Northern California county is called 'marijuana capital of North America'.

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Diseased Strain

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Jan 29, 2005
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California -- Humboldt County is known for one thing: marijuana. The county, located in the northern tip of California, is referred to as the marijuana capitol of North America, and has been mentioned in countless rap songs.

It is home to the best hemp this side of Amsterdam, and with it comes an unparalleled reputation. Humboldt State University, located in the city of Arcata, is well known for its reputation as a “stoner” college.

A recent issue of High Times magazine named Humboldt State number 8 in its list of the “Top 10 cannabis colleges.”

The county has been dealing with marijuana problems for years, and consequently the school’s image suffers because of it.

Some students at Humboldt State feel the school’s marijuana reputation is exaggerated by people outside the area.

Esmeralda Santana, a senior psychology major at Humboldt State, said the school’s reputation is larger outside the area than it is on campus. Santana says students are aware of marijuana and its prominence in Humboldt, but aren’t so concerned with it.

“It’s known to be more common here, but it’s the same on all college campuses,” Santana said. Nicole Alvarado, Humboldt State’s Associated Students President, feels the recent High Times article exploits the school’s negative image on a large scale. “We do not have any more of a marijuana problem than any other university does,” said Alvarado.

Billie Waltz, an undeclared sophomore at Humboldt State said he agrees with Alvarado. “If you look for it, you’ll find it, but no more than you would anywhere else,” Waltz said.

Roberto Quintana, associate professor of exercise physiology at Sacramento State, is a Humboldt State alum.

Quintana said recreational activity and parties at Humboldt State are similar to what happens at Sac State and other universities. “The big difference between Humboldt State and Sac State is the centralized campus and liberal community of Humboldt compared to the commuter campus at Sac State,” Quintana said.

Humboldt’s reputation for marijuana is based on the area’s history as a liberal, agricultural community. The environment gives prospective marijuana growers a perfect location to plant their crops.

Alvarado said the community is liberal and more open to talk about marijuana, which may lead to people to make assumptions. “It is talked about more in the public eye, which makes it more of an issue,” Alvarado said.

Former Arcata resident James Long said he left the county after six years because of the lack of job opportunities. He said that marijuana was prevalent when he lived there.

“I was invited to smoke weed more times up there than when I grew up in Los Angeles,” Long said. He says the amount of marijuana available is directly related to the environment and the agriculture.

Waltz said the environment is suited for growing marijuana.

Despite an ideal environment for harvesting marijuana, significant amounts are rarely seized from Humboldt County.

According to the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting’s Web site, Humboldt County ranked 10th among California counties with 15,809 plants seized in 2004. Riverside led the list with 97,104 plants seized.

CAMP works in conjunction with local Sheriff’s departments to eradicate marijuana plants from all over the state. This year, the group has broken all previous records for seizures including taking over 20,400 plants from Humboldt County in early August.

The university occasionally attracts new students based on the regions reputation for marijuana production. The CAMP numbers indicate that production is not as large as originally predicted. Thomas Dewey, interim police chief for Humboldt State said in an e-mail that students who come to Humboldt because of the county’s reputation would face stiff penalties for marijuana violations. “We give no breaks to anyone selling or furnishing marijuana on campus,” he said.

Students caught will face both administrative charges from the university as well as criminal charges.

Police at Humboldt State make an average of 100 citations or arrests each year for marijuana violations. Dewey said these arrests include both students and non-students who are arrested during campus events such as concerts.

Medical marijuana patients pose a dilemma for university police since state law conflicts with federal law. State law allows card carrying medical marijuana patients to possess the substance, while federal law prohibits it.

Humboldt State police enforce the school policy on drugs on campus, which means even medical marijuana patients can be arrested for possession of the substance. Off campus, the officers enforce the California Highway Patrol policy which favors the possible release of card carrying medical marijuana patients.

Dewey says marijuana remains a controlled substance as defined by federal law, therefore the university will prohibit the drug on the federally funded campus.

“The bottom line is that medical marijuana patients must keep their marijuana off campus,” Dewey said.

In spite of its reputation, Humboldt State provides strong academic programs. Humboldt State is the smallest school in the CSU system with just over 7,500 students enrolled. The university offers 23 student run organizations, the most of any CSU campus. The small enrollment allows for small class sizes as well as better communication between students and faculty.

Alvarado said the county’s image has taken attention away from Humboldt State’s academic programs. She said the school has a very strong biological sciences program as well as the only Native American studies program in the entire CSU system.

Waltz said that academics are not downplayed and that students that go to the school get a quality education. “Some students come here under the assumption that we’re a party school, but they leave with a good education,” she said. “It is important for people outside of Humboldt to realize that we breed social conscious individuals who are more apt to be leaders,” Alvarado said. She said she hopes that people will look at Humboldt for its educational value rather than its marijuana image.

Is this county where the town of Garberville is located? I bet it is .. visited Garberville many years ago. Stoner City. One main street with all the rednecks on one side and all the stoners on the other side.
That crazy vancouver guy said:
pfffft!... come up to Vancouver some time, bud... and then we'll see what u say....:rolleyes: :cool:

Yes, I have heard good things about Canada - my wife and I will make a trip there someday ;), for living in the US I am happy that Humboldt is just over the hill from me ++ my wife and I go there for the beaches also...:D

edit: did not realize this thread is over 3 years old...
I love the beaches of Humbolt County, and a visit to a "Co-op before you hit one is great too. I have read or heard on the local news that Arcata is now boasting/complaining 1 of 4 houses there is growing MJ. Not all Medical either.
Walking around the Square in Arcata reminds me of Berkley in the seventies.

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