The Emerald Triangle, has long been a center for marijuana growth and business. The area, which is made up of Northern California’s Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties, has now taken a new step towards commercial marijuana cultivation. The first 2 commercial farms have been approved in Humboldt County, marking a change in the way things will be run in the region from now on. The county’s commercial medical marijuana program has created land regulations and a licensing system for all new as well as existing marijuana growing, processing and manufacturing companies in the Emerald Triangle. The county’s program complies with California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which is estimated to come into full force in 2018.
Expanding the Industry
The county has already received 100 applications and they expect to receive many more in the coming months. Cannabis related businesses will have until the end of the year to submit their applications at which point the submission cut off will take effect until the county completes an environmental review. The ultimate intention will be to expand the industry to even more areas. Right now, the county is only allowing new cultivation to happen on prime agricultural land. This was done in order to avoid having to a complete environmental review first.
The Farms that Brought Commercial Growing to the Emerald Triangle
The 2 farms that have been approved are quite different in size. One is a quarter acre mixed light farm in Carlotta. The other is a 7-acre outdoor farm in Honeydew, owned by a local restaurant owner, Alex Moore, who co-owns Honeydew Farms LLC with his wife, Miranda. The couple already have a farm that is just under an acre large, where they grow medical marijuana. Now they’re looking to expand their land by 6 more acres. Their goal is to rent the land to other farmers as well as open a processing facility and dispensaries across California. “We decided that it was time to come out as supporters of this industry,” says Alex Moore, stating, “I’m a businessman and entrepreneur and this is just a business opportunity that we’re going to take advantage of. I have no moral issues with cannabis. I think the world is a better place because of it.”
The Opposition to Commercialization
Some cannabis advocates in the Emerald triangle have not been so happy with the county’s decision to allow such large scale farms to receive permits. Robert Sutherland, a spokesperson for Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, known as HUMMAP, said, “The county is catering to the greedheads. Instead, we need to focus on an industry that continues to honor its reputation for quality. People will buy based on their knowledge that it’s coming from a hands-on, very conscientious and responsible handler.”
With hundreds of applications expected to come in, the county has a big task on their hands, making sure that all their decisions are fair to both new and existing farms. On top of this, the state is voting this November on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in California. No doubt, if recreational pot is legalized, a new dimension will be added to the industry as well.