Recently, "Keep Pot Illegal" bumper stickers have been seen on cars around the county. In chat rooms and on blogs, anonymous writers predict that tobacco companies will crush small farmers and take marijuana production to the Central Valley. With legalization, if residents don't act, "we're going to be ruined," said Anna Hamilton, a radio host in southern Humboldt County.
Humboldt State economists guess that marijuana accounts for between $500 million and $700 million of the county's $3.6 billion economy.
Legalization could take many forms. But the conventional wisdom here is that fully legal weed might fetch no more than a few hundred dollars a pound, as more people grow it and police no longer pull up millions of plants a year.
Illegal marijuana "is the government's best agricultural price-support program ever," said Gerald Myers, a retired engineer and former volunteer fire chief who moved to the county in 1970. "If they ever want to help the wheat farmers, make wheat illegal." [...] Talk of legalization raises a question: Is Humboldt's competitive advantage in growing pot, or in growing pot illegally?
Humboldt County afraid of being uprooted from pot perch
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