California—a state known for its sublime beaches, booming tech industry, giant redwoods, wineries, also has a rep for producing some of the dankest weed in the United States. A substantial portion of the entire nation’s cannabis comes from the Golden State, but have you ever wondered why? What about California lends itself to cannabis cultivation? Keep reading to learn why Cali is considered the cannabis capital of North America.
All over the country, California has a reputation for its unbeatable warm weather. But the state’s climate isn’t just great for surfers and other beachgoers; it also contributes to the high-quality cannabis flower grown there. Couple this with the fact that California is home to the largest swath of Class I Soil in the country, and you’ve got a recipe for top-shelf cannabis.
California is quite a large state in terms of landmass. In fact, it’s the third-largest in the whole country, behind Alaska and Texas. Because of California’s size and unique long shape, the state has different climates depending on which line of latitude you reside. Luckily for cannabis cultivators, both northern and southern California have environments that benefit growers.
SoCal vs NorCal
In Southern California, the weather stays beautiful all year round. Even during winter, it’s extremely rare for temperatures to dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This mild and pleasant climate brings in droves of tourists and also gives a particular advantage to cannabis cultivators.
Most outdoor grow operations can only function during specific times during the year—typically planting around late April and harvesting in October. However, the mild temperatures in SoCal allow cultivators much more leeway regarding when they plant and harvest their crops since the temperate winter weather doesn’t destroy the plants as it does in other regions.
While the northern half of California’s Mediterranean climate doesn’t allow farmers as much room to deviate from traditional planting and harvesting schedules, it does have a significant advantage over the southern half of the state when it comes to rainfall. The entire region, but SoCal particularly, is extremely drought-prone.
That’s why the best cannabis to grow in Southern California are more drought-resistant strains like White Widow. However, the Northern half of the state receives plenty of annual rainfall, allowing cultivators to avoid costly irrigation systems. Plus, NorCal contains what’s perhaps the most infamous cannabis cultivation hub in history—the Emerald Triangle.
The Emerald Triangle
The rolling hills above San Francisco are home to the three largest pot-producing counties in the country. You’ve got Trinity, Mendocino, and Humbolt, which many people consider to be the best county to grow cannabis in California.
During the summer of ‘67, thousands of flower children flocked to the city of San Francisco, leading many residents to seek a more peaceful life to the north of the bustling metropolis. It’s these San Franciscan ex-pats who began the tradition of growing cannabis underneath the towering redwoods in Northern California.
Today, the Emerald Triangle continues to be one of the largest cannabis-producing regions on the planet and is known for its top-shelf buds.
Legality Of Growing Cannabis In California
The anti-establishment growers in the Emerald Triangle mostly cultivate cannabis for illegal black markets. The region has a rich counter-cultural history of illegal activity that dies hard, plus growers know they can increase profits by avoiding taxable, highly regulated legal cannabis markets.
However, both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in the Golden State, and a significant portion of the cannabis growing market within California is above board.
What Are The Qualifications To Be Able To Grow Cannabis In California?
Currently, illegal grow operations outnumber their legal counterparts by nearly three times in the state of California. As a result, legal retailers and dispensaries have trouble sourcing cannabis from legitimate cultivators. This means there is still a demand for legal growers in the state.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of the world-class cultivation conditions in Cali, the first step is acquiring local approval from the city or county where you intend to grow. Next, you’ll need to apply for a cultivation license from the state itself. Keep in mind that both application and licensing fees can quickly get expensive, but it’s worth it to grow in a state like California!