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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“We can't just be a county that supports inebriants”: Voices of the noncannabis agricultural community


Legalized recreational cannabis poses uncertainty and challenges for the noncannabis agricultural and ranching community in Northern California, including what it might mean in terms of the price of farmland and ranchland and the effects on the regional culture of diverse crop production. In-depth interviews in Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma counties with noncannabis farmers, ranchers and key individuals closely tied to the community revealed insight and an overarching concern about the future for noncannabis producers in those counties. The research was conducted in the summer and fall of 2017, when the state and counties were ramping up development and implementation of recreational cannabis cultivation policies. Interviewees expressed concern about land prices, potential crop shifts, and outside investment in the cannabis sector, and recognized the parallels and emerging alliances between wine and cannabis producers. They also identified opportunities for diversifying their production and for improving the environmental impacts of cannabis production.

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