Marijuana Culture within the Land of Water by Danielle DeLacy


The growth of marijuana plants within Humboldt County began in the late 1960s with the arrival of "hippies" to the area. Many of these individuals were young, often had some form of college education, and truly wanted to escape the social and policital unrest that saturated the 1960s and 1970s. These individuals viewed Humboldt County as a place whether they could escape materialism and return to land.


The isloated and remote qualities of Humboldt County were ideal for individuals hoping to "go off the grid" and return to a more natural, less material way of life. In addition, the isolation of the region was and remains ideal for the growth of marijuana, as local and state officials may find it difficult to locate and reach certain marijuana patches.


Large scale, outdoor marijuana patches pose significant risks for both the environment and local community. Natural streams and springs are being polluted by fertilizer runoff from the plants. Growers are poisoning small animals, such as birds and squirrels, while shooting larger ones, such as deer and bobcats, to keep them out of them out of patches. It is not uncommon for men, women, and even children to be shot at when walking unannounced through local forests and clearings.

Annual state seizures of marijuana plants have resulted in a constant and almost normalized state of paranoia for residents of Humboldt County. Although not every resident grows, almost everyone knows someone who does. In addition, a significant portion of the local economy rests on the growing and selling of marijuana. Even though only approximately 10-15% of total plants within the County are seized annally, these seizures directly affect the income of these individuals. Cannabis


Media representation of Humboldt County is often a combination of lawless hippies and men protecting patches with guns. In truth, Humboldt County is a community like any other, with families trying to provide for their children. Due to the isolated nature of Humboldt County and its limited economy, some have chosen to rely on marijuana to get by. The result is a complex culture founded on the growing, selling, and consumption of marijuana.