Traveling The Cannabis Trail #3 – Huckleberry Hill Farms

For our next stop along The Cannabis Trail we visit Huckleberry Hill Farms in Southern Humboldt to learn more about the resilient legacy cannabis farming communities of The Emerald Triangle.

Cultural Cannabis Landmark: The Resilience Of Sohum’s Legacy Cannabis Communities During The War On Drugs Era

Destination: Huckleberry Hill Farms – Redway, CA     Southern Humboldt

Honors: Surviving CAMP, Operation Emerald Triangle, and Operation Green Sweep

Storytelling: Outlaw Nation Podcast featuring Johnny Casali & Huckleberry Hill Farms

The story of Southern Humboldt and Huckleberry Hill Farms is a story of resilience. It is a story of small rural farming communities coming together to support one another during the height of the War on Drugs era. It is a multi-generational cannabis legacy story that is both inspiring and heart-wrenching. 

As part of The War on Drugs era, the Campaign Against Marijuana Plantingknown as ‘CAMP’ – was mobilized in 1983. CAMP was a task force of over one hundred law enforcement agencies that were dedicated to eradicating the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis in California. At that time, CAMP was the largest law enforcement task force effort in the United States, and southern Humboldt and The Emerald Triangle were the primary targets.

In 1985 Operation Emerald Triangle was launched as part of CAMP’s efforts.  According to the Humboldt Institute of Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, the nickname Emerald Triangle was soon widely adopted and used to identify this legacy cannabis region located in northern California. The 1990’s were defined by Operation Green Sweep, another CAMP effort that included a series of historic raids conducted by the U.S. Army soldiers, National Guardsmen, and federal agents. Operation Green Sweep marked the first time in the history of the United States that military force was used against its own citizens in a drug enforcement operation.

Huckleberry Hill Farms

Brian with Johnny Casali

Due to CAMP efforts, Johnny Casali of Huckleberry Hill Farms served time. In 1992, when Casali was just 24 years old, he was busted for illegal cannabis cultivation and spent the next 17 years of his life in and out of the federal court, prison, and probation systems. His cannabis story is like that of many others in his community who were severely penalized under the mandatory minimum prison sentencing guidelines utilized during the decades-long War on Drugs.

Since 1971, the War on Drugs has cost the United States an estimated $1 trillion according to the University of Pennsylvania.  By 2015 the federal government spent an estimated $9.2 million daily to incarcerate people charged with drug-related offenses, which equates to more than $3.3 billion annually according to the Center for American Progress.

Huckleberry Hill Farms

Today, Huckleberry Hill Farms is a stop along The Cannabis Trail and a shining example of a modern-day California cannabis tourism attraction that honors the small cannabis farming community of Southern Humboldt. Visitors are invited to tour the farm and learn about high-quality sungrown cannabis while also learning about how southern Humboldt’s culture has been influenced by the trials and tribulations of the past. 

You can experience Huckleberry Hill Farms by booking a tour with Humboldt Cannabis Tours. All tours of Huckleberry Hill Farms include a Cannabis Trail Cultural Landmark moment as part of the experience.  Prior to arriving, visitors are encouraged to listen to this Outlaw Nation podcast episode that shares Casali’s story – a story that is representative of others in the legacy cannabis cultivation community.

Huckleberry Hill Farms

Cultural Landmark Statement of Purpose

May this Cultural Landmark serve to honor the cannabis history and culture of the Southern Humboldt

and celebrate the resilient, tight-knit communities of The Emerald Triangle.

May it honor the legacy families and farmers that survived the military style raids of CAMP, 

Operation Emerald Triangle and Operation Green Sweep, 

and acknowledge the trauma and suffering that was endured.

May it shine a light on the rare bond that makes the Southern Humboldt community so special, 

And serve to remind us of the bravery that it took 

to bring the plant out of shadows and into the light.

May it be so.

Northern California is where the battle for legalized cannabis was waged. The Cannabis Trail honors the pioneers, places, and significant historical moments that paved the way for the legal cannabis access we have today.  The Cannabis Trail is an immersive travel adventure for cannabis enthusiasts, history buffs, and culture seekers seeking an extraordinary California experience. –  https://thecannabistrail.org/


BRIAN APPLEGARTH is a travel writer and innovator with a passion for cannabis travel experiences and cultural heritage preservation.

He has written for San Francisco Travel, Visit Oakland, Local Getaways, Skunk Magazine, Green State, Pineapple Express, Visit Greater Palm Springs, Visit Mendocino County and others. Brian was the sole advisor on the first ever national research on the cannabis-motivated travel audience in the United States.

He has been quoted in Forbes, The Washington Post, Smart Meetings, Travel Weekly and elsewhere, and his award-winning work has been featured on NPR, CBS, NBC, and The New York Times.

Brian is the founder of the Cannabis Travel Association International and the co-founder and co-creator of the CA State Fair Cannabis Awards & Exhibit. He leads the Cannabis & Hemp Task Force for the California Travel Association and Destinations International and is a certified cannabis sommelier Ganjier and a certified cannabis therapy consultant.

He recently published The Ganja Traveler’s Guide to the Emerald Triangle, a first-of-its-kind travel guide to California’s legacy craft cannabis region. Follow Brian on Instagram @thecannabistrail and @theganjatraveler or learn more at www.brianapplegarth.com.


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