Grow Medical Marijuana Cash Crops – A Journey to the "Emerald Triangle"

in Humboldt County California there's so much marijuana that it literally falls down from the sky [Applause] today just like every day during this summer the authorities are hunting for clandestine marijuana plants agents are flown deep inside the Six Rivers National Forest so they can whack the plants then the contraband is flown out and later buried it's an amazing scene but the numbers behind these operations are even more unbelievable I mean this year accounting Humboldt we've seized 120 thousand plans state of California I know they're up to 3.5 million and just how much is 3.5 million marijuana plants each plant typically produces a pound of pot with a street value of about two thousand dollars on the low end so we're talking about seven billion dollars worth of weed and I think that's about 1% was out there in the county of humble welcome to the Emerald Triangle an area of three counties in Northern California were growing marijuana is big business and part of daily life I know where I live the guy behind me grows as I can smell it so the guy's growing dope he knows I'm detective Sergeant run the marijuana program it's pretty cotton-picking ramp that I think the number of people that grow is supernatural I mean if you go to you go to any town they got giant billboards everywhere for the gross stores I don't know how they could even you could begin to measure it major in marijuana is Kevin Joe Drew's job he's a licensed Master Gardener and cultivation director this marijuana dispensary in Arcadia California I need to get my major done real quick I'm screwed I'm in school for like seven years open up this store and the marijuana it sells are totally legal at least according to California law in 1996 voters here passed Proposition 215 which legalized medical marijuana in the years since prop 215 was passed one thing is certain according to Joe jury the amount of people that smoke I don't know how to measure it but it is absolutely enormous no one really knew who was a marijuana smoker till 215 came out because when 215 came out you saw all the 53 year old moms a three come out saying I smoked in college but I could not for all these years but now I have a medical tag and I will and with increased demand has come a more discerning customer one who wants better quality so right now I'm trying to pick up some trainwreck but I noticed that they have some headband here so sometimes we'll pick up 15 of those around here it's a really good strain a really good medicine these indoor grows in California's dispensaries sell the best quality weed everything that we have in the facility though is a very good cultivar it has very specific properties and it's been proven to be quality I'm trying to find something that was similar say it's like Kobe beef a few hours south of the dispensary lives Eric's lie he grows 11 marijuana plants in his backyard growers like Slyke exist in a gray area between the illegal gardens in the and the legal dispensaries his plants are perfectly legal under prop 215 but he's prohibited from processing or selling the product most of sliced time however is spent editing Gro magazine a publication for folks in the pot trade he says increased production in California is changing the market for weed the price of marijuana on all levels has dropped dramatically dramatically okay from from 1996 to now I'd say marijuana here the price has dropped almost 50% this change has affected everyone from small-time growers like sly to the huge Mexican cartels which have traditionally reaped most of their income from selling cheap low-grade pot to Americans now they're being slowly pushed out of the market and the domestic consumer is not so interested in this low grade marijuana anymore okay as as it becomes normalized as people you know start to be exposed to some of the the more valuable varieties of marijuana I think a lot of people I think a lot of people underestimated what the domestic production was really going to look like when they said hey you know let's allow you know medical users to grow marijuana back in the 6th Rivers National Forest the eradication team has located another clandestine grow site most of these hidden marijuana gardens are run by Mexicans and many in law enforcement think they're funded by the cartels back in Mexico it's their way to get back into the American market these plants can be harvested earlier than the type grown by the medical marijuana folks not to mention the cartels don't have to move their product past an increasingly fortified border they was long and hard 2279 plans and that was one of their smallest hauls this summer sergeant Hanson is the first to admit that even with all this effort he's barely making a dent in the marijuana trade here but his solution might surprise you coming from the head of the marijuana unit in the Sheriff's Office my philosophy we need to legalize it that's his personal opinion not the department's after all this is Humboldt County you

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