CANNABIS COUNTRY OUT WEST: The History and Growth of Humboldt County, California

Humboldt County, California is a wild place. Towering redwoods, acres of undeveloped land, running streams and a rocky coastline hold its borders in a fierce, natural glory. It’s no shock that Humboldt attracts those with a pioneering spirit. Generation after generation have come to this Northern California frontier to seek fortune and freedom. The lure of gold and timber came first, but for the last four decades, another gift of nature has sustained this wild community—cannabis.

Brought North in the 1970s by hippies and back-to-the-landers, cannabis took to the hot days, cool nights and luscious humidity of Humboldt County. It grew—pardon the pun—like a weed. The majority of the cannabis crop was previously imported from abroad; mostly Mexico. The potential for pesticides in cannabis grown in Mexico gave way to an interest in Humboldt-grown flower, and the quality kept them smoking it. The main reason for Humboldt excellence, aside from an ideal climate, is that growers from Humboldt were quick to pick up on the fact that the female plant, sinsemilla, produces the best effects. It was revolutionary in the US, and has become the new standard for cannabis cultivation.

By 1979, 35 percent of cannabis consumed in California was homegrown, mostly in Humboldt County. By 2010, 79 percent of all cannabis in the United States was being supplied by California, and the majority of that cannabis was grown in Humboldt County. But it wasn’t just the ideal natural conditions that put Humboldt cannabis on the map—it was the unique history and spirit of the community.

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THE THRIVING SPIRIT OF 4/20: Celebrations from Hippie Hill to Parliament Hill

4/20 has been synonymous with cannabis for years. Whether it’s the time of day or a whole day annually, stoners unite for the greater cannabis cause. Around the globe, cannabis patients and aficionados alike will gather, but each year sets new precedents!

Approximately 20,000 people gather on Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to celebrate Marijuana on 4/20: National Weed Day, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F.Examiner)This year’s 4/20 celebrations in California mark the historic legalization of recreational cannabis. After a long journey, cannabis consumers can finally feel comfortable with their lifestyle and share their passion with their community, free from persecution. This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of a revolutionary time in cannabis history, The Summer of Love in 1967. That year marked a huge influx of hippies and other freethinkers to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The culture of acceptance and love present was the perfect stage for cannabis consumption. Many would gather in Golden Gate Park to get high and come together as a community in an area that became known as Hippie Hill.

Though that summer is long over, the spirit of 1967 carries on, particularly on the day of April 20th, when thousands flock to Hippie Hill to partake in and celebrate cannabis consumption. There is no official date for when this awesome celebration began, though the early seventies seems a good estimation, as the term “4/20” was coined in San Rafael in 1971. People come from all over the country to participate, and with California’s recreational legalization of cannabis in January 2017, this year is going to be the biggest celebration yet. It’s lovely to see the dreams of those that came before us being actualized, and that a smoke-out on Hippie Hill is still a part of San Francisco tradition.

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