One could argue that this post doesn’t qualify as “from the road” due to the fact that I’m sitting in the middle of Humboldt County, my current place of residence, as I slap it out on my keyboard.
But that would be exactly the point; my time here in the heart of Northern California’s pot production province has been an educational weigh station on my quest to gather as much knowledge and insight into the emerging cannabis industry as possible.
Reflecting on Humboldt County
For more than five generations, disenfranchised Americans have been seeking refuge in the hills and mountains of Northern California. Concentrated in the counties loosely defined as the “Emerald Triangle,” they do more than grow a bunch of weed.
Most have eschewed the values and rules of mainstream society to live off the grid. Many generate their own electricity from local streams and rivers and grow their own food. According to some sources, this part of the nation is home to more hard core homesteaders than any other in North America.When I first moved to Humboldt County in the summer of 2016, I made no predictions regarding the term of my stay—either to myself or others. Given the surreal nature of the county and the horrid weather this year, it was a helpful psychological coping mechanism to consider myself “on assignment.”
My time in Humboldt has been characterized by months of bone-chilling rain that resulted in my bicycle going unused and becoming a perpetually anchored sculpture in my bedroom. But let’s focus on the positive: Peppered into this adventure were some really cool photo shoots on the beach for trendy Emerald Magazine. (My thanks to the magazine’s publisher, Christina DeGiovani, one of the classiest and most effective people in the cannabis industry.)Of course, the adventure was intense. I encountered some intelligent and enlightened subject matter experts, a slower pace of life than I anticipated (or desired, quite honestly), regional organic craft beer (!), and a dreamy brunette. I apologize for complaining about the rain; my time in Humboldt hasn’t all been overcast skies.
Compliance Docs for Legal Cannabis
My reason for landing in Humboldt was to take advantage of compliance documentation opportunities with clients based in the Emerald Triangle. After helping a local client write the narratives for more than 100 of these permit applications to the County, I began branching out to assist legal cannabis businesses with strategizing and developing similar documentation in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
I’ve spent more time helping farmers in Humboldt County develop the applications for their permits and licenses than any other activity since I’ve been in this strange part of the nation. This allowed me to learn the reality of the economics and politics of the emerging cannabis production centers here in Northern California.
Los Angeles Will Be Pivotal
The passage of California’s Proposition 64 last November finally brought the most populous state in the nation into rank with existing bastions of adult use legalization, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. (At 40 million inhabitants, California exceeds Canada’s population by five million).As such, California’s largest population center, Los Angeles, will be the genesis of much industry activity and regulatory influence. This will inevitably include some significant innovation in products, marketing, branding, and distribution.
There’s a roughly two-year window of opportunity for businesses in California to become compliant with municipal (local), county, and state regulations—depending on their exact jurisdiction. The core components of this compliance are permitting (licensing) and the successful completion of inspections (which are of a surprise nature in some jurisdictions).
As such, Los Angeles is my next stop. I’ll continue to help legal cannabis businesses throughout the United States with compliance documentation. I’ll simply be doing it from a warm, sunny patio and planning my next cycling adventure.
Special thanks to the guys at 420 Radio in Canada for having me as a guest on a recent podcast. I appreciate their kind support and twisted senses of humor. Just don’t ask the name of the dog….
All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.
Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANE, Emerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.co, The Kind, Skunk, Cannabis Culture, Whaxy, Heads, Weed World, Green Flower Media, Cannabis Health Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.
He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.