State of the Herb in Humboldt: 3rd Annual Cannabis Expo


Sharon Letts
Kevin Jodrey, cultivation director for Humboldt Patient Resource Center, in HPRC’s Q & A booth.

Story and Photos By Sharon Letts
While Southern Humboldt’s finest has yet to fully come out of the hills of hiding, cannabis as medicine has found its way down the dirt roads, and onto the blackboard.
For the third year in a row 707 Cannabis College founders Kellie Dodds and Pearl Moon, with cohorts, have welcomed others to speak their minds on the “State of the Herb” at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, surrounded by Humboldt’s finest… redwoods and clear, blue skies.
The college sponsored Cannabis Expo has become a a place of learning, with some of Humboldt’s finest speaking out and sharing a wealth of information few have access to.
After all, Humboldt is where it all began, taking cannabis cultivation to an entirely scientific level, using biological know-how, and continuing to expand its lungs of knowledge, coming out of the green closet, and out into the open air.
Longtime Southern Humboldt grower and cultivation director of the Humboldt Patient Resource Center, Kevin Jodrey, took his place on the hot seat, answering questions from attendees on indoor or outdoor cultivation – something unheard of just a few years ago.

For this is Southern Humboldt, land of silence, keeping things the way they have always been – until now. For good medicine is on the chopping block, with the U.S. Government coming down hard on California collectives, and other compassionate caregivers across the country. Education and gatherings such as the 707 Expo help dispel myths and reinforce the good work being done for those in need.
Sharing stories has become the modern-day folklore of the cannabis movement. Longtime Emerald Triangle physician, Dr. William Courtney shared his wife, Kristen Peskuski’s story on the main stage. A lupus patient who, with Courtney’s guidance, juices raw leaves, keeping her often life threatening, myriad symptoms at bay.
Courtney introduced his wife, sharing the challenges of her illness, and how cannabis literally saved, not only her life, but the health of their unborn child. Doctors prescribed harsh pharmaceuticals for her insistent illness while she was pregnant. Dr. Courtney juiced cannabis in its raw form, without the psychoactive properties of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for his wife with miraculous results, as was evident in her entire persona. She exudes beauty, sweetness and health. 

Sharon Letts
Cannabis scholar and hemp expert Paul von Hartman flashes his credentials.

As with all cannabis endeavors, juicing has its own challenges, they shared. Growing limits hinder the process, making it nearly impossible to have enough plants on hand to provide fresh leaves for one patient.
Personal stories such as Dr. Courtney’s is what make expos such as this one important to the state of cannabis. Stories backed by experience, told by those who have walked the talk mean the most.
At one point, more than 100 years of combined cannabis activism, cultivation, and medicine stood together in a circle outside. Dr. Courtney, joined by longtime Humboldt cultivator Mark Owens, cannabis scholar and hemp expert Paul von Hartman, and longtime physician with a past, Dr. Lawrence Badgely – now focused solely on cannabis as good medicine – talking about the state of the herb.
And this, I thought, is what it’s all about. A meeting of the minds of Humboldt, on Humboldt soil. 
But, there was fun too. Mother Earth herself was there, aka, comic genius Sherry Glaser, wagging her finger on the polluting people before her, lamenting, “What have we done to the earth?” slowly pulling a plastic bag out of her mouth, proving her point.
As she told the story of creation and how it all changed with “that book,” aka, the Bible, the audience laughed and cried with her at the human folly, walking away with, hopefully, a greater understanding of our place in the past, our pollution, and our positive impact, if we only choose to love her, our Mother Earth. And we do! Who wouldn’t love an overbearing (seemingly) Jewish, “eat your vegetables, and smoke your herb” Mother Earth?
Humboldt’s coming of age was noted outside with “Humboldt Analytics,” providing testing information on soil, water and the bud. Co-founders Katie Couch and Brad Crafton said the time has come to know exactly what’s going on with soil, water, and the quality and strength of good medicine. “People want to know how to grow a better, more productive crop, but they also want to be safe, and provide as much information on each crop as possible,” Couch said. 
Cottage industry rules in Humboldt, and ice cream, candy and baked goods companies were on hand, with non-medicated treats, and other handmade items, sitting side by side with Native American treasures, and books on hemp and growing cannabis.
The 707 Cannabis College staff is all about education, but they put on a good show, too. Local hotties, “Bada Bling Burlesque,” capped off the event. A Southern Humboldt specialty, these women bare it all for good medicine in the Southern Humboldt sun with humor and sass. 
While the majority of So Hum Canna peeps stay up in the hills, those who are eager to change the world for the sake of healing are out in numbers, evangelizing on good medicine, and sharing stories on the state of the herb.
707 Cannabis College is located in Garberville. For more information on classes, or to be involved with next year’s Expo, visit its Web site,, or call, 707-672-9860 or 707-599-1406.
Sharon Letts
A delicious member of the “Bada Bling! Burlesque troop offers up chocolate goodness