– the gold standard

what is with all the sensationalism? — December 5, 2017

what is with all the sensationalism?

On a recent reading of “Bigfoot, bullets and bud: My insane Humboldt County weed harvest,” by Tara Anaïse – as printed on Salon at

Bigfoot, bullets and bud: My insane Humboldt County weed harvest

Well, the obvious response is that is just the way journalism is. I suspect so, but this approach, essentially fictionalized reality or sensationalism, does the public and the emerging cannabis industry a disservice.

And here’s the thing, sometimes bad things happen in a criminal world – how is this some kind of shocking surprise? Yet, at least in Humboldt, the criminal world of cannabis is embedded in a larger culture and history – cannabis helped to build schools, community centers and a radio station in Humboldt. And, sensationalism denies the reader any understanding of this.

Repeated media outlets have followed this path; we assume that this sells and that is why these media would bother to distort. The cannabis lifestyle is exciting enough without adding false narratives.

We are in transition. The old days are passing and the new days are just appearing over the horizon. There is no place in this new world for these kinds of anti-cannabis screeds.


Cannabis Genetics Primer — December 2, 2017

Cannabis Genetics Primer

Oh, it is a complicated subject; but it is one that you can get your brain around. Let’s start with two terms – landrace and hybrid. These two categories are how cannabis comes; landrace strains are the relatively few that have evolved, pretty much on their own, in their native lands and hybrid strains are those that humans have been breeding. The most important types of cannabis are indica and sativa – the hybrids are combinations of these.

When you start breeding, you want your parent specimens (P1 and P2) to be as pure as possible – and this is really not always possible. So, it is very important that you breed for two or more characteristics or traits – potency, odor or color, etc.; but don’t try more than that on your first round. The seeds from your first round will be F1 and they will show all the dominate traits of the two parents. But, F1 is unstable and tend to not breed true as F2. You must pick out the traits you are isolating from the F1 line – say, a purple male and a purple female; by crossing plants with similar traits, you increase your chances of having a purple offspring.

Now you have an F2 and you are starting down the path to a stable strain. As you continue to cross for similar characteristics as your create new generations of cannabis, the F3, F4, F5 and more will become more and more reliable – eventually, your crossing will always show the purple characteristic.

A tip; clone your original P1 and your F1, F2 and so on. If there is a characteristic in the F1 that you do not want to lose, cloning will help you keep it. This is not breeding – which always involves pollen. You can also back cross your F1 or F2 into your P1 clone.

Do not rest on your laurels. Watch very carefully that your characteristic is expressing. And, be patient as it takes several seasons to achieve your breeding goals.

This has been real down and dirty. Dig around on the web for more information. Google “ cannabis breeding” and check out the images that come up. All those little breeding diagrams ought to make some more sense now.

Humboldt Growers Collective has seeds… — November 30, 2017

Humboldt Growers Collective has seeds…

Humboldt Growers Collective has a selection of 2017 cannabis seeds available to its members. These were propagated and harvested here on the farm. Please get in touch if you would like more information. You must have proof of your 215 and join the Collective.

You can reach us at

We plan to offer many stains. A few are shown below; email us to find out what else we have available.

One of the strains the Collective can offer is Grand Daddy Purple. This is an F3 that has been backcrossed to its 2016 parent.


Another of the strains the Collective can offer is Harlequin Tsunami, known for its CBD rich cannabis. This is also an F3 – based on the original work of Larry Ringo.


And then, we have our own OG strain; this is in part based on Rascal and our own developed OG, which we call Hez. Continue reading

Humboldt Growers now distributes! — November 17, 2017

Humboldt Growers now distributes!

Humboldt Growers has expanded its operations to include a new distributorship in Santa Rosa, California – Humboldt Growers Distribution. Catchy name, eh?

We are very excited to have acquired this centrally located facility. We believe that this will allow us to be one of the main access points between Humboldt County and the urban areas around Santa Rosa.

Our Santa Rosa showroom opens January 1st. You can bring your farm’s story to the front line. We can help you with several of the sales problems that are rising up at the horizon. Don’t be left up on the mountain.

Contact us with your current product line so we can get you into our inventory asap.

Email us at

We have minimum farmer cient requirements =

– 215/Collective member option (until 2019)

– Preferred customers are County and State licensed or in process

– Clean, tested cannabis or cannabis product (with a report in hand/ we prefer a track record)

– Must be very high quality product – competition demands this
– well formed and attractive flower = (looks like indoor)
– high THC percentage
– distinctive odor or other characteristic

– Preferred sample size is one pound (but could be less). We will need our growers to reserve more of their sample for projected sales)

– Preferred dep grown, but we will accept other options if appropriate. We prefer multiple harvest farms growing clones.

– Provide a short narrative of your story.

– We will want to visit your farm and facility to make an assessment.

We have minimum distributor client requirements =

Yes, we want to help your distributorship sell Humboldt cannabis through our distributorship.

– You need intake from as few sources as possible.

– We can help match total farm production annually to meet your distribution needs annually.

Cannabis Farmer Suicide — November 16, 2017

Cannabis Farmer Suicide

Is legalization actually such a good deal? The growers are getting overwhelmed… the whole process seems designed to remove the old core, smaller, growers. Maybe the black market still has its place for awhile…

The Counties and the State sure seem to have decided that legalization needs to fail. You only need to look at their taxation plans. Time to start emailing your elected officials – here in Humboldt and across the State.

And what about San Francisco and Los Angles? Looks like they might shut down the permitting process in their cities; and being among the biggest urban markets in the State, well, that would be quite a blow. Still, things are in serious flux.

I tell you, officials have mis-read the market. It ain’t the get rich scheme that everyone imagines. Those assumptions are going to kill the market. By the time the State works this out, the blackmarket will have been given a boost and the small legal farmer will be in the toilet.

“Resist – Support the Blackmarket” could well be the new battle cry of cannabis growers across the State. Humboldt Growers has strongly supported growers participating in the legalization of their farms; but, now, we have a doubt.

Somehow folks think that the cannabis farmer is naturally just as rich as they can be. This is a myth; most farmers (upwards of 80%) are very small. They really can’t afford the pile on that is happening at both the County and the State level. Just consider Humboldt County’s expectations for rural roads to our cannabis farms; now, these are roads that the County has ignored for decades, but, all of a sudden if you will, they want hardtops or Class 4 roads. This puts a tremendous financial pressure on the farms. And, it is only one example.

Somehow folks think that the cannabis farmer is a reprobate, a low-life criminal that must be watched carefully – just look at the new laws that are involved. This is a myth; the original 60’s and 70’s homesteaders were ex-urban, not criminals. The make a quick buck greenrushers are what you are looking at now. The smaller growers nurture their land; they do not and won’t destroy that land. This is where they live!

Both the County and the State want to benefit from all this imaginary cannabis wealth; but when the goose is dead, well, there aren’t any more eggs. The wealth is based on an illegal market that is not accessible to the County and the State; but it is accessible to those growing cannabis and that is where the growers will retreat.

But, the situation is changing and it can be changed. The “microbusiness” license could help to address these issues – it makes it easier for farmers to succeed in the market; a vigorous and successful resolution to the really large growers and the cartels would help; the tax burden could be scaled back, as the other legal States have already done; the licensing could be streamlined; how about State-backed farmer loans offered to help address these costs?

There are solutions for those that can think outside the box.

Fight fellow farmers. Stand your ground. Humboldt farmers have never retreated and we won’t now. Resist!


Well, its November – somehow… — November 15, 2017
Our response to Humboldt’s draft cannabis ordinance – part 2… — October 17, 2017

Our response to Humboldt’s draft cannabis ordinance – part 2…

Good day,

Humboldt County’s definition of a small farmer needs to be in line with the State at 10,000 sq ft. We have permits in process at 5000, 10,000, and 43560 sq ft. We consider ourselves the minimum size to make it in this economy. 10,000 sq ft farms will struggle to survive and must have all the exemptions that small farms get. The 3000 sq ft farms will all be out of business this year and the Humboldt Heritage torch must be passed off to the small farms that work. We are giving the exemptions to farms that are not viable with or without them.

We are all up against the black market now. If the black market continues, legalization in California will not make it.  Especially now with so many white market farms being destroyed in the recent fires.

All future permits should be given to “multiple harvest farms”.

Humboldt County has the only microclimate in the United States that supports harvesting flower for up to 8 months without any heating or cooling requirement. It is our biggest advantage in this industry moving forward. The permitting process itself must support the multiple harvest model in Humboldt County. Our summer weather is mild enough that we can harvest throughout the summer months. Other counties would have to implement costly heating and cooling strategies to replicate our climate. Our farmers must take advantage of this ability in order to succeed. Humboldt County farms have the ability to be first to market every year. Promote their success by encouraging them to do so!

Multiple harvest (light deprivation) farms are a white market (environmentally and economically sustainable) model.

– farms that harvest throughout the summer do not take water when aquifers are low. They also tend to use more of the water for actual salable flower(70%+ goes to actual flower).
– farms that harvest throughout the summer do not use dirt roads for high traffic during the rains.
– farms that harvest throughout the summer do not add to the trimigrant paradigm. These farms spread the processing out so they are able to use much smaller facilities and much smaller numbers of seasonal employees. This in turn is a much lesser impact on the community and the environment. The people that trim on these farms live here or have a steady annual income that would allow them to live here.
– farms that harvest throughout the summer do not contribute to the trimmers ability to pressure farmers into paying 200$ per pound trimmed. Farmers can not move into the white market while paying this amount. Farmers cannot find affordable employees to work their farms, while trimmers charge such a high rate.
– farms that harvest throughout the summer do not contribute to the price drop. Historically, prices rise across the summer. Every year for decades the prices have dropped significantly as a result of desperate full term farmers dumping cheap weed on the black market to pay their bills in mid October.
– farms that harvest though the summer are able to maintain employees full time and pay their employees salaries.
– farms that harvest though the summer are open for business year around.

Full term farms are a black market business model that can not transition unless large enough to convert 100% to oil production.

– full term farms fuel the black market and put unnecessary pressure on the environment.
– full term farms require water during the months when the aquifers are in danger. This requires amounts of storage that utilize water inefficiently for nonsalable biomass (70% of water used in Sept. on full term plants goes to stocks and stems), and this positions people to cheat the system taking water illegally. This required water storage is not affordable for most farmers. Water storage compliance requirements are exasperated by the water needed for full term plants.
– full term farms force large employee populations and high traffic during wet months. Roads are damaged during the rainy season. The damage is done during rainy season.
– full term farms have to process and sell ALL their product at the same time. This requires much larger drying and processing facilities. Ultimately increasing their start up cost dramatically.
– full term farms are forced to bid on overpriced trimmers and are unable to process their product in time for sale. They are through desperation bound to the black market.
– full term farms drive the price down by creating a glut every year. We never regain the price – we have now entered into our 15th  annual profit loss. The more farms that harvest in early October, the worse our economy will be. The combination of the price drop and the processing costs will kill the full term flower farms.
– full term farms are not year round businesses. They attract seasonal employees. They don’t attract year round members of the community. They are only in operation 6 months a year. What business is open half the year? This is a black market concept.
– full term farms pay their employees percentages rather than salaries. Paying your people in pounds is a black market business model.

In the end, the reason for the evolution of the light deprivation farmer was one of necessity. The farmers you want to listen to are those that changed to survive and not those that stubbornly continue in old ways. Those who have already chosen the light Dep as a business model have also chosen not to be in competition with the black market. Changing from black to white is not just about compliance costs or getting a license….it is about choosing a business model that has a history of success over model with a history of failure.  This is a factor our farmers have direct control over.

The County could go a long way to sidestepping any more environmental scrutiny and promoting successful white market permitted farming by simply telling farmers to light deprovate their crops in order to get permit approval.

The County has direct control over the roads. The private access roads are now no ones specific domain and must be the responsibility of the County. If farmers  must upgrade roads, the expense will destroy them. The trunk roads into every viable cannabis farming community must be upgraded with utilities and then serviced. Target the largest power draws. Communities with the most generators running. Upgrade them first. There are 100s of farms within a mile of service. Many of them with services running 20 miles past them on the hardtop. The process of getting a power drop added to the other compliance nightmares is impossible. No one wants to run a generator in the woods. They want electricity. With utilities comes compliance, fire safety, and watershed safety. The County must lead the way and at minimum streamline and subsidize utilities expansions.

The roads in Humboldt County will never get worse than what the water trucks and diesel trucks can safely drive on. Every road in question has delivery trucks on it all day. Truck drivers don’t drive where they can’t. The road committee will only further communities fighting among themselves. The road committee plan has not worked well as a precedent. Simply making them public roads would solve this problem.

Thanks for attending to my comments and concerns. You have worked very hard to make all this happen. We at Humboldt Growers want our County’s success more than anything. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Thank again

Tobias Hafenecker-Dodge
Humboldt Growers Collective
Our response to Humboldt’s draft cannabis ordinance – part 1… —

Our response to Humboldt’s draft cannabis ordinance – part 1…


Comments on :


I question whether these new ordinance changes will actually benefit the small farmer. The chief issue that is putting a cap on the small farmer’s success is the continuing cascade of fees and mandated demand to utilize expensive professionals. Bear in mind, that until this moment, the County did not care about road health at all and made no effort to protect the environment. Now, suddenly, the County expects the County’s citizens to pick up this cost. This looks suspiciously like the on-going effort the County and its Planning Department has engaged in over many decades to penalize and restrict the South County’s development (the Planning Department has long hesitated to grant permits to the backcountry residents of Southern Humboldt – this means that South County backcountry residents have been unable to get loans on their unpermitted property)

I would like to point out that the State’s Prop 64 considers a small farmer to be no more than 10,000 sq ft, not 3000 or 5000 sq ft. The County should consider Section Small Cultivation Sites to apply to 10,000 square feet, not the 3000 square feet mentioned. The 3000 square foot limit does not provide the small farmer with a viable economic base.

55.4.13 Humboldt Artisanal Branding is too narrowly conceived. Do not limit to 3000 square feet, 10000 square feet is more appropriate. Do not insist on organic certification, if the product is artisanal then certification is not relevant; if a farmer wants to add the extra value of “certifying”, then they can reach out to the industry. The residence requirement must remain.

For cannatourism/on-site consumption (a big money maker) to flourish, the County should lighten road requirements and also stage any road improvements over several years – it would be prudent to grandfather in as many access roads as possible. The RMA proposal must be totally scrapped as it is inherently unworkable – and it seems that the County may have already done so.

Private road systems should be grandfathered in. Requiring backcountry citizens to upgrade their roads to Category 4 is unrealistically expensive. Rather than preemptively demanding expensive road work, the County should track the traffic volume on those roads that are of concern. If there is no inappropriate traffic volume then there is no need. If road work is necessary, then the County should bear the cost; after all, the tax monies collected rely on the success of the County’s farmers. No roads = no taxes.

If the County demands that citizens improve their roads, how will the County deal with the black markets growers who use the roads and quite likely will refuse to be involved? The logic here is that other legal growers will turn them in. Does that seem like something you want your fellow citizens to do? Very ill-advised approach.

It is unrealistic to require that “Electricity must be exclusively provided by a Renewable Energy Source”. Generator use is very necessary in the backcountry and can be regulated without a blanket rejection. Basically, can we or can’t we use generators? The expense of renewable systems makes this proposed implementation unrealistic. People have been using generators for a long time in the backcountry – and, suddenly, they have to go?

Additionally, restrictions on generator use will seriously impact cannabis Nursery license holders – much Nursery activity occurs during the Fall, Winter and early Spring when solar power is at a low ebb. The Special Permit requirement for generator use should be dropped. By definition, citizens living in the backcountry will not be able to afford access to grid power. No grower wants to be “forced” to give up their own propagation efforts. Propagation centers have a very limited value.

By restricting generator use, the County will seriously impact the cannabis farmers ability to succeed. Again, requiring installation of alternative energy infrastructure is far too expensive for the farming community. Section must be re-worked; it is unreasonable to favor grid power, which is not easily accessible to backcountry farmers, and exclude necessary generator power – especially if these generators were in use at pre-existing sites. Many backcountry homesteaders have integrated their alternative power and their generator power to such an extent that it is not possible to distinguish whether the power is running the homestead or the cannabis operation.

The ordinance’s “Stored Water” concerns seem unworkable. You cannot ask citizens to bear the cost of multiple large water tanks or pond construction – this is another nail in the small farmer’s coffin. This is especially the case when no other California agriculture is required to do this – the almond growers are not required to endure a “Stored Water” requirement. Bear in mind, that cannabis farmers can only grown as much as they have water available. This means that this perceived water problem is actually self-correcting.

Additionally, all pre-existing water storage, including large tanks and ponds, should be grandfathered in.

The County should consider limiting cannabis grows to mid-summer operations, not full-term, October harvest, operations. This would go a long way to eliminating the dry season pressure on water use. Growers would be need to dep gardens to accomplish this.

I am given to understand that the Planning Department is attempting to include language that will demand code inspection on previously constructed, non-cannabis, structures. If the County has not already done so, this language must be removed from the Ordinance. It was a vast error in judgement to attempt to include this – it went quite a way towards alienating those the County professes to want to help. All backcountry structures should be grandfathered permits.

How does the County plan to apply this Ordinance to the 80% black market? This smacks of unequal application of the law and could well lead to multiple lawsuits. The black market has repeatedly survived all attempts at eradication and it is waiting with open arms for any farmer that thinks they are being unfairly oppressed by the restrictive white market that is developing.

Do not require that road exceptions are prohibited for Microbusiness or Nursery licenses. A microbusiness may sell on-line and have only a delivery truck and a Nursery does not always have visitors and often use a delivery truck to transport their product.

Bottom line? The County is asking far too much and these requests are too expensive. Every road, every pond, any development across the board, is now about to be monitored. The County did not care about this until now. Apparently, the roads have been fine til now…. Why not leave things as they are; that is certainly what the County has done up to this point?

This all needs to be staged and grandfathered. The effort the County has made to grant provisional permits was especially apt. More of this is needed.

This regulation effort does very little to ease the burdens that the farmers are bearing. Although the allowances for canna tourism are a step in the right direction.

Thanks for attending to my comments and concerns. You have worked very hard to make all this happen. We at Humboldt Growers want our County’s success more than anything. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Thanks again

Steve Dodge
Humboldt Growers Collective

Some xamples of this year’s genetic work… — October 12, 2017
The Sisters of the Valley visited the Ranch… — September 24, 2017

The Sisters of the Valley visited the Ranch…

The Sisters of the Valley, otherwise known as The Weed Sisters, came up to the Ranch last Thursday for a photo shoot with the British documentary film company Salon Pictures. We put together some lunch with staff and helped them out. They were a lot of fun.




I interviewed them on my radio show, KMUD’s The Cannabis Show, airing each Thursday from 530 to 600PM. The show archives and streams at Sister Kate, the one in the middle in the picture, is quite outspoken about helping those in medical need.

I found them to be dedicated to their task. A “sisterhood”, while not related to any conventional religion, that is doing the good work.