Humboldt County Approves First Commercial Cannabis Farms

Photo by Nico Escondido

Northern California’s traditional cannabis heartland, Humboldt County, gave an official go-ahead for two commercial medical marijuana farms to open this summer, the Eureka Times-Standard reports. The two operations are Honeydew Farms, a seven-acre outdoor grow in the town of Honeydew, and a quarter-acre “mixed-light” farm run by Blessed Coast LLC in Carlotta. These are the first such enterprises in the county, “marking the beginning of a new era for the industry.”

About 100 more such businesses have submitted applications to the county, and county senior planner Steve Lazar said he expects hundreds more in the coming months. He called the applications the “first end of big wave” that is about to crest. Applications are being made under a regulatory program approved by the county in January, complimenting California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which creates a statewide licensing program expected to start in 2018. Under the law, operators must hold both a local and state license.  

The Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project (HUMMAP), however, is calling on the county to be more restrictive on the size of licensed cannabis farms.  

“The county is catering to the greedheads,” HUMMAP’s Robert Sutherland told the Times-Standard. “Instead, we need to focus on an industry that continues to honor its reputation for quality. People will buy based on their knowledge that it’s coming from a hands-on, very conscientious and responsible handler.”

HUMMAP is challenging the county licensing program in the courts, claiming it does not sufficiently address environmental impacts.

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