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Humboldt is a narrative exploration of an insular community in Northern California, which for nearly 40 years has existed primarily on the cultivation and sale of marijuana. It's a place where business is done with thick wads of cash and savings are buried in the backyard. In Humboldt County, marijuana supports everything from fire departments to schools, but it comes with a heavy price. As legalization looms, the community stands at a crossroads and its inhabitants are deeply divided on the issue--some want to claim their rightful heritage as master growers and have their livelihood legitimized, others want to continue reaping the inflated profits of the black market.

Emily Brady spent a year living with the highly secretive residents of Humboldt County, and her cast of eccentric, intimately drawn characters take us into a fascinating, alternate universe.

It's the story of a small town that became dependent on a forbidden plant, and of how everything is changing as marijuana goes mainstream. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Humboldt , please sign up.

Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jun 23, Miles rated it really liked it. This was a solid three-star read, but it gets an extra star for being about a subject that is particularly close to my heart. As a Humboldt native who grew up relatively insulated from the county's ubiquitous illegal marijuana production, I became increasingly interested in the subject as I got older and realized what a huge role pot plays in the local economy. This book is an interesting glimpse into the lives of growers and normal citizens whose lives are tied to the local drug trade.

I grew u This was a solid three-star read, but it gets an extra star for being about a subject that is particularly close to my heart. I grew up in Northern Humboldt and haven't spent a lot of time in SoHum, so my familiarity with most of the settings in this book was superficial. Still, it was wonderful to read Brady's descriptions of the redwoods and the natural landscapes of the place I call home.

While I can't speak to the accuracy of her portrayal of the lives of growers, she certainly nailed it in her descriptions of the Humboldt vibe. I am about to move back to Humboldt with my girlfriend and begin my adult life there, so I am very interested in how the eventual legalization of weed will affect the local economy. I support legalization, but I don't want many of the beautiful little towns in the area to disappear if weed suddenly plummets in price.

I wouldn't mind, however, the dissolution of the wall of secrecy and danger that lingers behind the redwood curtain. Even if it comes with a temporary or even permanent economic price, I still think we need to legalize weed and bring its production, distribution, and consumption out of the shadows.

Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier by Emily Brady

I usually don't have such a personal stake in books, and I found it hard to go through this narrative in an objective way. It really broke my heart to read about all the violence that has occurred over the years because of marijuana, much of which I'd never heard about. After reading this, I am much more grateful that I didn't grow up with the marijuana trade being a big part of my life.

I know the book is focused on the history of weed in Humboldt, but I wouldn't want readers to think that's all there is to this wonderful part of California. It's a great place to live and visit, with good, hardworking people, including many law-abiding farmers who raise delicious, organic produce and livestock.

Humboldt possesses kind of breathtaking beauty that people travel across the world to see. It is a special place for lots of reasons, and the primo weed is just one item on a long list of unique, wacky things that give the county its distinct character. Even though I believe marijuana should and will eventually be legalized in California, I hope Humboldt residents find ways to peacefully and creatively keep their communities alive.

It will require a lot of effort and flexibility, but there is much worth preserving. Sep 19, Jennifer rated it really liked it Shelves: Emily Brady's study of marijuana culture focuses on Humboldt County, part of California's Emerald Triangle where a great deal of pot has been grown in the past few decades. Most of the book involves the time period just prior to the first legalization push in Cali; her book illuminates the issue from several points of view, ranging from an old-school grower facing competition from the more high-yielding indoor farms, through a social worker and a police officer to a man who lives on the bleeding Emily Brady's study of marijuana culture focuses on Humboldt County, part of California's Emerald Triangle where a great deal of pot has been grown in the past few decades.

Most of the book involves the time period just prior to the first legalization push in Cali; her book illuminates the issue from several points of view, ranging from an old-school grower facing competition from the more high-yielding indoor farms, through a social worker and a police officer to a man who lives on the bleeding edge of Humboldt's underground economy. Brady shows why many pot farmers were opposed to legalization. It's an interesting look at the economics--and the human costs--of marijuana and the war on drugs.

Mar 09, Bill Brewer rated it really liked it. Northern California has always been a big and mysterious piece of the country to me. Loggers, fishermen, students, shop owners all wrestling something out of this beautiful country. It is surprisingly rugged and remote much more so then Oregon Coast where I have lived in the past. I was down there recently and recalled all of the information that had been subconsciously been entering my mind over the years about marijuana and pulled off the main road to drive through Garberville.

It did not take Northern California has always been a big and mysterious piece of the country to me. It did not take long to drive through and out but I mentioned to my wife surely someone has written about this community. We stayed that night in Fort Bragg and got up the next morning to explore Mendocino and lo and behold this book was sitting in the local book store.

This book lets you look beyond what you see and explains why you cannot see it. There is nothing unseemly or outrageous here but just a story about people living a beautiful a rugged part of the country that use to depend on logging and fishing. It follows the lives of four people who live in this country. Rural America is beautiful but hard to live in because of employment.

These people are pioneers. As a side note I would like to thank the owners of the shops in these small towns including the book store where I bought this book. I browsed for about 30 minutes. Why are we willing to spend money on a coffee and Danish and deprive a book store owner of the right to compensation for exposing me to a book like this?

Moral of the story support the book stores you browse. Buy something so they will be there in the future to offer a respite and educational experience for us all. Jun 25, Kdorman rated it liked it. For many in Humboldt County, under the beauty and grandeur of the Redwoods in the wilds of Northern California, this meant growing marijuana for a living. Through a narrative of investigative journalism, Emily Brady illustrates the people and struggles of this relatively unique area through they eyes of its residents. Worldpeace, a girl who grew up in Humboldt, moved away, and realized that her childhood was very different from that of most other people she meets in Berkley.

It as an interesting and quick read that will almost certainly shed light on a culture with which many are unfamiliar. Mar 04, David Ward rated it liked it Shelves: I have no way to judge the accuracy of her information, and it's not really important anyway. When this book was published in , the need for a steady stream of cannabis to supply the California medical marijuana trade truly mad Humboldt: When this book was published in , the need for a steady stream of cannabis to supply the California medical marijuana trade truly made California the "marijuana frontier.

The cannabis frontier has moved east to Colorado and north to Washington where growers are racing to supply enough marijuana to meet the market demands of not just the medical marijuana trade but, in addition, the recreational trade as well! When the average disinterested citizen becomes aware of the mountains of brand new tax revenue pouring into Colorado and Washington from the cannabis market, the drug war will be over, and the tokers will have won. Sep 07, Crystal rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a very readable book about the cannabis industry in Humboldt County, CA, mostly told through the lives of four differently involved people: Mara, an aging hippie, part of those who "started it all" with the back to land movement of the '70s; Bob, a Sheriffs officer, who just spins his wheels trying to enforce an the un-enforceable law against the growing; Crockett, a cog in the commercial growing industry; Emma, who "escaped" the cycle of death and arrest among children of growers throug This is a very readable book about the cannabis industry in Humboldt County, CA, mostly told through the lives of four differently involved people: Mara, an aging hippie, part of those who "started it all" with the back to land movement of the '70s; Bob, a Sheriffs officer, who just spins his wheels trying to enforce an the un-enforceable law against the growing; Crockett, a cog in the commercial growing industry; Emma, who "escaped" the cycle of death and arrest among children of growers through education and who now wants to return to SoHum to help the youth.

Having just been to Humboldt County, I found this book elucidating and was able to visualize the locales described therein. The growers fear and voted against legalization as the prices would drop and would actually be an impact on the economy of the region. I highly recommend this book for anybody interested in California history and economy and anybody interested in where marijuana comes from.

Apr 02, Rich rated it it was amazing. A very engaging read that draws you in immediately with a colorful cast of characters Strongly recommended, for advocates, opponents, and everyone in between. Jul 17, Naftoli rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a fun and light read yet an excellent account of Humboldt's marijuana culture told through the life stories of four characters. I highly recommend it.

A really fascinating look at a community on the brink of dynamic change. Reads like fiction, but with all the interesting details only nonfiction can provide. A quick and thought-provoking read! May 30, Jessica Raya rated it it was amazing.

I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Brady a few months ago and knew instantly that this was a non-fiction writer whose book I had to read. I expected Humbolt to be smart and well-written. What I didn't expect was to be thoroughly captivated by these people and this place, so much so in fact that I'd devour the story over a weekend. Partial credit goes to the intriguing subject matter having grown up in British Columbia, where the scent of pot is as ubiquitous as Lululemon leggings, even I had m I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Brady a few months ago and knew instantly that this was a non-fiction writer whose book I had to read.

Partial credit goes to the intriguing subject matter having grown up in British Columbia, where the scent of pot is as ubiquitous as Lululemon leggings, even I had much to learn here , but far more credit goes to Brady's deft handling of it. This behind-the-livingroom-curtains look at one of America's most notorious and secretive communities reads more like a novel thanks to a cast of deeply sympathetic characters living under the threat of imminent loss. Their lives are built on stuff as strong as old growth redwoods and as fragile as a slip of paper that lets them grow medical marijuana.

The possible legalization of pot and all the changes it will surely bring, many unforeseeable, hangs hazy and heavy over all of them. What will come of Mare, Emma, Bob and Crockett? Of this special place? It was hard to close the last pages and leave them there. Jun 25, Mike rated it liked it. An interesting look at the economic and social impact of marijuana growing and legalization in rural Northern California. May 15, Genie rated it liked it Shelves: Interesting essay on the marijuana economy and culture present mostly in southern Humboldt County in California.

Humboldt county, sparsely-populated, green, surrounded by ancient redwood trees, is, in some ways, the epicenter of marijuana production in the United States. In the s, hippies fleeing corporate greed and the government's violence and hypocrisy built communities here. Now, the place is inhabited by the families they established and, increasingly, by opportunistic businesspeople who have transformed the cultivation of marijuana from a small-time, family affair into a powerful, community-defin Humboldt county, sparsely-populated, green, surrounded by ancient redwood trees, is, in some ways, the epicenter of marijuana production in the United States.

Now, the place is inhabited by the families they established and, increasingly, by opportunistic businesspeople who have transformed the cultivation of marijuana from a small-time, family affair into a powerful, community-defining industry. There is perhaps no other place where the ups and downs of the United States' ban on marijuana have been experienced more intensely.

The people of Humboldt have built schools and enriched their community in numerous other ways using marijuana profits. They have also been invaded by the U. I decided to read the book after the University of Texas, where I work, named it its "First-Year Forum" text for the school year. To clarify, this means that all students who enroll in the first-semester composition course--several thousand, in total--will be required to purchase and read the book, and then to research and write about the controversies it raises.

The obvious one is whether marijuana should be legalized, for either medical or recreational purposes, at either the state, national, or even international level. However, the stories the author shares raise additional questions, some of them more specific, all of them reminding me that the legalization debate is connected to other pressing social issues.

If marijuana is to be legal in some capacity, how is it to be grown? Is the industrial method, which raises thousands of plants in record time under intensely-hot bulbs, sustainable? If marijuana is to be restricted, how should we deal with offenders? Is it right to send as many people to prison as we have for dealing and consuming pot?

What do we make of the fact that the majority of these prisoners are black or Latino?


  • Humboldt : life on America's marijuana frontier.
  • The Diamond Princess.
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  • ‘The Lord Said, “Show My Love!” So I Will!;
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  • Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier.

If the United States legalizes or continues to criminalize the use of marijuana, what will the consequence be for the other countries from which we import so much of the drug? What responsibility do we have to help our neighbors--for example, Mexico--control their marijuana production?

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These are just a few examples. The book is "relevant," even "important," now because Colorado, Washington, and the country of Uruguay have legalized marijuana and other states and nations seem poised to follow. But I think Humboldt is more than just an intervention into a timely political debate. It is the result of a year's worth of time spent among the people of Humboldt and, as the author explains, it is just as much a "snapshot" of northern California living as it is an argument in favor of marijuana legalization.

A hundred years from now, when the business about marijuana has been settled, I think readers will be able to look back on the book as a telling cultural document as well as a finely-crafted narrative. Whatever you're more interested in now--politics or plot--I recommend you give this book a chance.

Sep 18, Valerie rated it really liked it. Since I live in Humboldt County and I have heard a lot about this particular book, I decided to read it to become more educated about the marijuana legalization issue, which is to be on this November's ballot once again in California. The author spent years with several people in Humboldt County to immerse herself in the cannabis culture so that she could write a realistic book about the subject. She uses her interviews with four main characters: Mare, Crockett, Emma and Bob, to illustrate four Since I live in Humboldt County and I have heard a lot about this particular book, I decided to read it to become more educated about the marijuana legalization issue, which is to be on this November's ballot once again in California.

Mare, Crockett, Emma and Bob, to illustrate four very different viewpoints on the drug. Mare is an "old-school" hippie, Crockett is one of the newer black market growers, Emma is a young lady who grew up in southern Humboldt County and has been around marijuana her entire life, and Bob is a deputy sheriff. I thought the author did a great job in bringing out the various viewpoints of different segments of the population regarding legalization of marijuana. For instance, many of the black market growers do not want legalization to become a reality because their profits would dramatically decrease!

When thinking about the issues, it makes sense. Then there is the viewpoint of Mare and others like her, who are 'old-school' users and growers, who believe the drug should be legalized and grown outdoors in the sun as naturally as possible. One of the most confused and frustrated type person has got to be the law enforcement officer, who in general exists to enforce the law, and many believe that marijuana should be legalized; and then taxed and marketed, etc.

The drug should be either legal or illegal, without all the gray areas that law enforcement runs up against in dealing with it. One of the things that surprised me the most is the fact that many marijuana plants are now grown indoors all year around, with the assistance of diesel powered generators, and with the use of clones rather than growing the plant from seed.

There is a school of thought that believes that this is rather a negative thing because not only is it truly not natural, but it also leaves a huge carbon footprint. I had never even thought about this issue, but then I realized when I had read about the name of a strain of marijuana with the name and the word 'diesel' behind it, I had an 'aha' moment when I realized that meant this was clone pot grown indoors. Apparently, the dispensaries that sell marijuana pay over twice as much per pound for this product than they do for the plants grown outdoors.

I had never even thought that the same plant grown indoors from clones would ever be prized more highly by anyone. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to get an overview of the issues revolving around the medical cannabis and legalization issues. It is very well written and addresses the major problems of the whole issue in a succinct and very interesting way.

Aug 05, Cheryl D rated it it was amazing.

Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier

When I first received the news that I won Humboldt my reaction was "Oh great, a book about marijuana And as a person who is against people using marijuana for recreational purposes but waffles about medicinal use it was not a subject that I particularly wanted to read about especially because I thought I ha The Economics of Growing Marijuana This was my first Goodreads book that I received via the giveaways.

Frankly, it never occurred to me that growers would not want their product legalized and I found the reasons why to be extremely selfish but not surprising. The idea of appellations and tasting rooms kind of cemented my reasons against the recreational use of Mary Jane. The last thing we need are more drug induced tragedies created by people driving stoned getting higher and higher as they sample pot legally on a "Marijuana Trail".

One of the things I really enjoyed about Brady's writing was that her characters were real, engaging, vibrant and alive. Her exploration of their lives and how marijuana impacted them was thought provoking. It made me feel sorry for all the kids of growers who have to live their lives worrying about their parents and if I bust is imminent. How scary that must be for them. And then there are the home invasions which I suspect would not go away even if pot was legalized.

I found Hippie Mare and sheriff Bob to be especially interesting folk and I worried about the safety of each. In fact, throughout the book I was sure Bob was going to be killed by a grower or deal gone bad. They are the kind of people who make legalizing pot seem like a good idea. Finally, Brady's narrative was superb and her ability to weave the tale of the illegal pot industry throughout all aspects of the book made for an excellent read. Her statistics were sobering Sadly, that was not surprising and is one of the main reasons I would consider legalization.

While her story did not change my mind about whether pot should be legalized for recreational use I learned much.. Thanks for the book. It was definitely worth reading. View all 4 comments. Jun 03, Venus Smurf rated it it was ok. I can't say that I really enjoyed this book. As legalisation looms, the community stands at a crossroads, and its inhabitants are deeply divided — some want to claim their rightful heritage as master growers and have their livelihood legitimised, while others want to continue reaping the inflated profits of the black market.

Emily Brady spent a year living with the highly secretive residents of Humboldt County, and her cast of eccentric, intimately drawn characters take us into a fascinating alternate universe. Paperback , pages. Published August by Scribe Publications first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Humboldt , please sign up.

Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Andrew Pople rated it liked it Oct 31, Matt rated it really liked it Apr 07, Katie rated it really liked it Sep 02, Graham Reed rated it really liked it Apr 11, Scribe Publications added it Aug 06, Timothy marked it as to-read Oct 18, George marked it as to-read Nov 03, Hannah marked it as to-read Mar 24, Miep1 added it Dec 05,