago,” said Natalynne DeLapp of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “By rezoning these sites, by being able to remediate — that’s great.”

She also noted there are hundreds of already permitted cannabis businesses within a 25-mile radius that will need to have processing and distribution services, which otherwise might need to be sought outside of the county.

A local Dinsmore resident who did not identify himself by name said the facility could be critical to the area. “It’s been a long time since that mill’s been closed,” he said of the mill that shuttered in 1978. “There’s not a lot of jobs there. But that mill is sorely missed. There’s a lot of people who need work.”