In the decades before legalization, Gary and LaDonna Haga secretively grew marijuana in the coastal redwood forests of Northern California because why wouldn’t they when it sold for $4,000 a pound?
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They knew their isolated corner of Humboldt County like the backs of their hardworking hands.
They hid plants from law enforcement helicopters and crafted elaborate platforms to grow marijuana beneath the forest canopy.
Then, California voters spoke in 2016, and recreational cannabis began to emerge from the shadows.
The Hagas could have continued to operate on the black market, as many farmers have. But they were confident there was money to be made growing marijuana in Humboldt County, now without the risk of prison.
“We thought we were the smart ones,” Gary Haga said. “We were (expletive) misled.”
Read our two-part Subscriber Exclusive story about how legalization and the state’s regulatory structure left the Hagas and several other farmers in the Emerald Triangle as vulnerable as working in the shadows did.
Part One: /
Part Two: /
Video by Kent Porter / The Press Democrat
The Press Democrat is a newspaper in Santa Rosa California covering Wine Country, Sonoma County and the North Bay.
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