California’s cannabis mecca, Humboldt County, banned cannabis cultivation last month, but local cannabis and marijuana growers know the problem is far from over.
What’s the reason? If people grow feminized cannabis flowers, there should be no problem, says Chris Boucher, CEO of Farmtiva, a producer of cannabis seeds and flowers.
The Humboldt County Hemp Growers Association (HCGA) stated in a letter to the County Board of Supervisors that cross-pollination is one reason why industrial hemp should be banned in the county. In its letter, HCGA cites a 2019 article stating that approximately 8 percent of Oregon’s cannabis harvest was lost to pollination due to increased cannabis cultivation.
The cannabis seeds are grown in a greenhouse in Southern California, but pollinated in a controlled environment. Mr. Boucher understood that the ban was related to the abolition of licenses for industrial hemp, which was grown for large-scale fiber production, but it was not the only type of cannabis.
Hemp is defined as cannabis sativa with a THC content of less than 0.3%. Ms. Boucher explained that cannabis can be divided into two categories: Shop and industrial hemp. Farmers’ hemp is used for CBD extracts and flowers, while industrial hemp is used for fiber and seeds.
The problem is that commercial and industrial cannabis should not be part of the California metric, which mandates the sale of any cannabis plant with seeds.
If you look across the street, the gas station, the pet store, the health food store sell. Everyone sells [CBD] except pharmacies, Boucher says. These retailers lose a lot of money because they cannot sell cannabis that is not in the metric system.
To me, the fact that the district voted against it because they didn’t know how to properly draft the regulations was really tragic, said Josh Hanna, CEO of Humboldt CBD.
Hannah has several shops in the town of Humboldt in Arcata and sources CBD from local horse breeders. Farmers can grow boutique hemp if it is registered in the metric system as having a high CBD content.
Hannah says industrial cannabis makes no sense for Humboldt, but this boutique weed has always made sense. He said HCGA said at one point they agreed to an acre of boutique weed. That’s actually what we’ve been advocating all along. Because Humboldt County is the historic home of these female CBD hemp genes.
Lawrence Ringo, the original Humboldt grower, was one of the first to start growing CBD-rich strains like Harle-Tsu, Sour-Tsu, Sour Tsunami, Canna-Tsu and Ringo’s Gift. According to Hannah, Ringo was likely the first person to create the CBD genetic library that everyone in the industry is consciously or unconsciously inspired by.
Dave Sandomeno of Sunrise Mountain Farms said the cannabis strains come from a crop discovered in Humboldt County that still exists. People who grow cannabis for love. For the love of the plant, for the love of medicine.
Sandomino has a base strain – 2:1 CBD / THC, which he grows and must conform to the metric system. But he says 7% THC doesn’t make it a cannabis strain yet, so it doesn’t have the access and market reach of CBD.
Jason Miller of Kiskanu Cannabis sells CBD, but he sources it from farms across the United States. As a manufacturer that primarily uses local cannabis concentrates in our products, it has become much easier and cheaper to source these products from accredited labs and growers across the country, as production has been so high since we started a few years ago that the cost of harvesting has dropped exponentially.
As a cannabis farmer in Humboldt, he thinks it’s better for the county to focus on cannabis instead of hemp. The farmland of Humboldt County cannot compete with that of the Central Valley or the American plains, where there are thousands and thousands of acres of flat land.
Riley Laton of Highline Nursery said that unlike other California counties where cannabis is a smaller part of the economy, cannabis predominates in Humboldt. If cannabis is allowed to grow in the same way as in other places where cannabis cultivation is not as concentrated, it could be detrimental to the success of many farmers.
There are huge hurdles to overcome when growing cannabis if it contains a certain amount of THC. And if it doesn’t have a certain amount of THC, it’s like growing corn, says Nat Pennington, CEO of Humboldt Seed Company.
According to Pennington, it appears that 20,000 acres of cannabis can be grown in Humboldt County, with almost no regulation near the cannabis plantations, which Pennington says are covered by some of the strictest environmental laws for agriculture in the world.
A cannabis license requires approval from the county’s agriculture commission and a $900 tax. We spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year just to be able to operate legally in the state of California as a cannabis seed company, Pennington says.
He thinks more people could have accommodated each other. He wants a process where people only grow feminized cannabis seeds, but the problem is that there is still no stable market. Over the past two or three years, there have been massive lawsuits against companies claiming their seeds are feminized, and it turns out that this is not the case.
Hannah says there are already problems without cannabis and describes ads on the highway from companies that will harvest cannabis. If a company can advertise on billboards and pay for the places where it grows cannabis, it means that pollination and pollen counts are already an issue.
Butcher serves all the houseplants: I’m worried about marijuana in a block two blocks away.
Nat Pennington says hemp and cannabis should be held to the same standard: We spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to operate legally as a cannabis seed company in the state of California.
Mr. Boucher would like to see the local agriculture commissioner create pollen maps showing prevailing winds, just as the onion industry does for open fields. These two products will certainly coexist. If they coexist, there should be at least one program that reduces the chance of cross-pollination by passing pollen maps and indicating who grows where.
Sandomino said cannabis and hemp can only coexist in Humboldt if they meet the same standards: We, small farmers, have had to go to a lot of trouble over the last five years to enforce all these rules, and then suddenly industrial hemp comes along and they don’t have to enforce these rules for a crop that is essentially the same.
Humboldt has always been at the center of cannabis innovation, Pennington says. They have everything from sinsemilla to light deprivation to bubble hash; all these major innovations in cannabis and of course genetics, including Ringo’s gift. Pennington said, however, that legal regulation of THC cannabis in Humboldt is still in its infancy.
Main image: Jason Miller of Kiskanu at Industrial Hemp in Humboldt: The farmland of Humboldt County cannot compete with that of the Central Valley or the American plains, where there are thousands and thousands of acres of flat land.
frequently asked questions
What is Humboldt County, California, known for?
Humboldt is best known for its beautiful coastal redwoods, the largest trees in the world. Two of the main attractions are Redwood National and State Parks and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, located along the Avenue of the Giants.
How many plants can be grown in Humboldt County?
Details: The general public aged 21 and over : In California, Proposition 64 allows any adult to possess 6 plants or 1 ounce of dried marijuana for adult use. You don’t have to be a resident to buy plants, although it is illegal to transport plants across state lines.
Is Humboldt County still dangerous?
Humboldt County – with a population of 136,084 in January 2018 – had 11 violent deaths, a per capita rate of 8.1. Los Angeles County recorded 570 homicides in 2018. However, with a population of 10.25 million (as of January 2018), the per capita figure is 5.5.
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