This month at the Board of Supervisors regular meeting, there were significant discussions about cannabis that are likely to affect life in Humboldt County for all of us.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in support of the new Marketing Assessment written by Humboldt County Growers Alliance policy guru, Ross Gordon. The Marketing Assessment is an excellent document. I highly suggest you take a rainy holiday afternoon to check it out. The gist of it: there are other regionally branded marketing strategies around the world that have been successful, and we would do well to follow their examples. Expertise from Napa, Bordeaux wine, Kona and Colombian coffee provided insight on how these regions developed the methods that solidified their ongoing success. How we in Humboldt follow their lead, and include input from our own community, will determine our success with our own venture.
While the Marketing Assessment was being formed, SB 67 was approved. For those of you that may NOT be cannabis nerds like me, SB 67 is the Appellations of Origins bill that helps set the framework for certifying a product’s regional origin. The hope here is that by enforcing proof of origin, while increasing marketing efforts, the legacy of the Humboldt brand will remain intact and also command more value, especially as talks of federal legalization loom.
On the financial side of things, funding for marketing efforts will still come from Project Trellis, which was also discussed at this week’s BOS meeting, and which previously allocated $1.6 million to be split between the three arms of Trellis: Marketing, Micro-Grants, and Equity. How the marketing funds will be used exactly is yet to be determined; with hope often voiced that cooperatives and associations will be on the forefront of guiding the process.
I for one am intrigued by the possibilities of cannabis tourism, and am curious how it will impact those of us who enjoy the spacious solitude of life behind the Redwood Curtain. I am also interested to see what kind of tourists will be compelled to visit Humboldt and what they want to see and experience. While onboard with the idea of sharing our Humboldt lifestyle with the world, I do hope it stays authentic and always directed by local stakeholders. There is a comedy horror image in my mind of a cannabis theme park with gaudy museum exhibits, wax figures of trimmers, and videos replaying scenes from “Murder Mountain.” Please, no. I also see possibilities of relaxing and educational cannabis lounges, spas, hotels, and glamping scenarios. Interested persons could travel to Humboldt, frolic in the redwoods, peruse local farms, experience the offerings of a world renowned cannabis birthplace, and escape from the stress of the city world.
We all have our reservations about change but it was clear from the enthusiasm I saw from our Board of Supervisors that cannabis farmers in Humboldt have developed something very special and if we are careful and allow them to guide the direction, it may very well positively shape our future. I’m here for it.
Hannah Joy is a Humboldt local, owner at NorCal Perfect Bar, DIO with DewPoint, Trellis Micro-Grant and Loan Advisory Committee Vice Chair, and still wannabe urban homesteader. Feel free to send chicken advice to [email protected]