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Emerald Triangle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emerald Triangle
Map of the Emerald Triangle
Map of the Emerald Triangle
Coordinates: 40°00′N 123°30′W / 40.0°N 123.5°W / 40.0; -123.5
CountryUnited States
CountiesMendocino County, Humboldt County, Trinity County
Largest cityEureka
 • Land10,253.58 sq mi (26,556.7 km2)
 • Total236,250
 • Estimate 
 • Density23/sq mi (9/km2)

The Emerald Triangle is a region in Northern California, named as such due to it being the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States. The region includes three counties in an upside-down triangular configuration:

Growers have been cultivating Cannabis plants in this region since the 1960s, during San Francisco's Summer of Love. Growing cannabis in the Emerald Triangle is considered a way of life, and the locals believe that everyone living in this region is either directly or indirectly reliant on the cannabis industry.[3] The industry exploded in the region with the passage of California Proposition 215, which legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in California.[4] The passage of Proposition 64 in 2016 legalized the general sale and distribution of cannabis.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • The Humboldt Five | Missing on Murder Mountain
  • A Humboldt Story - Documentary
  • Emerald Farm Tours | Mendocino County Harvest Tours | Emerald Triangle - "We're Open"
  • Live from Humboldt County and the Emerald Triangle on In The Weeds Live from the Summit Lounge
  • Welcome to the Emerald Triangle : Home of Swami Select



When growing cannabis was illegal, this area was attractive due to its remoteness and limited law enforcement capabilities. The area has developed a reputation for cannabis with exceptionally good flavor and cannabinoid profiles.[5]

In 1984, Humboldt residents filed a federal lawsuit claiming they had been subject to illegal surveillance by U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft deployed by the California-based multiagency task force started the year prior, the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.[6]

As of 2023, Humboldt County has the largest cannabis farming industry in the Emerald Triangle. While the largest legal pot farm in the county was 8 acres (3.2 ha), a 2021 survey found the median pot farm size to be 0.22 acres (0.09 ha).[7]


The total population in the Emerald Triangle is 236,250 according to the 2010 census.[8] The majority of the population is widely spread throughout the woody hills and mountains that make up the area. With an area of 11,138 square miles, the Emerald Triangle population density is 21/mi2.

In this sparsely populated region, the largest urban area is the city of Eureka in Humboldt County with a population approaching 27,000 people. The second and third largest cities, by far larger than any other cities in the region, are Arcata (also in Humboldt), with 17,231 people, and Ukiah (in Mendocino), with 16,075 people.[3][9]

Environmental concerns

There is an environmental impact from outdoor cannabis production in the Emerald Triangle, which is largely unregulated. These effects include illegal damming, diversion and taking of water from streams (especially during summer), and also pesticide-laden runoff into streams, all of which may degrade critical salmon fisheries.[10][11] Clearcutting and roadbuilding for the cannabis plantations can also degrade the environment and endanger salmon.[12] The grows often occur illegally on public land.[13][14]

In popular culture

The Lookouts, founded in 1985 by Larry Livermore, who also founded Lookout! Records, was Tré Cool's first band. The punk rock band named for the fire lookout at Iron Peak in Mendocino County, which led local marijuana growers to threaten to burn down Livermore's house for bringing too much publicity to their hilly isolated region of the Emerald Triangle near Spyrock.[15] The band wrote many songs about the surrounding area on Mendocino Homeland and Spy Rock Road, an album named for the road lined with marijuana grows that leads to Iron Peak. Livermore also wrote Spy Rock Memories, a 2013 book about his time living off the grid in the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

Homegrown is a 1998 movie starring Billy Bob Thornton that follows marijuana growers in an unspecific area of the Emerald Triangle, most likely northern Mendocino County.

On the TV show Lost, during flashback scenes in the episode "Further Instructions", John Locke picks up a hitchhiker who happens to be an undercover police officer on State Route 36 and brings him back to a farm near Bridgeville, where they grow marijuana in a greenhouse.

Humboldt County is a 2008 comedy-drama about a medical school dropout who drives north to Humboldt County to live on a pot farm.[16]

In "Object Impermanence", an episode of Showtime's Weeds, Nancy Botwin drives to Heylia James' boobytrapped outdoor marijuana grow in Humboldt County.

 Discovery Channel's Pot Cops, a 2013 docuseries, followed the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office's Marijuana Enforcement Team in 2013.[17]

The 2013 book Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier by Emily Brady, is written about the marijuana industry in Humboldt County and the surrounding Emerald Triangle.[18]

Welcome to Willits is a 2016 horror movie which takes place in the Emerald Triangle.

Amazon Prime's Budding Prospects was a 2017 pilot episode for a series based on the 1984 novel of the same name by T.C. Boyle that was set in Mendocino County in the 1980s. Amazon released the pilot but did not greenlight the series.[19]

Two other nationally distributed paperback books written about marijuana cultivation in the Emerald Triangle include Steve Chapple's 1984 book Outlaws in Babylon: Shocking True Stories on the Marijuana Frontier and Ray Raphael's 1985 book Cash Crop: An American Dream.

Netflix's 2018 true crime television series Murder Mountain examines the high rate of missing people and murders in Humboldt County. The show covers the history of illegal marijuana farming including the relationship of local farmers and local authorities as the area attempts to transition into a legal cannabis industry.[20]

The 2020 film Freeland is about a longtime Humboldt County marijuana grower, played by Krisha Fairchild, growing illegally despite the availability of the legal market. [21]

The 2021 documentary Lady Buds, produced by Gravitas Ventures, which women who work in the marijuana industry in Northern California, is being developed into a scripted comedy feature film and a non-scripted series.[22]

 Hulu's 2021 docuseries Sasquatch is based on the murder of pot growers in Mendocino County in the 1990s, purportedly perpetrated by Bigfoot.[23]

The 2021 crime podcast Dark Woods, produced by Dick Wolf and set in Humboldt County that includes a trespass marijuana grow on public land, is currently being developed by Universal Television for a TV adaptation.[24][25]

See also


  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 Estimates". Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Ferran, Lee (August 3, 2010). "Legal Pot: Death of the Emerald Triangle?". ABC News.
  4. ^ Regan, Trish (January 22, 2009). "Pot growers thrive in Northern California". CNBC.
  5. ^ Roberts, Chris (September 10, 2020). "Why No Cash Crop Is More Vulnerable To California Wildfires Than Cannabis". Forbes. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Carole Rafferty (June 10, 1984), "Marijuana raids angering retirees", The New York Times
  7. ^ Black, Lester (August 21, 2023). "Critics warn 'Karen initiative' could wipe out Calif. pot farms". SFGate.
  8. ^ "The Emerald Triangle: Ground Zero for Marijuana". Medical Marijuana Blog. April 8, 2010.
  9. ^ Mahar, Josh (November 26, 2007). "Cascadian Communities: The Emerald Triangle". Cascadia Rising (blog).
  10. ^ Glenda Anderson (June 26, 2015), "Pot raids uncover "egregious" environmental damage in Emerald Triangle", The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California
  11. ^ Jeff Barnard (October 1, 2014), Biologists: Marijuana industry a threat to salmon, Associated Press – via Spokesman-Review
  12. ^ "Black-Market Marijuana Farming Is Far From Green", Science Friday, July 31, 2015
  13. ^ Josh Harkinson (March–April 2014), "The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming: This is your wilderness on drugs", Mother Jones
  14. ^ Peter Fimrite (May 27, 2016), "Allure of legal weed is fueling land rush in Emerald Triangle", San Francisco Chronicle, Environmental damage from pot farming has been a major problem for decades. Drug traffickers growing illegally, often on public land, use pesticides and fertilizers that have poisoned wildlife, including endangered spotted owls and Pacific fishers. Growers have clear-cut trees, removed native vegetation, diverted streams, [and] caused erosion
  15. ^ Livermore, Lawrence (September 15, 2011). "Spy Rock Memories, Park 9". Anderson Valley Advertiser. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  16. ^ "Humboldt County". March 19, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  17. ^ "Spotlight on North Coast Pot and Humboldt Cops". The Times-Standard. February 8, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  18. ^ Harkinson, Josh (June 27, 2013). "Quick Reads: "Humboldt" by Emily Brady". Mother Jones. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  19. ^ "Budding Prospects". Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  20. ^ Schou, Nick (February 8, 2019). "Sweet Streams: Into the Emerald Triangle's Murder Mountain". OC Weekly. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  21. ^ Linden, Sheri (April 4, 2020). "'Freeland': Film Review - SXSW 2020". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 30, 2022.
  22. ^ White, Peter (February 23, 2022). "'Lady Buds': Cannabis Doc To Get Scripted Feature Adaptation From Hellcat & Non-Scripted Series Spinoff From Yoruba Media Labs". Deadline. Retrieved September 30, 2022.
  23. ^ Gentile, Dan (April 19, 2021). "Hulu true crime doc 'Sasquatch' investigates whether Bigfoot murdered three NorCal cannabis farmers". SFGate. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  24. ^ Goff, Andrew (November 17, 2021). "Do You Need to Listen to Dick Wolf's Creepy, Set-in-Humboldt Scripted Podcast Drama?". Lost Coast Outpost. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  25. ^ White, Peter (November 15, 2021). "Dick Wolf Podcast 'Dark Woods' Gets TV Adaptation With Universal Television". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
This page was last edited on 10 February 2024, at 22:31
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