I write about the multi-leveled wine industry as well as wine history. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
It seems like only yesterday California’s Humboldt County claimed or had been given the mantle cannabis capital of the state. Some have said more cannabis grows in Humboldt County than any other crop in the county or in any other county; salon.com called it not just California’s but America’s marijuana capital.
Was Humboldt County’s crowning premature? Was the Emerald Trianglemantle as the artisanal cannabis capital given to Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties premature as well?
Read Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle and it’s easy to think Sonoma County situated almost 300 miles south of Humboldt may be catching up.
First it was the craft beer industry to make inroads into Sonoma’s well-established wine industry and tourism. Now cannabis is poised to do the same. Sonoma County is believed to include 9,000 cannabis growers keeping 12,000 people employed in the medical marijuana industry. But the real rush, so to speak, is expected to begin soon with hundreds of entrepreneurs clamoring to retail the stuff for recreation.
Fimrite says the county’s popular city, Santa Rosa, views marijuana as it does beer, wine and food: as a growth industry , building tourism, jobs and defunct warehouses. In 2014 the warehouse vacancy rate was 12%; today, it’s 5% thanks mainly to marijuana. The regulations prohibit growing it outdoors in city limits.