Emerald Triangle

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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; -123.5Coordinates: 40°00′N 123°30′W / 40.0°N 123.5°W / 40.0; -123.5
Country United States
State California
Counties Mendocino County, Humboldt County, Trinity County
Largest city Eureka
Area
 • Total 10,260 sq mi (26,600 km2)

The Emerald Triangle refers to a region in Northern California which is named due to it being the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States. Mendocino County, Humboldt County, and Trinity County are the three counties in Northern California that make up this region. Growers have been cultivating cannabis plants in this region since the 1960s (during San Francisco's Summer of Love). The industry exploded in the region with the passage of California Proposition 215 which legalized use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in California.[1] 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 marijuana business.[2]

Environmental concerns[edit]

Land use changes in Trinity River watershed between 2004 and 2012 showing increased clearing and roadbuilding. From J. Carah et al., BioScience June 2015

There is an environmental impact of outdoor cannabis production in the Emerald Triangle, which is largely unregulated, it can include illegal damming, diversion and taking of water from streams (especially during summer); and pesticide-laden runoff, all of which can degrade critical salmon fisheries.[3][4] Clearcutting and roadbuilding for the cannabis plantations can also lead to habitat degradation which also endangers salmon,[5] the activities often occur illegally on public land.[6][7]

Surveillance lawsuit[edit]

In 1984, Humboldt County residents filed a federal lawsuit claiming they had been subject to illegal surveillance by U-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft utilized by the multiagency Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.[8]

Population[edit]

The total population in the Emerald Triangle is 236,250 according to the 2010 census,[9] the majority of the population is widely spread throughout the woody hills that make up the area. In this sparsely populated region, only the city of Eureka has an urban area approaching 50,000 people, the second and third largest cities, by far larger than any other cities in the region, are Arcata, with 17,231 people, and Ukiah, with 16,075 people.[2][10] With an area of 11,138 square miles, the Emerald Triangle population density of 21/mi2 is about 1/10 that of California's as a whole, or about the same as that of Russia or the state of Idaho.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Regan, Trish (January 22, 2009). "Pot growers thrive in Northern California". CNBC. 
  2. ^ a b Ferran, Lee (August 3, 2010). "Legal Pot: Death of the Emerald Triangle?". ABC News. 
  3. ^ Glenda Anderson (June 26, 2015), "Pot raids uncover "egregious" environmental damage in Emerald Triangle", The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California 
  4. ^ Jeff Barnard (October 1, 2014), Biologists: Marijuana industry a threat to salmon, Associated Press – via Spokesman-Review 
  5. ^ "Black-Market Marijuana Farming Is Far From Green", Science Friday, July 31, 2015 
  6. ^ Josh Harkinson (March–April 2014), "The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming: This is your wilderness on drugs", Mother Jones 
  7. ^ 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 
  8. ^ Carole Rafferty (June 10, 1984), Marijuana raids angering retirees, The New York Times 
  9. ^ "The Emerald Triangle: Ground Zero for Marijuana". Medical Marijuana Blog. April 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ Mahar, Josh (November 26, 2007). "Cascadian Communities: The Emerald Triangle". Cascadia Rising (blog).