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The County of Humboldt is seeking input from the community on the recently completed Cannabis Marketing Assessment. Working with a group of cannabis professionals and advocates, county staff recently completed a Cannabis Marketing Assessment that will ultimately be used to inform the coming county-funded marketing strategy for the industry. The report is not finalized yet, however, and staff need the community to review the report and provide their perspective on the conclusions.
Please take a few moments to read the report (and keep it nearby as you answer the survey), which was developed in partnership with the Humboldt County Growers Alliance and other stakeholders, on the county website and submit your comments online to staff in the County Administrative Office – Economic Development Team. The information gathered will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on how to proceed with creating a cannabis marketing program, which will be funded through Project Trellis.
In approaching the question of a Humboldt County Marketing Assessment, this assessment centers on case studies of successful regional marketing strategies employed in other regions that depend on the export of value-added agricultural products. In particular, it considers four well-known and successful regional marketing initiatives in detail: Napa Valley wine, Bordeaux wine, Colombian
coffee, and Kona coffee. Each of these regions provide an example of value-added, high-end agricultural products that have established a connection between place and product in the minds of the market, the media, and consumers through the creation of a robust regional brand identity.
What are your thoughts on this approach, and the introduction section overall?
[Excerpt from p. 11] The question posed by this assessment is not simply how to sell the greatest amount of cannabis within the market as it currently functions. To a large extent, a successful Humboldt County marketing program would not just respond to, but seek to define and influence the direction of a legal cannabis marketplace still in its infancy.
The above is an excerpt from the section titled "Why Market Humboldt Cannabis." What are your thoughts on this section as a whole?
Humboldt’s cannabis cultivators are in a unique position within the state-level and emergent nationwide cannabis markets. Given Humboldt County’s position as 1) a major volume producer in the existing legal market, 2) a specialty producer of high-quality craft cannabis, and 3) a highly distributed producing region composed of many small farms, a marketing program should ensure legitimacy, a unified message, and long-term effectiveness.
What are your thoughts on the statement above and the section titled "The State of Humboldt County Cannabis?"
[Excerpt from p. 12] The project of building a successful regional marketing program is inextricably intertwined with the question of sustainable rural economic development. Successful
geographical indications do promote short-term sales, but they do much more than this: they seek to build resilient long-term institutions, prevent boom and bust cycles, balance the needs of the community, drive tourism and broader economic development, and more.
What are your thoughts on the section titled "Geographical Indications and Regional Brand IDentity?"
[Excerpt from p. 25] The enormous scope and organizational complexity of the Colombian coffee GI provides a useful comparison to Humboldt cannabis in some ways, while suggesting limitations in others. On one hand, it is unlikely that organization on the scale of Colombian coffee would ever become practical or necessary in Humboldt County, where total licensed cannabis farms total less than 1% of Colombia’s total coffee farms. At the same time, the Colombian example can help to elucidate the full range of
potential operations and strategies available to aspiring GIs. Certain aspects of the Colombian experience may be useful for Humboldt County on day one, while others may serve as aspirational goals over a longer-term organizational project.
What are your thoughts on the section studying Colombian coffee?
[Excerpt from p. 33] this section explores a region that seeks to compete primarily on quality rather than volume: the Kona district of the Big Island of Hawaii, where an estimated 630
farmers produce coffee on farms with an average size of just 5.4 acres. The comparatively miniscule production volumes in this region render Kona a true “specialty” coffee that seeks to differentiate itself in a unique space in a global commodity market.
What are your thoughts on the section that studies Kona coffee?
[Excerpt from p. 48] Like Colombian coffee, the vast scope and long history of the Bordeaux appellation have resulted in a highly intricate system for managing the Bordeaux regional brand. This system is deeply-rooted, highly-resourced, and inextricable from larger community structures that are tied to the fortunes of wine producers and merchants. The scope of the Bordeaux GI is well beyond anything Humboldt
County could aspire to in the short-term, but over the long-term, helps provide a roadmap for a truly global origin-based industry.
What are your thoughts on the section that studies Bordeaus wine?
[Excerpt from p. 49] Napa's reputation eclipses that of any of its winegrowers, yet it is they who created this renown.
Underlying the territorial reputation are hundreds of excellent wines, each blended from an appreciation of the valley's diverse terroir and creative viticulture and winemaking. Moreover, Napa's winegrowers have excelled in adapting and creating collective mechanisms that overcome
weakness in the value chain and capacities for self-governance… Perhaps the most outstanding
thing about Napa is the extent to which it has had to go it alone, sui generis in marketing, value
chain, appellation, social and legal initiatives.
What are your thoughts on the Napa Valley Wine case study?
[Excerpt from p. 59] In this section, we draw several lessons from these case studies that are relevant to the future of the
Humboldt County cannabis industry. In addition to the case studies already considered, we also
integrate the findings of a 2009 International Trade Centre (ITC) report on global geographic
indications. The ITC is a United Nations and World Trade Association -backed organization whose
mission is the global promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, and which holds considerable
expertise on geographical indications.
What are your thoughts on the Lessons and Findings in this section?
There are 30 recommendations for the Humboldt County Cannabis Marketing Program. What are your thoughts on recommendations 1-10?
What are your thoughts on recommendations 11-20?
What are your thoughts on recommendations 21-30?
All the Geographic Indications we reviewed for this assessment were developed as a reaction to major crises, whether global crises such as world wars, or local crises such as falling commodity prices. While each region’s success varied, one key factor stands out: communities
that come together during crises, rather than dividing into self-interested factions, can overcome the severity of the situation and emerge better equipped to handle the next one.
What are your thoughts on this section of the assessment
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