Boveda Presents Legacy Documentary

The Emerald Triangle is a place unlike any other. Lush redwood forests coat the mountainous region, while mists from the Pacific Ocean cascade throughout the peaks and valleys. For decades, vast fields of resinous cannabis plants have dotted the landscape. Cultivated by generations of family farms, often shrouded in secrecy, the exquisite flower produced in the Emerald Triangle is revered worldwide.

Despite its accolades and rich history, the people of Northern California are suffering. What was once a thriving community has been devastated by economic strife due to the collapse of the once-great cannabis market. Over-regulation, corporate greed, and a system set up to fail have resulted in many families losing their way of life. Entire towns have been decimated, with the ripple effects reverberating throughout the community and beyond.

Legacy | Southern Humboldt County

“As a third-generation farm, we’re struggling. People are just unable to survive,” Ted Blair, owner of Canna Country Farms, said in the short documentary “Legacy,” produced by Boveda.

The generational trauma the Emerald Triangle has endured is tremendous. Between Blackhawk helicopters swarming the area, regular DEA raids, and the bottoming out of wholesale cannabis prices, it’s been heartache after heartache. But even through unimaginable strife, the commitment to the cannabis plant and the resilient nature of the people around it always shine through.

In late 2021, a team from Boveda (led by NorCal farmer Ryan Harner) spent several days in Southern Humboldt County, in the heart of the Emerald Triangle. Videographer Matt Adams captured the stories of four farmers using terpene shields with their craft flower—Ted Blair of Canna Country Farms, John Casali of Huckleberry Hill, Tina Gordon of Moon Made Farms, and Jason Gellman of Ridgeline Farms—who invited the team into their homes and gardens.

The cultivators discussed the deep roots of the region, many of them second or third-generation cannabis cultivators. They described their connections to the plant, an expression of the Emerald Triangle’s fertile soil, temperate climate, and fresh mountain air. The farmers also reiterated their commitment to one another, their communities, and the legacy of the land they hold so dear.

“It’s never going to be about one of us—it’s always going to be about all of us,” Casali frequently said.

What started as a glimpse into the soul of the Emerald Triangle became so much more as Adams and the rest of the Boveda team began to truly understand the crisis the farmers and their friends and families were facing. Bonds were forged alongside a commitment to tell the world about the indomitable spirit of sun-grown cannabis producers.

Legacy: Southern Humboldt County is the result of this life-changing journey. A 30-minute documentary showcasing the people and plants that make the Emerald Triangle what it is, Legacy is an artfully made call to action highlighting the region’s history and what’s at stake as it hangs in the balance.

The Fate of the Emerald Triangle Hangs in the Balance

During their visit to Humboldt, the Boveda team learned about the rich and storied culture of the Emerald Triangle. Many of the farmers reminisced about what it was like to grow up in the region, running around in the gardens and hiding from police helicopters that often circled the area.

They spoke of their families and the desire to pass on their farms and legacy. But the undeniable truth in modern Humboldt is one of economic uncertainty. Adult-use legalization in California, and the influx of large-scale commercial cannabis operations, have seen wholesale prices bottom out. The ripple effect can be felt throughout the Emerald Triangle.

Ted Blair, owner of Canna Country Farms

Community elder Pebbles Trippet, a longtime activist and namesake behind the groundbreaking Trippet Standard (which allows patients to travel with medical cannabis), issued a dire warning in her conversation with Adams.

“50% of the cannabis farms will be gone within another year,” she demurred.

While locals have attempted to raise the red flag to state legislators, little has been done to ease the pain in the historic region. After spending time with the people of Humboldt, meeting their families, and learning about the trials and tribulations, the Boveda team knew they had to act.

Adams recalls a particular moment when a routine videography job became so much more when Huckleberry Hill owner John Casali invited him to the top of a mountain for dinner. It was a ride he would never forget, seeing Casali stop on the winding cliff-filled roads to point out where Blackhawks used to swarm.

“Through our conversations up the hill, we gained a greater insight into how much this entire community functions together and the importance of trust, honor, and the bond of your word,” Adams recalled.

“We talked about how coming out and telling their stories on camera was a big decision for all these farmers. Johnny’s main concerns were not focused on the financial or political repercussions of being in the public eye, though. He was concerned about the responsibility and trust this community had passed onto us by inviting us into their lives and wanted us to give him our word that we would tell their stories in the right way.” 

Adams and the Boveda team thought back to their company’s core values, which echoed Johnny’s sentiments: be humble, do the right thing, and never, ever give up. 

“We gave him our word that we would tell Humboldt’s story, and I now look back at that moment as the rallying call for us all to fight for this community as well as for this plant.” 

Sharing strains is a benefit of farming in the Emerald Triangle. The years of experience and amount of shared knowledge between craft farmers in developing these uniquely individual craft strains are at risk of being lost forever.

How to Support Legacy

The Legacy documentary aims to increase awareness of the plight of the Emerald Triangle, encouraging people around the world to act. While viewers can get up close to towering cannabis plants and bask in their beauty, they can also find out how to support the fight to keep the community alive.

The farmers encourage cannabis consumers to ask questions when they visit dispensaries and see who is growing the flower they’re about to buy. We vote with our dollars, and purchasing sungrown flower from the Emerald Triangle is one of the best ways to help. And since sungrown flower tends to have more terpenes than indoor grown bud, you’ll likely want to return for more.

“By supporting these farms and supporting these brands, you’re supporting community; you’re supporting families, you’re supporting a legacy—you’re supporting a way of life – Chris Anderson of Humboldt distributor Redwood Roots says in the film.

Another way to ease the pressure would be for the federal government to approve interstate commerce of cannabis products. The Emerald Triangle is revered worldwide for its exquisite flower, and with demand in other markets at a fever pitch, exporting products throughout the country would undoubtedly improve the situation.

Trippet, along with the farmers, argues that visibility is the true way forward. The cannabis space is currently at a precipice, and history hangs in the balance.

“Tell our stories so we can pull these things together,” she said emphatically. “We control the culture and, therefore, the future. Let’s stick to what we can control and enhance it and preserve it and protect it.”