It’s estimated that 9% of those who use cannabis regularly will develop some level of physical dependence or addiction to it. For alcohol and harder drugs, the number is closer to 20%. As an avid fan of cannabis and a professional farmer myself, I wish I wasn’t in that camp, but I am.
I remember first coming to terms with my cannabis addiction at age 17. It was during my senior year of high school, approximately two years after using for the first time, that I began needing cannabis to get my day going. All my friends “waked and baked,” but I was the only one who became anxious and nauseous without it.
I pleaded with my folks to purchase me enough grass each week so I could stay focused on school and sports, but the concept of “functional” addiction was lost on them, despite that being their personal m.o. As a result, cannabis became quite disruptive until age 20 when I met a few grower buddies who would keep me in product at no cost. I subsequently entered college and earned straight A’s throughout two undergraduate degrees and an MBA while using copiously.
The current literature on cannabis addiction tends to downplay its severity. Cannabis withdrawal has been compared to quitting coffee and is normally associated with loss of appetite, moodiness, and trouble sleeping.
Having experienced cannabis withdrawal five times over the past two and a half decades, each experience was much more severe for me. Despite a weaning off period where I decreased my use for a couple weeks prior to abstinence, each episode was both trying and disruptive. When I stop using, I don’t sleep for the first two or three days. I have severe nausea and anxiety and lose approximately ten pounds due to loss of appetite and occasional vomiting. Sensory overwhelm is near constant and I simply need to be alone as conversation and work are just too much. After seven days or so I become more human, but am plagued by nightmares for several weeks following.
While I consider myself the exception, not the rule, I can strongly attest to the fact that cannabis addiction and withdrawal are real. Because I believe addiction is hereditary or genetic at some level, I encourage those with serious family histories of addiction to tread cautiously when considering whether or not to use cannabis. I share with my children that they got a crappy roll of the dice in relation to substance abuse proclivity, so advocate they abstain from recreational use. I’m a strong advocate for medicinal use regardless of patient age, but have shared the risks for my kids outweigh potential benefits as far as adult use is concerned.
For those struggling with cannabis addiction I recommend first changing your method of consumption to break the habitual side of things. I also advocate for a reduction in use prior to going cold turkey. Chamomile tea, ginger ale, easily digested foods, and in severe cases, sedatives can help you through the temporary, but very uncomfortable adjustment your body makes. Share your experience with family and friends and try to stay away from others who use for a few weeks while you build resolve and start feeling better.
The good news is that after going through withdrawal, I feel great on the other side. Energy levels improve, strength and fitness (despite a very active using lifestyle) improve, as does my physical appearance, especially a reduction in eye circles. I tend to become more optimistic, more outgoing and more social as well.
While cannabis tends to enhance my empathy and creativity while reducing headaches and chronic pain, withdrawing from what I largely consider to be a life saving and life improving substance is important for me every several years. It allows me to sort of reset or recenter myself and often allows for different perspective and improved levels of interpersonal relationship.
Conversely if and when I become too self centered, too hard working, too moody, or just not quite at ease with myself or the world, returning to cannabis can also have very similar positive impacts, at least for a time.
is on the rise globally. Interestingly,
baby boomers and women make up the fastest growing segments of the market. Whether seeking relief from pain, menopause,
stress, or a host of other ailments, individuals across the world are increasingly
seeking cannabis as a form of medicine or as a recreational tool. Because the industry is rapidly evolving, a
plethora of new products are now available to consumers. This piece will touch on different methods of
consuming cannabis so that you can make a more informed choice about what works
best for you.
information on this topic or to learn more about growing cannabis and the industry
at large, I strongly encourage you to check out Green Flower Media. I recently took the Cannabis Fundamentals
Course through their online Academy and was amazed at how much I learned about
this topic and others, even as a professional in the industry.
Smoking or inhaling cannabis is what
traditionally comes to mind when thinking about weed. Inhaled cannabis is enjoyed by many as their
preferred method of consumption.
Cannabis can taste really amazing and many folks simply enjoy firing up
a bowl or a joint. The process can
become somewhat ritualistic and for me personally, I always derived
satisfaction from handling the flower, smelling it, putting it in my pipe and
watching it burn. Many also prefer the
effects of inhaled cannabis as it hits you really quickly, often on the exhale
for strong flower and extracts. Effects
tend to last from 1-3 hours for experienced users, longer for newcomers.
though, isn’t the healthiest of activities.
Cannabis burns hot and can be irritating to the throat. Some research also shows that compounds found
in cannabis can become carcinogenic when heated. While no direct causal link has been found
between cannabis smoke and cancer diagnosis, the plant does contain certain
chemicals deemed harmful. Smoking cannabis
also produces a very strong odor that some find offensive and smoking is also a
terribly inefficient way to get cannabinoids into your system. 50% of the active compounds are lost directly
to flame, and another perhaps 20% are lost upon exhale.
Vaporizing is another form of inhaled cannabis
that more and more consumers are adopting.
When vaporizing at lower heat, plant resins and oils melt without burning
plant material and without allowing tars and burning embers to enter your
mouth. Because vape devices burn at
lower temperatures, fewer potential carcinogens are associated with this
method. This method is also essentially
odorless and can be a very discrete way of consuming. Vaping is also a far more efficient way to
consume cannabis that preserves over twice as many cannabinoids as smoking.
be taken though. Vaporizing, especially
cannabis oils, can be a very powerful delivery method not suitable for novice
users. Additionally, research is now
showing that not all vape devices are created equal. Some include metal alloys and plastics
inappropriate for heating, and some cartridges have shown to contain other
contaminants as well. Using high quality
devices with medical grade inputs is important.
Edibles refer to cannabis products that we
eat. Because smoking is associated with
certain social stigma and heath concerns, many find edibles to be an
appropriate alternative. Unlike inhaled
cannabis which goes directly to the central nervous system, edibles must be
digested by the stomach and metabolized in the liver before effects are
felt. As such, depending on your metabolism
and what’s in your stomach at the time of consumption, the onset of effects can
take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. A plethora of products are coming to market
and I personally find that those made with distillate (an odorless, tasteless substance)
are the most enjoyable as some foods have a strong cannabis taste…most
pronounced in chocolates I find. The effect
of edibles lasts quite a while, up to 6-8 hours for some, longer for the less
experienced or if a very high dose is taken.
Those with chronic pain and sleep issues find a nighttime edible to be
stronger than inhaled forms of cannabis and need to approached cautiously. I overshot one time on a brownie. Damn thing tasted like ganja sludge and I frankly
should have known better. I got sick,
was an odd sort of green/yellow for several hours, and the effect lasted all
day. When edibles are broken down by the
body the THC (active ingredient that gets you high) converts to a stronger form
which explains the increased potency. I
have also heard several stories of children and pets accidentally consuming
edibles, so for those with families, extreme precaution must be taken to keep
products safe, secure, and away from unwanted hands (or paws).
Tinctures are cannabis infused liquids made
from alcohol or oils most generally.
Tinctures are designed to be used under the tongue and are administered
with a dropper. With this sublingual
delivery, active compounds enter the bloodstream and the onset of effect is
much quicker. Duration tends to be
around several hours. Were you to swallow the tincture instead, it would essentially
become an edible with slower onset.
I enjoy the
effect of tinctures but have found homemade versions disgusting as I don’t like
the taste of alcohol or oil. For many though,
this discrete form of consumption is a go to method.
Topicals are another interesting method of
consuming cannabis. Creams and salves
are becoming increasingly available and with this method, cannabis will not
show up on drug screening tests if that’s a concern for you. Topicals are being used for skin
beautification, localized pain management and therapeutic massage namely. This method of consumption will not get you
high and has a relatively rapid onset of effects around 30 minutes. Duration tends to be around 2-4 hours. Like all things, specifics matter. Understanding how much active ingredient is
in each product is important and will indicate how much relative value a
Transdermal Patches, akin to a nicotine patch, are
growing in interest and availability. With
a patch, medicine is released slowly, providing ongoing relief for those who
need it. It’s important to note that
unlike salves or balms, a transdermal patch will show up on drug screens.
deliver of active compounds can be somewhat limited through a patch, they should
be placed on venous tissue where there is less fat and softer skin. Research is underway in this area to improve
delivery, so we can expect to see further developments in months and years to
Raw Cannabis is being labeled as a super food by some in the industry. Cannabis acids like CBDa and THCa are available in raw plant material that has not been heated, so folks usually juice cannabis or eat it as an ingredient in salads. Full of antioxidants, omega’s and amino acids, raw acids have been shown to improve immune function and serve as anti inflammatories. Raw consumption is non-psychoactive so it will not get you high. Cannabis trichomes can be a bit hard to digest, so some practitioners recommend eating only immature cannabis leaves, while others believe that eating both leaves and flowers is the way to go. Raw cannabis can also taste bitter, so complimenting with another tasty fruit or vegetable can make your experience more enjoyable.
Having spent a fair amount of time in conversation with both white and black market purchasers of the discerning kind, I’ve learned a bit about what constitutes top shelf flower. Many farmers believe (d) that if it gets you high, it’s good stuff. Not the case, at least not on the West Coast.
cannabis flower is large, chunky, naked, white, stinky, potent, and consistent
to the extent possible for your grow type and level of environmental control.
As I look
around at farmer friends and consulting clients in total desperation, I feel
sad. Good friends who made a great
living for decades are being upended quickly.
Many who thought they were good growers are learning (far too slowly and
begrudgingly) that such is not the case.
demands and competition intensify amid a proliferation of indoor and greenhouse
flower and amid increasingly availability of extracts and derived products,
much of our Humboldt County sungrown flower – even light dep – is failing to
impress. Outdoor is now largely treated
as “biomass” and the type of market flower largely produced in Humboldt across
all grow types currently is commanding very low prices…go out of business type
prices for smaller, poorer, and less efficient operators. While some white and black market trades are
still very firm for the highly skilled, average prices are falling fast, down
significantly over the last 14 months after tanking the year before. What was once considered killer stuff is now
relatively leafy, larfy, and twiggy in relation to expertly grown outdoor, much
less greenhouse or indoor flower where tremendous capital inflows now support
operations of both scale and reasonable quality.
definition of good flower seems lost on so many who are failing, it seemed
warranted to pen a few words on the subject.
For flower sales, the market tends to want them big and showcasey…one
bud or partial bud eights have more bag appeal and illicit a more wow type
experience to discerning consumers. If
your flowers are small (which most are), learn about plant manipulation, living
soil, organic feed regimens, and pest prevention.
should also be chunky, that is filled out and podded out versus the hollow and
hairy flower now dominating our local scene.
If your flowers are failing in this area, learn to thin and learn about
should be trimmed naked, that is leafless.
What should remain is a solid bud structure, with contour. This will only be accomplished through the
use of skilled, human trimmers that care about the plant and the beauty of
(regardless of the strain and its particular color profile) should appear white
because they are completely caked with outer trichomes. If not, check environmental exposure like
temperature, humidity and UV. Learn
about phosphorus loaded garbage weed and think natural in your approach.
should be stinky, really stinky. Your
buds should be so terped out they cause mild nausea, dizziness or sensory
overwhelm with prolonged exposure…say in an enclosed harvest or drying
area. Learn about artful stressing,
terpene production and retention, organic feed, and lower and slower drying and
order to compete with the effects of oil and extracts, should also be potent. Rampant
and rapidly growing demand for hash shows demand for potency. Many distributors won’t even purchase flower
testing below 20% THC, so the trend for high powered products seems
increasingly entrenched. Use known,
clean genetics of exceptional quality and grow them with extreme love and care
and this should not be a problem.
extent possible, flowers should also be consistent. While your early versus late run dep may well
boast different characteristics and color profiles, your flower should be identifiable
as your flower…uniquely awesome, delicious, and profitable, not because you say
so, but because the market does. For
those looking to have staying power or to build a brand, differentiation
matters and most farmers assume growing a unique strain is enough…it’s
not. Your finished product must be truly
exceptional to compete in the flower market, which many argue is going away
quickly. If you are struggling with consistency, seek to implement tighter
environmental controls to the extent possible for your grow type. Work with clone stock or sifted seed stock
and implement a sound, repeatable, written farming process to increase
predictability of outcome and improve overall business results.
watched a piece by Mr. Steve DeAngelo from Harborside while taking a course
through the Academy at Green Flower Media (which I highly recommend to those
wanting to learn more about cannabis).
He noted that sales of oil and extracts were less than ten percent of
their business just a few years ago.
The number is around 30% now and he joked that in another ten years,
only old geezers like him would be purchasing flower in a very small corner of
their dispensing facility. You getting
shelf cannabis, the only kind of retail flower the market really wants anymore,
isn’t all that complicated. It’s work.
That’s the problem for most. On
many “farms” it seems the plants are actually an afterthought. Lots of attention is paid to infrastructure
and farm operations, while plants, especially in the light dep space, receive
amazing little attention other than keeping them alive. Plants are often force fed and perhaps
blasted a few times for bugs or pathogens, but that’s about the extent of
things. Some work is done each day, but
the loving and meticulous details required to produce stellar cannabis go
grows are no different. Plants are so
big and unruly that broken down flower from 8-14 pound monsters often has
little bag appeal. Even leg sized colas
tend to end up spongy as few actually rock them up for fear of bud rot. It’s hard to maintenance spray really tall
plants so many have festering bug problems that bronze flowers and lead to
looser buds with funky odor. While
strict organic and “no spray” regimens can be effective, they are generally not
full proof and have been shown to be less successful over larger operations.
At the end
of the day we now produce a lot of crappy weed in Humboldt County and the
broader Emerald Triangle. It’s time we
step up. Rather than try to convince
people of the quality of our product thru hype and marketing, it’s time to let
the flower do the talking. When buyers
audibly gasp when seeing and smelling your product, you’re getting
somewhere. Even then you might not fetch
the exact ticket you desire, but at least your stuff will sell, fast. Average white market transactions are now
just over three pounds a shot according to cannabisbenchmarks. Distributors (like end consumers) are searching
for that magic bullet, and they now have plenty of product to shop. But
trust me when they find the right stuff, they scoop it up fast. Not to toot my own horn, but this past year’s
product of mine was being requested in fifty pound lots and I could have moved
boatloads more than produced.
Instead of growing pinner, poisonous, sterile shitweed, we must return to artisanal production more in line with market needs. We can and must do better in order to maintain relevance and capitalize on the nation’s fastest growing industry.
OG Kush is,
arguably the queen of the NorCal and US cannabis scenes…at least as far as the
illicit market is concerned. In terms of
market recognition, flower beauty and structure, aroma, taste, effect, price,
sales velocity and yield, no other strain is her equal.
habitual smoker since my teen years in 1992 I’m a huge fan of old school skunk,
trainwreck and white strains. That said,
nothing compares to a bowl of fresh SFV OG topped with its own dry sift. For me personally, not even the most
exquisite live rez dab rivals the flavor and effect of this combo when grown
exceptionally well. As such, SFV OG,
Lemon Larry, Ghost, or the traditional herself are my very favorite strains to
grow. In terms of producing showcase
retail flower and creating exceptional economic value, core OG Kush phenotypes are
also a complete joy to farm.
to grow like all cannabis plants (give them what they want when they want it),
OG’s are finicky, they attract significant predation, and they don’t boast of
the strongest epidural layer. Combined
with relatively poor farming skills, this combination has led to enormous
amounts of shit weed coming out of Humboldt County. Many growers, hobbyist, professional and commercial
alike, produce tremendously small, twiggy, sterile, and ugly OG that ultimately
gets dumped for bottom dollar.
OG’s are not the real deal in terms of nose or bag appeal and leave middlemen
and buyers exasperated as people run to hell and back trying to fill a couple
box order. I recently heard of an
illicit market showing where of the 1,000 units requested, 2 of the 700 pounds
located by my friend were actually purchased.
you are screwing up big time. Both white
and black markets want OG, and we have largely proven inadequacy in terms of
meeting market demand.
burgeoning supply of decent OG’s coming out of the central valley and elsewhere,
and with ever more white market distribution platforms coming on line, not as
many people need to trek to our neck of the woods for product. To the extent that finding good OG in
Humboldt continues to be nearly impossible (yes I know there’s tens of
thousands of pounds of last year’s product floating around), folks will simply go
elsewhere to purchase.
with predictable quality at acceptable volume and price is not a task for the faint
at heart. Friends of mine scramble to hell and back,
rounding up dozens of samples – at multiple price points – to be rejected far,
far more than not.
large, chunky, stinky, naked, lime colored OG’s that appear white given their
magnificent outer trichome layer. OG should
get you high every hit on the exhale, and it should taste like candy and go
down smooth as it annihilates you. While
high levels of limonene (like in the SFV) can be harsh for some users, well
done organic OG will require little nitrogen masking and should be both smooth
and tasty…even just days into drying.
buyers are failing to find good OG in Humboldt and can find shitloads of decent
product elsewhere, our weed market is in big, big trouble. Many I know have even quit trying to farm OG
and are opting for something less desirable they feel is easier to work with. Ouch!
In the midst
of what promises to be a painful economic collapse for Humboldt and the larger
Emerald Triangle, few growers I know are putting the puzzle together. They feel picked on, scared, and angry, and
many are whining like little kids while harkening back to the glory days in
conversation. Instead of getting real with themselves and honing their skills,
many have become bitter and have shown their true lack of professionalism,
determination, and grit. Some blame
politics and corporations, while none I know, at least publicly, blame their
own incompetence or inability to dance successfully with the most desirable
strain in the marketplace.
My advice to
growers in Humboldt is to learn how to grow OG Kush and other “sensitive
cultivars” at a very high level. Don’t
grow some bullshit seed stock or bogus pheno with the wrong nose and wrong bag
appeal. Grow one of the core phenotypes
mentioned previously or something else absolutely, unequivocally, and universally
accepted by buyers, farmers, and consumers as the real deal.
the hell out. G’s like it easy, like a
nice day on the ocean. Find the steep
hill video of a phosphorus loaded, red dogged piece of shit of a nug
representative of much market OG, versus the more natural and spectacularly
beautiful chunk to its side. Also stop
being lazy and start working with your damn plants. If you want to sell outdoor flower, it better
not look like it. And no, your dep
probably doesn’t look anything like indoor either. Slam the energy down on em thru manipulation,
drive it back up in transition with thinning, and keep the bugs and pathogens
away. You will have predictably huge,
chunky, heavy, beautiful OG buds more representative of the weed that made
Humboldt famous before tens of thousands of us were playing the game.
could truly bring the magic back in terms of actually producing marketable
flower, things wouldn’t tank quite as fast.
The tremendously painful economic realignment we are just now facing
would be lessened to some extent and our reputation would start clawing its way
out of the gutter.
were largely secluded and because many us of grew the best stuff out of our
friend groups, we became overconfident and arrogant. We thought we actually grew good weed, which
was a faulty premise for most operating in the space.
The reason Oregon
craft farmers are now failing en masse is because they aren’t and never were
craft producers. Their weed is shit, or
marginal at best, which is not much of a selling proposition these days. Same story here in Humboldt and elsewhere in
the triangle… too many who are all bark and no bite.
twiggy, moderately frosty outdoor with poor structure, mixed phenotypes and questionable
nose is no longer in vogue. Outdoor
makes up approximately 20% of the white market by transaction and prices are
now averaging around $650 a pound nationwide.
What the less skilled hate to accept though is that the current range
for outdoor flower is from $300-$1700 according to data from
cannabisbenchmarks. Somewhere the Jedi
knights of cannabis are crushing it, as are some white market indoor operators
garnering $2,500 a unit versus an average a grand cheaper. The lesson is clear – the market has
segmented and will continue to do so.
Market weed is essentially worthless and will drive the small operators
producing it out of business in short order…it already is. For fantastic producers, opportunity is
abound, at least for now. Many will be
coming for that prize though, so be prepared and keep grinding.
Execute daily, stay true to your process and above all, keep rocking that stellar OG Kush.
obsolete is no fun…in fact it sucks. It tends to make you grumpy, and fearful,
and less fun to be around.
capitalistic America though, economic obsolescence is constant. As technology, demographics, consumer preference,
political leanings, regulations, and innovation continually alter the
competitive landscape, some within the economy win while others lose. In advanced economies like ours, it seems
that some win big, while most don’t.
As is often
the case nowadays, it is often the smaller, poorer, and less well run
operations that go away. Industry’s
emerge, grow and consolidate, often with tremendous rapidity in an
interconnected, technological, and highly capitalized world. While enormous wealth can be made thru the
process, it tends to be that wealth ultimately concentrates in the hands of a
few. As a fishing and pot smoking buddy
of mine oft notes “if you gave everyone in the world a million bucks, most
would be broke in time.”
Such is the
case with cannabis.
millionaires, of which our and neighboring counties in the triangle rely
heavily upon, are getting squeezed – quick.
The smartest among them have seeded multiple enterprises to diversify
cash flow, and many have been raising liquidity rather than spending it. They have become quieter, more resourceful
and more margin focused, yet many are still nervous despite high levels of
continued economic and business success.
Others are aggressively pursuing white market cannabis activity where
there continues to be pockets of pricing strength for the highly adept and
is that not enough of us are making the cut.
Shit weed, the type mostly produced in Humboldt nowadays, is no longer
desirable. Many who thought they knew
how to grow are only decent at best.
What many consider to be big, oily, chunky and stoney flowers are
actually larfy, leafy, twiggy and sterile in relation to high grade greenhouse
or indoor flower. As someone who has
farmed using all three methods, I’ll say it’s tremendously rare to see outdoor
or light dep flower that satisfies changing consumer demands. Flower size and structure, terpene content,
outer trichome production and preservation, consistency, visual appeal,
potency, color, and flavor are all attributes valued by more discerning users
and commercial buyers. Most stuff around
falls far short in several or all of these areas. The newest trend, putting decent weed in a
pretty package and telling people how special it is won’t work either, at least
not for long.
We can’t kid
ourselves any longer. Most growers,
including the majority of those now holding temporary cultivation permits, were
successful, not because of their skill, but because they were operating in a
bull market. Until very recently brown,
crappy mountain weed and tiny, mildew infested indoor was selling for thousands
a unit…didn’t have to be a real rocket scientist to get a roll going.
farmers are now fading fast. Many are
going broke, selling assets or closing shop and selling farms to outsiders with
more prowess, deeper pockets and firmer distribution. High flyers just two years ago, folks
dropping 10g’s at the casino in a night are now driving around with smug looks
on their faces. Not so many wide eyed
grins or as much bravado as before.
Crazy thing is none (or few) of them saw this coming. Overconfidence and high levels of cash flow
can blind, as many are now learning.
of people earning great wages doing scissor work, moving boxes on the side, or
picking up labor days at $250 a shot contributed untold millions to the local
economy. What economics shows is that
when regular folks like you and I get a little extra dough, we tend to spend it
– there’s a consumption effect and a real boost to economic activity. This is what’s really decimating the broader
Humboldt economy. Less construction,
less durable goods orders, less of a lot of stuff. Even liquor stores are complaining about lost
revenue for goodness sake.
As a private
financial consultant and a grower myself, all this pains me at some level. While the arrogance, pollution and violence associated
with cannabis production and sales were always repulsive, the huge influx of
capital attributed to growers and the teams of people they supported can’t be
understated and will be sorely missed.
While we all
know people who are still socking it away, most no longer are. As the local economy is halved over the
coming years, life as we have come to know it will change. Our homes and land will lose significant
value, most non-essential businesses will shut down, and many individuals will
up and leave the county altogether. I
expect crime and violence to increase further amid mounting desperation, and
this time, I’m hard pressed to see the local economy returning to its former glory.
crazy as this will sound to those who lost everything, had it relatively easy
during the 2007-2009 financial collapse.
Times were tough locally, but we got out of the recession very
quickly. Let us not forget CNBC, Pot
Town USA, the Green Rush, and billions of dollars that flooded our economy over
the ensuing years. People, not just
growers, made huge money and the county was spared of true economic collapse
to happen this time around. Flower is
now selling near or below production costs for many and prices are likely to
continue their downward trajectory until a national marketplace comes to
fruition. Margins for oil, extracts and
derived products, and for processing and distribution will come in dizzyingly
fast amid competition and diminishing economic rents. What’s left…not a lot. A few astute business folks will remain,
corporate producers will spend less locally after the initial infrastructure
build outs currently underway, and the county will continue to hope that the
hospitals, universities, bike trails and the arts can support us all.
with humans is that we tend to believe that current economic conditions
(whatever they may be) will persist, so the economy grows or shrinks
frantically as realities on the ground shift.
We’ve never been a real middle of the road economic engine…boom and bust
is more the capitalistic paradigm. And sadly with economic busts, things usually
overshoot to the downside, that is, they get even worse than real conditions on
the ground warrant. As emotional,
reactionary beings, we largely expand or retract too far, and often at the
wrong time. Investment and risk taking
are crimped when the music stops and things come to a grinding halt until
confidence is restored. I’m fearful that
confidence will not make its way back to the curtain after the coming
it’s bust for Humboldt and I, like others who work in the financial industry,
am deeply concerned for my lifelong home.
A sleepy little ghost town sounds quaint to some, but getting there from
here, the “readjustment” or “realignment” now being discussed, will be no fun.
our current predicament as “Humboldt’s last ride,” our final hoorah if you
will. While lots of folks just got paid
as warehouse rents and prime ag land prices skyrocketed, those benefits were
largely enjoyed by those with deep pockets already. Favorable weather and bountiful harvests the
last two years helped many more, while corporate investment is padding the
pockets of others as we speak. That
said, Humboldt is in the very last innings of expansion and ominous times loom
are down, way down and we are still in the very early innings of what promises
to come. Even really exciting things such as the proposed fish farm on the bay
will only bring an estimated 80 jobs.
Near half a billion to be invested by a foreign entity, but profits will
head overseas. When considering only a
half mil upfront and annual chump change for the harbor district after spending
a bunch more cleaning up the proposed site, this will not be the panacea some
are speaking of.
If you have
money, protect it. In a few years
enourmous value will emerge for those looking to purchase land, homes and
existing cannabusinesses. Doing so now
will likely lead to very large near term losses as our friends to the north can
attest. I suspect Warren Buffet came to
the county partly in a bid to capitalize on the recent real estate spike, but
as a contrarian by nature, I expect his real motive was to be on the ground
preparing for the collapse, so that he may pick up the very best scraps that
I used to
wonder how it happened every year.
Cannabis buyers would pop into town around harvest time and shop units
at a specified price, say 12-14 for outs.
How come 12-14 and how come everyone was asking for more or less the
same? Was it collusion, a mere
coincidence, or something else?
Thanks to my
curiosity and 20 seconds on Google I stumbled across cannabisbenchmarks.com, a
subscription service aggregating sales data from white or regulated markets
across the nation. Data there is
presented by state and by grow type – outdoor, greenhouse and indoor. Quite interestingly market bids approximate
the data presented. White market numbers
presented are very close to what we hear and black market numbers are around a
third less as they don’t account for taxes or compliance costs. As I learned in finance, markets are
efficient in that they do a good job of sorting out information to arrive at “fair”
market prices. The cannabis market is
proving no different, much to the dismay of growers.
flower comprises most of the market and commands the best price, followed by
greenhouse flower, then outdoor.
Interestingly outdoor, or sungrown cannabis, accounts for approximately 20%
of sales volume in white markets.
Despite marketing efforts desperately trying to convince market
participants about the value of sungrown flower, outdoor prices are plummeting
as consumers are becoming more discriminating.
Consistency, visual appeal, flower structure, size, smell and color now
dominate the buying landscape. Most
outdoor simply isn’t that good and doesn’t have as much bag appeal as other
We might not
like it, but what many west coast farmers produce simply isn’t that in vogue as
extracts, dep and indoor are becoming ever more available. Consumer demands are changing, fast, and it
doesn’t appear that many farmers seem willing or able to adapt.
prices have been in a freefall since 2017, with outdoor flower now averaging
around $650 a pound in the US spot index, which aggregates data from all
regulated states. Interestingly, because
we produce so much weed here in Cali, our prices tend to reflect average US
prices to a large degree.
reports are rather grim. Outdoor prices
have dropped significantly and forward markets show further price deterioration
moving into this year’s harvest season.
The west coast seasonal price bump normally experienced is becoming more
muted and there is very real concern among less skilled producers that their
goose is nearly cooked.
gluts in neighboring states, favorable growing conditions the last few years,
and commercial entrants into the market, this new ballgame for lower cannabis
prices is predicted to continue. Markets
used to clear earlier, with sales picking back up in February after a brief
lull in the action. Last year sales didn’t
really get cracking until April, this year perhaps the same or worse.
are buying wholesale flower on the cheap, in small batches, and on the front…some
citing 4 weeks or more for payment. This
is a recipe for disaster for small, less skilled operators. Producing units at $400 or more and selling
them for a taxable amount slightly higher is a recipe for bankruptcy as many
are now learning. Without the ability to
break desirable product into smaller sales units as good producers are, many
here in Humboldt and surrounding regions are becoming panic stricken and are closing
farmers are actually really bad growers and because many distributors have very
shallow markets, the disastrous consequences of this combination are becoming
ever apparent to market participants and the local economy.
people (who thought they were good at their job) now have little money and
essentially worthless product they can’t distribute to either market with
acceptable volume or velocity. The few
businesspeople farmers I know with true Jedi Knight like skills are still
slaying it and will for some time. The
unsung heroes, growers so good they will never risk disruption by going public
will still stimulate local economies, but even their robust contributions will
pale in comparison to the black hole created by falling cannabis prices and the
evisceration of many mom and pop operators and ancillary service providers.
product abroad or to other states are also learning about discriminating
consumers and flooded markets. One
middle man recently told me in desperation that “there’s fucking weed in the Midwest
for god sake!” I hate to say this, but
once black market dealers are complaining (not bullshitting) about business,
time’s are certainly tough indeed.
retail bulk week now sells at just a few bucks a gram and dispensaries and
farmers are shuttering businesses at alarming rates. Craft farmers (not really but that’s what
they call themselves) are being decimated and astute operators are swooping in
and purchasing assets at pennies on the dollar.
It is they who will garner most future profitability if and when the
pendulum swings and the supply paradigm shifts back in their favor.
Like to the
north, bulk weed will be dirt cheap within another year or two…little debate
needed. Truly specialized product will
garner value, but most will never produce anything good enough to meet the
cut. Other profit centers like oil and
extracts and processing and distribution will also erode given increased
competition and slackening rents. From
there, only the best will survive.
Across the West Coast cannabis growing regions, a major shift
is underway. Cannabis production, and
the economic benefits traditionally associated with such, is going from the
hands of many to the hands of few. Small
mom and pop operators are struggling to compete with well capitalized
corporations and more skilled producers, and this trend will only intensify.
While the Craft industry (small batch, high end production)
offers lasting hope for small family farms, the challenge is that many folks
operating in the space don’t possess the knowledge, husbandry, resources, or
even basic farming skills required to compete successfully in high quality
flower markets. In other words, it’s not
just that small operations lack the capital, business prowess or proximity to
major metropolitan markets as many argue.
It’s that many simply aren’t producing a product desirable enough for
increasingly discerning and judicious consumers.
In the farming space, small has become synonymous with craft and
nothing could be further from the truth.
Most small operators in Humboldt County I’ve worked with are really bad
at pot farming. Tiny buds, poor trichome
production, terpene sloughing, powdery mildew, mold, bugs, and terrible drying
and curing processes plague the many dozens of farmers I’ve met over the past
five years. And to be very clear, every
one of these operators told me they grow killer stuff and the vast majority are
holders of temporary cultivation permits.
The remote locations, the somewhat inward or isolated
lifestyles of many sungrown farmers and the lack of exposure they’ve had to
true top shelf flower has led to outsized and unwarranted confidence around
production and skill set.
Sadly, I’ve lost friends (and perhaps gained a few
adversaries) as I’ve shed light on the subject for consulting clients. Cannabis farming has been a very ego driven
business and we know that males derive personal satisfaction and a sense of
self worth and accomplishment from their work, so I completely understand the
angst. Many find it hard to accept that
they have learned little about producing high end product over the past decades
and struggle with how ill equipped they are to compete in the current
marketplace. Coming to understand that their
livelihood was based, not on skill, but on the fact that there was relatively
little weed around is a tough pill to swallow.
Many are exiting the industry while others are barely holding on.
In defense of the less skilled, we must not forget that until
two or three years ago old, brown shit weed still fetched a fair ticket in the
illicit marketplace…now those units are being purchased by folks from Arizona and
elsewhere at $100-150 a pound. Given
that long-time operators are suddenly competing directly for shelf space with
corporate money and those who actually exhibit admirable cannabis farming
skills, overconfidence has been largely replaced with fear, anxiety and
Economically speaking, small communities across the west
coast are beginning to feel the pinch as excess rents (profits) go away. Fewer lifted trucks and less spending on
fancy attire, boats, firearms, ATV’s, vacations and dining out are hitting
small businesses hard. With less
disposable income and with the corporatization of cannabis markets, money is
changing hands quickly. Corporate
producers spend less on local consumption and this trend has only just
begun. Over the coming year it’s
estimated that 90% of California cannabis companies will fail and the pain felt
by industry participants, local merchants, and ancillary service providers will
It’s time small farmers quit whining and start executing at a
higher level. The reason many permit
holders are struggling with distribution isn’t because the market sucks, it’s
because they do. The quicker growers can
step up, hone their craft and begin producing something of value, the more they
will realize that opportunity is ripe.
It’s the first inning of the regulated cannabis marketplace and to
assume things are over is ridiculous. Skilled
farmers are inking deals with celebrities, building brands of their own, and
capitalizing on the rapidly growing industry and the fervor for high quality
Humboldt product. The cannabis industry
is now our nation’s fastest growing and there’s a place in it for skilled participants
across the operating spectrum. The
ability to meet consumer needs, adapt to their changing preferences, and stand
out among increased competition will separate the winners from the losers.
Unfortunately out west, many long term producers are losing and will be wiped out in short order. Pockets of economic strength will remain and wealth creation will be significant for some, but not many. Local economies will struggle and must be nimble and adaptive in order to succeed in this new paradigm. Will you do the same?
My name is Jesse Duncan. I’m a lifelong Humboldt County resident, a
private financial consultant operating in the cannabis space, and a commercial
farmer. I recently viewed the Netflix
“docudrama” Murder Mountain in its entirety and found it both entertaining and
The local cannabis community is
making quite a stink over the supposed merits of the program, while others
applaud bringing the darker and largely repulsive side of our industry to
further light. Opponents dismiss the
program as sensationalist and argue that one small corner of the growing
community is not representative of the whole.
Entirely true, but Rancho is one of many such places that exist
throughout the county. Having worked
atop Waterman Ridge, Bear Creek Road and yes, in between Blocksburg and
Alderpoint over the past few years, what was depicted about Murder Mountain was
Arguably stretches of highway 36 are
far more lawless and dangerous. In 2017
alone I heard someone get killed one night around 10pm while foliar spraying
the crop (passed the coroner heading down the hill around midnight). There was the buck mountain shooting, the car
chase through the construction zone, regular assaults and armed robberies, and
numerous scorched vehicles that were eventually shoved cliffside after being
completely destroyed. Our joke (although
not real laughable) was that any car left roadside near Dinsmore was on blocks
overnight, completely trashed the next day, and torched by the third. This I saw at least 6-7 times that summer
alone and most were far from junk vehicles.
There were storefront fist fights, rampant amphetamine use, roadside
drug deals and much more.
Ridge (like southern Humboldt) was home to poppy farms, serious levels of wildlife
poaching, roadside garbage like farm slash, and deliberate poisoning of
unwanted visitors like bears. While near
Blocksburg I learned that the preferred method for disposing old tarps and
plastics was to burn them. I have been
told, multiple times, that they only burn black for a minute or two and have
heard many males brag about Murder Mountain being in their backyard so they
experiences (and dozens more) with the fact that the vast majority of Humboldt
farms didn’t give two shits about entering the permitting process, it seems
reasonable to assume that our local industry is, quite factually, dominated by
relatively bad actors…and no they aren’t all from out of state!
As I have
heard countless times when consulting with holders of temporary cultivation
permits, many of these were sought to gain another year or two of coverage before
closing shop and moving back to illicit, indoor grows, which are currently
flourishing once again. When the dust
settles, very few of the temporary permits will ever come to full fruition. The environmental impact of most mountain
grows is significant and when considering that road repair alone for many has a
six figure price tag, it just simply isn’t going to happen for most farms. Couple this with the lack of business and cannabis
growing prowess that many demonstrate, I’d be surprised to see more than 500 lasting
cultivation permits ultimately granted out of the couple thousand now on the
So why the
fuss about Murder Mountain when most local residents know how “lawless”
Humboldt County pot farming really is? The
answer is simple. More ethical operators
like Humboldt High Five and others are engaged, like the industry as a whole,
in a rebranding effort where cannabis farming is positioned as legitimate, life
giving, and earth friendly. Why do you
think Hezekiah Allen went to such great lengths several years ago to debunk the
absolutely factual claim that female trimmers are being preyed upon
sexually? It is because that ugly and
indisputable truth didn’t jive well with the newly forming narrative designed
to professionalize and legitimize an industry with lots of skeletons in the
closet. If I only had a dollar for every
farmer who laments that trimmigrants are now often accompanied by a male
It seems a
more appropriate industry response to Murder Mountain is to own that fact that
many participants in both the white and black market farming spaces are less
than desirable in terms of their moral compass, ethics, and relationship to
consumers and the environment. In so
doing, that will only strengthen the hand and value proposition of those acting
in a more socially responsible fashion.
The industry should use this information to create such fervor for
snuffing out the black market and illegitimate white market operators that the
National Guard troops recently offered should be met with red carpets and fine
wine. While not all market participants
behave repulsively, attempting to smooth over the largely grotesque nature of
our local and largely illicit industry is silly and will not serve the goals of
professionalization and legitimization well at all.
that many are looking at Murder Mountain as a sensationalized, isolated anomaly
is ludicrous and most of us in the cannabis industry know this. Those portrayed in the Netflix Documentary
are not simply “tweekers” as many are quick to point out. Many farms I’ve seen are in a similar state
of disrepair, resembling garbage dumps more than agricultural facilities. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous and
again, will not serve the conversation well.
We must embrace the facts, take a courageous stand against the very real
lawlessness that plagues many of the county’s growing regions, and must
passionately and ardently tell the stories of other operators doing things
We must not
forget that the regulatory push for cannabis regulation here in Humboldt was
largely predicated on the fact that we needed to drive bad actors out of the
hills and return some sense of normalcy and environmental protection to a
region that seems out of control to many a casual observer. Now it seems we are saying that’s not the
case…seems fairly insane to me. And to
stand for the equally absurd copout in saying that’s not really Humboldt or not
the Humboldt we know is also silly.
Actions speak louder than words. More operators should use interviews, farm tours and Instagram posts to show the world they mean business and are serious about environmental protection, consumer protection, and producing world-class products. To be defensive about the dominant behaviors plaguing our industry or to be outright disingenuous in pretending they don’t exist will only fan the flames of discontent and make our local industry look more pathetic than it already does.
Like many others I have a storied history with the cannabis plant. I retired after a decade of financial
advising in 2014 to cannabis caregive for my dying mother and have been growing
full time since then. Both personally
and professionally I hid my use for years.
Until far too recently I was a full grown man behaving like a damn
child, sneaking around and lying about who I was. Almost seems laughable…except it’s not
fucking funny. It’s sad and it’s
criminal and it put me in a crappy emotional space for years.
For a decade I sat behind a desk longing to do more. I wanted to farm professionally and with
respect to capital markets and personal finance, I wanted to engage people more
like myself. I wanted to use freely and
perhaps most importantly, I wanted to shed the negative internal dialogue that
held me back and prevented me from operating at my highest potential. I know that cannabis makes me healthier, but
it also makes me kinder, more understanding, more appreciative, more connected
to God and nature, and far more loving and empathetic. To be denied that, by statute, enforcement
action, or because of misinterpreted negative externalities or someone’s own
imposed morality is both cruel and intolerable.
Things really began to change for me at Tech conference in Oakland. I knew nothing of the event until a day or
two prior and was right in the middle of harvest season when I got the invite. I was feeling busy so declined, but was
mystically nudged in the right direction and changed my mind later the same
day. The experience was amazing. At conference I learned about the cannabis
Movement for the first time. I was lucky
enough to be in a room where Wayne spoke passionately and was introduced as the
very first 215 patient in Cali. I was
amazed by the overall love for cannabis and by the caliber of professionals who
were leaving other industries to play with us.
My Central American sweetheart and bride of nearly twenty years calls me
a loser for growing and using cannabis and believes I am taking my family to
hell as a result. Some of you may know
how that feels and it hurts, a lot. Nonetheless
I will march on and the reason is simple…In 2014 my lack of knowledge and
understanding contributed to the unpleasant and tremendously sad death of my
mother. Had I known then that high
ingestible loads of THC and CBD oil could have saved her, I would have
responded very differently. Instead of
using cannabis to replace opiates, ease her pain and combat the ravages of
chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I would have used cannabis to reverse
her cancer and allow her light to continue shining. She was a gift to this world and loved kids
more than anything else. To see her life
cut so short and in such a terrifyingly painful and sad way was more than I
could handle. I sunk into a deep two
year depression and were it not for the grow-room, the life giving beauty of my
cannabis clones and flowers, and my desire to improve lives, there were many
days I would have simply stayed in bed.
All of this breaks my heart to this day and angers me deeply. Mom’s death, while certainly not my fault, is
now my cross to bear at some level.
Because of this experience though, I believe ever more in the free flow
of credible information and in my role in the Movement. I want to actively participate in saving
lives and took a meaningful step toward this end in both 2017 and 2018 where
10% of my personal crop was donated to a woman fighting cancer. This season I will do the same once a needy
recipient has been identified.
Near mom’s death I began farming full time and was kicked out of my own
home for four months, forced to live alone and away from my five kids at the
time. I was eventually allowed to return
home, but because a lack of regulation and other factors has led to a somewhat
dangerous growing environment in Humboldt County, my small 16 light medicinal
operation came under attack and was ravaged by criminals. The high THC flowers stolen were destined to
improve and save lives, not make me excess profits. Heartbroken and afraid as I came under
repeated attack, I closed shop and transitioned from organic indoor growing to
organic sun-grown farming on a small commercial scale, operating in the 10,000
to 20,000 sq ft space.
While I no longer financial advise corporately, I have served as a
private financial consultant since retirement.
While my money-centric consulting platform serves both cannabis
professionals and those from other industries, my newest offering thru Nor Cal
Financial and Cannabis Consulting is pro bono and is designed to help small and
mid size farmers achieve financial success in an increasingly competitive
In the spirit of full transparency, I won’t pretend that my relationship
with cannabis has always been a bouquet of roses. Like my mother and many family members before
me, I am another talented and passionate individual plagued by the affliction
of addiction. I am one of the 9% of
users who are physically addicted to cannabis and tolerance break for me means
smoking flower only instead of dry sift or oil topped flowers. If I were to not use for a few days, as I did
last week, I can’t sleep, I can hardly eat, and stimulus is overwhelming. I’m not proud of this part of myself, but
have learned over many years and after much trial and error that cannabis is
the one substance I can use productively.
Abstinence doesn’t work for me as I really get enormous physical,
spiritual, emotional, and interpersonal benefit from using cannabis, but excess
use is also damaging. Fully aware that I
can become someone who’s very existence revolves around using cannabis, I
approach my use with an added level of respect and caution.
I have also felt the sting of the law.
In 2002 as I was nearing college graduation, I was caught growing four
marijuana plants at my mother’s home.
The Sheriff’s office confiscated my product, ransacked her house inside
and out and came for me six months later.
Several squad cars and multiple officers showed up unannounced and
cuffed me in my undies outside my apartment at 6:30 am. Of the course the wife and two kids were home
and the landlady who lived next door was as well. I spent the day in jail and was subsequently
forced to quit smoking, go to a detox facility for heroine, meth, opiate and
alcohol addicts and enter a 6 month prop 36 drug deferral treatment
program. All of this made quite a stink
when financial advising and I had to threaten litigation to keep my job with a
Wall Street Investment Bank when my fingerprints trigged a booking report.
In my wife’s defense, cannabis hasn’t always been the healthiest of things for me. While I used to righteously debate and contradict the merits of her views, I have learned better over time. As I’ve grown up and matured emotionally, I’ve come to better understand and appreciate the criticisms associated with cannabis…things like laziness, negative health consequences, greed, addiction, violence, illicit activity, and environmental degradation. For those reasons I share Green Flower Media’s desire to help professionalize and de-stigmatize our industry. I want everyone to have safe access to high quality cannabis products around the world and have decided to make this my life’s work. As more and more top tier professionals confess to using cannabis and dedicate themselves professionally to the Movement, the more consumers will be empowered, vindicated, and celebrated.
At 40 Years old, I’ve been using
habitually for more than two decades now.
I’m one of the approximately 9% of cannabis users physically addicted to
the substance and have seen its darker side as a largely unregulated
intoxicant. My life was put at risk given my
participation in the industry, I’ve seen firsthand the criminality and wonton
environmental destruction occurring in our hills, and my Central American Wife
of nearly 20 years believes that cannabis is of the devil. I view cannabis as God given and life giving
and have made farming, helping farmers financially, creating cannabis
awareness, and ensuring safe access for all people worldwide my professional
I am an ardent supporter of
medicinal cannabis for the seriously ill, be they adult, child, or infant. While I would prefer that medicinal efforts
for kids focus mainly on the non-psychoactive side of the equation, I strongly
believe in emerging science showing the ability for high viral loads of THC and
CBD oil to reverse certain types of cancer, so would also advocate for high THC
loads for kids in life threatening and serious health situations. As a father of 6 I empathize with parents
facing the terrifyingly painful reality of a sick baby or child. The thought that a child would be denied life
saving and life giving medicine because of outdated statute, policy driven
restrictions on cannabis R&D, someone’s own imposed morality, or
misinterpreted social and economic externalities is both cruel and unacceptable.
I started using because it was fun
– weed made me laugh and feel good and that was enough. Humboldt Grown Cannabis is very powerful
though and was disruptive for me in my early years. For these reasons I strongly support
legislation that restricts the use of recreational cannabis till the age of 19,
a time when most individuals have completed secondary education and reached
In time and perhaps due to
increased tolerance, improved access to medicine, or acquiring more personal
maturity, my using became centered around emotional and spiritual
connectedness, enhanced sensory experiences like sex, wellness issues like
stress relief and harm reduction, and around health. After being diagnosed with acute gastritis, dislocating
both hips, and suffering from persistent tears to the Posterior Iliac and regular
SI joint slip, cannabis also became a sleep aid and my preferred pain
management tool. Despite living with
moderate to immense physical discomfort all the time, I remain alcohol and opiate
free to this day and thank cannabis for that.
Because bottles kill people like me, the conscious choice is clearly
While I actively engage the
children in conversations around my use, we have made it clear as parents that
our kids will not indulge while under our roofs unless, God forbid, they fall
seriously ill or are seriously injured.
Because we are a family that suffers from addiction and believe that
addiction is genetic at some level, we have shared that recreational use of any
intoxicant is dangerous for our kids.
This is not a conversation my parents had with me and I didn’t acquire a
vocabulary for addiction until after a deferral program in my early 20’s. I’ve told the kids it’s a crappy roll of the
dice they got, I know, but that it’s our job to protect them and give them the
straight skinny. The oldest, now 16 and
18, have curiosity around drinking and using, but abstain to this day and are
better for it. Because cannabis alters
the developing mind and the sexual function of males specifically, exploring in
one’s later years seems healthful and prudent.
I retired from corporate financial
advising in 2014 to caregive for my dying mom and came to fully appreciate
cannabis as medicine as I watched her body get ravaged from radiation,
chemotherapy and a failing immune system.
After her death I carried forth a private financial consulting platform
to pay the bills, but decided that farming professionally and saving lives with
cannabis would be my next pursuit. I
engaged a mentor and studied and farmed rigorously over the ensuing three
years. I transitioned to commercial
operations two seasons ago and am now a practicing clean rusher fighting to
solidify Humboldt County Small Family Farms’ place in the global cannabis
supply chain. If Canada can ship weed
internationally and establish production facilities in Latin America, then on a
local and state level we can assuredly grapple with issues of on-site
consumption, cannabis tourism, cannabis for kids, less discriminatory land use
ordinances, and formalizing the interstate marketplace that currently exists in
robust and illicit form.
I am a member of the Humboldt
County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce with a pro bono offering, NorCal Financial
& Cannabis Consulting. This
educational platform is designed to help farmers better understand their
industry’s increasingly competitive operating environment while helping
implement farming and financial systems and strategies to improve profitability
and prudently manage business and personal finances. Small family farms play a critical in many
localities and this has folks around town nervous. As cannabis prices fall economic activity in
the county will be negatively impacted. Inefficient
farms are going out of business, trimmers will be offered $100 or less per unit
this season and many will lose work altogether as oil, rez, and derived product
growth continues. Brokers will get
squeezed and fade away, while retailers and others providing services to these
groups will be hit hard. This is
beginning to happen now and folks are noticing.
Unfortunately, we’re probably in the earlier innings of what promises to
be a tremendously uncomfortable and disruptive adjustment.
Remember that economic activity is
primarily a function of two things, how much people have to spend and,
importantly, how they feel about their future economic prospects. What I’m seeing as a financial practitioner
is this…even the very well heeled among us are playing it a bit safer…less
aggression, less expansion, and less capital investment as record high asset
prices tend to concern, not excite the financially educated. Without another pony show, our county is in
very deep trouble. As former cannabis
commentator John Hardin wrongly predicted, Arcata will not be o.k. without a
thriving cannabis community…why the hell are they troubling with the MIZ
then? The University, to which he looked
as an economic bellwether, is in embarrassingly bad shape and CR looks
absolutely vacant compared to when I was there in the late 90’s. The hospitals are on borrowed time and the
county is burdened with unfunded liabilities, huge capital needs, and the very
real possibility for economic collapse.
We need money and that will only come with responsible economic
development and capital inflows. While I
am in favor of preserving natural space and protecting the environment, I’m
also a capitalist and believe that ganja is the best thing the county has going
Many believe that cannabis tourism,
a topic we’ll discuss in the future, has the ability to draw in resources from
Europe, Asia, and elsewhere to help replace the void created by lower weed prices. With tourism, micro industries like cannabis
cuisine will flourish and bring further vibrancy to areas like Old Town Eureka
and others. And the county needs to move
fast as the Law of Diminishing Returns has found cannabis at last. As we know from economics, in the absence of
collusion, cronyism, or government controls, excess rents – or excess profits–
get competed away in time. It’s already
happening as unregulated and wholesale cannabis prices converge and it will be
happening in retail, oil, extracts, and derived products as competition prices
those excess margins away.
This is why Humboldt and many other
localities are nervous…rents are going away and it hurts, a lot. Luxury goods and service providers feel it
first, followed by everyone else as the engine slows. Without rejuvenation, revitalization and a
fresh influx of capital, energy and investment, pot farming and our very
community will no longer be as economically viable.
Thru policy action, advocacy, research and the spread of credible cannabis information, it is my hope that a barrier free global cannabis marketplace that ensures safe access to all people comes to fruition.