Praying mantis searches for aphids on a cannabis plant. | Photo by Freddy Brewster

The future of Humboldt County is dope

Cannabis advocates discuss marketing ideas and the future of weed in Humboldt

Cannabis advocates discuss marketing ideas and the future of weed in Humboldt

The future for Humboldt county is dope and those in the cannabis industry got together to brainstorm ways to market what some consider “the dopest dope you’ll ever smoke.”

A panel of cannabis professionals held a discussion on the future of the industry March 28 at the Humboldt Patient Resource Center’s Connection studio in Eureka. One of the panelists was Siobhan Danger Darwish, owner of Blessed Coast Farms and the first person in the state to receive a growing permit.

“We need to capitalize on the name Humboldt and the fact that we have been doing this for generations.”

Siobhan Danger Darwish

“Who has a better story line than Humboldt county? No one, use that guys,” Darwish said. “We need to capitalize on the name Humboldt and the fact that we have been doing this for generations. We need to educate on sun-grown cannabis.”

Darwish stressed the importance of social media and its potential to reach a wide audience. She runs Instagram and YouTube accounts called Grow Sisters where she provides tutorials on how to “grow your own” and other cannabis-related DIY projects.

Dr. Whitney Ogle of HSU kinesioolgy, Brian Willkomm of HPRC, Rachel Moore of Humco Office of Economic Development, Siobhan Danger Darwish of Blessed Coast Farms and Terra Carver of Humco Growers Alliance answer questions from moderator Jess Columbo during a cannabis public education forum in Eureka on Thursday March 28. | Photo by T.WIlliam Wallin

Darwish is “a second-generation, black-market cannabis farmer” and decided to come to the legal side of the cannabis world in 2016. Darwish stressed that the future for Humboldt county cannabis farmers is collaboration.

“Let me come to your farm, I will smoke your product,” Darwish said. “I will tell my 65,000 followers what your product tastes like.”

HPRC held a public forum on cannabis education that included members of the cannabis industry on March 28. | Photo by T.William Wallin

Darwish went on to stress the importance of educating the public about sun-grown cannabis and how businesses and dispensaries should sponsor small farmers. Bryan Willkomm represented HPRC at the panelist table and has said that HPRC has been working closely with farmers since their beginning in 1999. Willkomm said that the future of cannabis in Humboldt county is “bright and beautiful,” but those in power have to step up.

“For a future regulations standpoint, we need a tasting room,” Willkomm said. “I can’t have you sample something without buying $40 of it. So, allowing farmers to have some sort of tasting or events, will really help bring more exposure to our farms and community.”

Mariellen Jurkovich became manager of HPRC in the late 90s and since 2004 the acting director. | Photo by T.William Wallin

Willkomm said he believes the future of cannabis is linked with ecotourism for Humboldt county and that cannabis can be used as an amplifier for those experiences. He went on to say that the county administrators need to focus on transportation access, with an emphasis on airport and road infrastructure to help alleviate the isolation of Humboldt county. Rachel Moore represented the Humboldt County Office Economic Development at the panelist table and stressed the importance of Project Trellis in Humboldt’s cannabis future.

“The main way to help out in terms of legislation is to vote. We need to let people know that yes, your vote does matter.”

Jaleel Abdul-Ali

Project Trellis was implemented on March 12 as way for the county to help farmers negatively impacted by prior marijuana laws. Project Trellis will allow $340,000 in micro grants for farmers as well as $1.19 million in funds for a Humboldt county cannabis marketing scheme with a focus on markets in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

“Part of Project Trellis is to listen and engage in dialog, so we can help inform the process,” Moore said. “The supervisors are interested in protecting the Humboldt brand. That is an important piece. We are here to be a part of the conversation.”

Professor Whitney Ogle of HSU kinesiology and Brian Willkomm of HPRC discuss marketing and research cannabis in Humboldt County with moderator Jess Columbo during a cannabis public education forum in Eureka on Thursday March 28. | Photo by T.WIlliam Wallin

Jaleel Abdul-Ali, an HSU student majoring in kinesiology, attended the event to offer insight as a patient and consumer.

“The consumer can help out in terms of advocating for the whole industry,” Abdul-Ali said. “The main way to help out in terms of legislation is to vote. We need to let people know that yes, your vote does matter.”

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