- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Down a winding mountain road in a remote redwood forest lies one of many illegal “grows” that make up Northern California’s famous Emerald Triangle, a rural region that developed over decades into a marijuana-producing mecca.

California voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The issue has sown deep division here among longtime growers, some of whom yearn for legitimacy that growers of legal crops enjoy, while others fear Proposition 64 will bring costly regulations and taxes, lower prices and the risk that corporate interests could put smaller operations out of business.

“It will end traditional marijuana farming like this,” said Laura Costa, 56, sitting in the middle of one of four 40-plant gardens, puffing on a glass pipe. “It will end our way of life.”

While Costa and other Humboldt County growers are staunchly opposed to the ballot measure, other farmers in the region support it.

“If we wait, we will fall behind,” says Swami Chaitanya, 73, a longtime grower in remote Mendocino County whose ranch is situated in a peaceful meadow of Hindu statutes and marijuana plants 5 miles down a tooth-rattling dirt road.


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