The History and Future of Cannabis in Humboldt

The History and Future of Cannabis in Humboldt

Humboldt is a rugged part of California with soaring redwoods, a jagged coastline, and plenty of natural beauty. In the early days, pioneering Americans made their way to Humboldt hoping to strike it rich mining for gold or working in the timber mills. Nowadays, Humboldt finds itself in headlines for a different kind of industry making waves with its own “green rush” of sorts. 

We at URSA are proud of our locally grown flower and Arcata-based operation. You may have your own preconceived notions about Humboldt stemming from sensationalized stories and reports. We’re here to shine a light on the true history and importance of cannabis in this fertile land.

Where is Humboldt? 

Humboldt County is located in Northwest California and it is often referred to as the “Southern Gateway to the Pacific Northwest.” The area is bordered in the north by Del Norte County, on the east by Siskiyou and Trinity Counties, on the south by Mendocino, and finally on the west by the sprawling Pacific Ocean. The entire county is made up of roughly 2.3 million acres, but over 80% of that is covered by wetlands, forests, protected redwoods, and recreation use areas. 

Humboldt is sparsely populated with many remote areas, but its location just 270 miles north of the hustle and bustle of San Francisco means this fertile area has long been in the spotlight. The county seat is Eureka, which is a historic city of 27,000 that just so happens to be the of California’s major commercial fishing ports. Humboldt Bay also boasts the distinction of the second largest natural bay in the State of California. 

The Back to the Land Movement in Humboldt

Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, coming off of a violent and unpopular war in Vietnam, Americans yearned for a new way of life away from the traditional system. This brought progressives, ‘hippies’, and often outcasts to the Humboldt area. The basic idea was to form a community built off of shared morals and a living off-the-land ethos. 

A long history of deforestation meant land was extremely cheap and the new transplants propped up small local economies in the jurisdictions they ended up inhabiting. Countless micro-farms sprung up as part of the plan to create a more sustainable way of living. What these farmers soon found out was that the fog, nutrient-rich soil, and plenty of watersheds created a rich micro-climate perfect for growing crops and especially cannabis. 

The History of Cannabis in Humboldt 

Those that first came to Humboldt in search of a simple life had no intention of selling their cannabis for-profit. The plant was simply for personal use and sharing among friends. With that being said, the quality of the Humboldt crop wouldn’t remain a secret for very long.

The potent flower began to trickle its way down as far as Los Angeles. This remote part of Northern California now had a name for itself as the producer of the best Cannabis in the United States. The price of marijuana coming from the area skyrocketed and even more people flocked to Humboldt in search of profits from the ‘green rush’.

The U.S. Government quickly caught on to the steep profits being made, which led to a crackdown on farms in the area. This kicked off the C.A.M.P. or the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting. Helicopters began patrolling the sky over the farms and crops were burnt down. Countless farms were destroyed and growers were forced into silence and secrecy among fear of arrest. 

The country began to view Humboldt as it was depicted by law enforcement and the media. This view was unfavorable to say the least and Humboldt became known as a destination full of unscrupulous people. This couldn’t be farther than the truth and the ethos brought in by the original growers. 

To give you a better understanding of this crackdown. Take a look at this list of arrest statistics following the Summer of Love and Back to Land Movement

  • The number of marijuana-related arrests increased 10 times between 1962 and 1967
  • Marijuana-related arrests rose to 27 percent of all drug-related arrests in 1960 to 61 percent by 1967
  • Marijuana-related arrests surpassed heroin arrests in 1965 and surpassed all non-marijuana arrests by 1965 (I.E. – more people were arrested for cannabis than anything else, at all)

The Beginning of a Legal Cannabis Industry in Humboldt

The original group of hippies and farmers had no idea that their Humboldt Grown Cannabis would become known worldwide. When the government cracked down, these same farmers fought tooth and nail backing the original efforts for cannabis legalization in California. 

In 2021, the same plant that was so severely prosecuted over is now massive business. California is just one of the many states that have legalized recreational as well as medical cannabis. As more and more money floods the market, it’s important to remember the origins of our industry and the farmers who were the true OG’s. 


The magic of Cannabis in Humboldt stems from a combination of rich history as well as extremely fertile growing conditions. Telling the stories about the fascinating history and culture of Humboldt helps keep that magic alive. As the industry matures and becomes more corporate, it’s more important than ever to cling to our roots. 

Looking for quality concentrates from flower grown under the sun in Humboldt? URSA has you covered with 100% live resin dab products and Liquid Diamond Sauce Cartridges. Visit our Store Locator to find our products near you.  



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