Though the Humboldt County-centered, true-crime documentary Murder Mountain was first released by Fusion, it saw a surge in popularity after dropping on Netflix in late December. The six-episode series takes its name from Alderpoint, a small, census-designated area of Humboldt County that has earned itself the grim, alliterative nickname with salacious tales of mystery and murder. In Murder Mountain, filmmakers show the halcyon “hippie paradise” days of early cannabis farmers juxtaposed against a modern Humboldt where more people go missing annually than any other county in California. An unresolved murder, alleged outlaw culture, a group of vigilantes, and gritty missing posters are the sometimes overly dramatic hooks of the series. However, viewers will also find heroes in long-time farmers trying to secure permits to legally grow cannabis, as well as community members dedicated to finding justice for the missing and the dead.
The narrative has been cause for controversy, with rebuttals coming from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County residents, and the filmmakers themselves. But if there’s one thing parties can agree on, it’s that Humboldt County ought to be a place where farmers can equitably make a safe and legal living. We spoke to filmmakers and subjects to get a fuller picture of “Murder Mountain” and what happens next.
Humboldt County’s Missing
Murder Mountain was directed by Joshua Zeman and produced by media company Lightbox, co-founded by cousins Simon and Jonathan Chinn. Jonathan Chinn tells High Times that they were first drawn to the county’s missing persons statistics, as well as its long-standing ties to cannabis—an industry that finally, at least in California, might offer a legal way to earn a living.
“From a storytelling point of view, it was kind of a perfect storm,” Chinn said. “All these missing people [and] a community that had a rich history. The origination story of the [cannabis] industry up there is pretty fascinating, and we were going to be there literally during the transition from black to white market.”
Just how bad is the missing persons epidemic in Humboldt County? In early 2018, The North Coast Journal found that an average of 717 people per 100,000 residents were reported missing per year between 2000 and 2016, compared to an average of 384 people throughout the rest of the state. The investigation also pointed out that some people are inadvertently reported missing more than once, some are discovered to have gone voluntarily missing, and many reappear shortly after the report is made. Rebekah Martinez, a 22-year-old California woman listed as missing in that same article, was quickly located by a tipster. Where was she? Starring as a contestant on The Bachelor. Martinez had indeed gone to Humboldt County to decompress, but a lack of cell service had prevented her from getting ahold of her worried mother or law enforcement.
For those who are so fortunate to be found alive, the lack of cell service, the remoteness of the area, and the constant influx of naive, car-less “trimmigants” hoping to work for strangers are all key reasons why, according to Murder Mountain. Plus, many people feel uncomfortable reporting suspicious or illegal activity to law enforcement.
“There’s absolutely a tradition of people up on the mountain not wanting to come forward and it makes sense,” Chinn said. “They’re like, ‘what do you do?’ ‘Well, I grow marijuana.’ ‘Oh, well, do you have a permit?’ You can understand why, in a community that has historically been engaged in a criminal activity, probably the last place you’d want to walk into is a police station.”
It’s a common issue in other black market or legally gray industries, too. The deeper underground an industry is pushed by persecution or prosecution, the more unsafe it becomes for the most vulnerable of its participants.
Soon after arriving in Humboldt, filmmakers were captivated by the story of Garret Rodriguez, a 29-year-old San Diego man whose father reported him missing in 2013. Rodriguez had told his father he was going to Humboldt County to work in the cannabis industry and, specifically, he was going to a place called ‘Murder Mountain.’
In the early 1980s, James “Michael Bear” and Suzan “Bear” Carson murdered at least three people along the West Coast. Their second victim, Clark Stephens, worked with the couple on a cannabis farm in Alderpoint. The Carsons are a big part of how ‘Murder Mountain’ got its name. So is the disappearance of Bobby Tennison, a father of four who went missing after going up to Alderpoint to work a freelance construction gig in 2009, and so is Rodriguez. A 2013 Huffington Post article on ‘Murder Mountain’ referenced long-time homesteaders who complained that the so-called Green Rush had attracted hustlers out for easy money, who brought with them hard drugs and transients.
Several months after Rodriguez disappeared, a group of eight vigilantes known as the Alderpoint 8 confronted the man they believed to be responsible at gunpoint. He would ultimately lead them to where Rodriguez’s body had been buried, but no one has been arrested. A confession at gunpoint could be considered coercion. Witnesses have been obfuscated or killed. Rodriguez was shot, but the murder weapon hasn’t been found. While many people are convinced they know who the killer is, officially, Rodriguez’s murder remains unsolved.
In the wake of Murder Mountain, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office found themselves inundated with inquiries from viewers who also wanted justice for Rodriguez. In response, HCSO issued a statement calling Murder Mountain “one side of a highly sensationalized story,” and emphasized that they could not bring a case against someone on “hearsay” alone. The statement also corroborated a point made in the documentary: some residents remain reluctant or unwilling to talk to law enforcement.
Bonnie Taylor, Garrett Rodriguez’s aunt, fired back, saying she felt the series’ depiction was accurate and it was “clear to me that [HCSO] only sought to discredit the documentary because it exposes their incompetence in the case.”
Chinn said he has nothing but respect for the HCSO, but stands by the series.
“I guess the decision they made was to sort of write it off as a Hollywood fantasy,” Chinn said. “But I don’t think that aligns with what a lot of other people in Humboldt are saying which is, ‘yeah, we’ve got a real problem here, in that there is not enough trust between law enforcement and the growing community and that needs to improve if the county is going to move in the direction that I think everybody wants.’”
The Rest of Humboldt County
Other characters the documentary followed offer a key dichotomy: those cannabis farmers who want to be legal and those who either can’t afford it or who prefer “outlaw culture.” One grower, identified only as ‘Austin,’ wants nothing to do with a legal operation. He engages in risky behavior and deals with legal and other troubles because of it.
Meanwhile, Marion Collamer is a voice of reason in the documentary. She came to Humboldt 20 years ago to work on a farm and has never left. She now raises her family with her husband, Greg, whom she met as a trimmigrant and later married. She said as soon as legal growing was an option, they jumped on it. The alternative, she said, is “a horrible way to live.”
Collamer said she initially agreed to be in the series to talk about cannabis legalization and how it was affecting Humboldt’s OGs and was surprised at the show’s true-crime focus. And while she felt like the representation of law enforcement, Humboldt’s OG growers, and the plight of small farmers was accurate, she wants people to know Humboldt isn’t a scary place. For one thing, Humboldt is big: it’s the second largest county in California, and her own farm is over a three-hour drive from Alderpoint.
“There’s one part [in the film] where this guy is saying there’s a dark energy here,” Collamer said. “There’s not a dark energy here. The Humboldt that I know is light and beautiful, and this county has given so many people so much. Yes, there are old-school farms and outlaws, but there are also a lot of people who are trying to bring new technology and the latest laws and the latest packaging—anything we can do to make our county able to fight with the Coke and Pepsis of weed that are coming in.”
In one scene in Murder Mountain, residents speak at a council meeting about the struggle of small farmers trying to become legal. Collamer says the tears and frustration captured by cameras were real. She personally believes that legalization should offer different standards for different tiers so that small farmers can get a break. To weather the storm until then, Collamer is a founding farmer with The Humboldt Sun Growers Guild and the brand True Humboldt, which is comprised of sun-grown cannabis from farms all over the area. This way, small farms can band together and hopefully stay afloat despite the high costs of legalization.
Collamer also disagrees with a quote from Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal suggesting that there’s nothing about Humboldt County that makes it a good place to grow cannabis except that its remote woodiness makes it easy to hide.
“That’s one hundred percent wrong,” Collamer said. “It is the land, the terroir, the pollinates—Humboldt County is more than just a place where weed is grown; it’s a place where it’s part of the culture and people are very passionate about making it work here.”
Further, Collamer hopes that the series doesn’t dissuade anyone curious about the area or industry from visiting.
“I would encourage anyone who was shocked or scared by Murder Mountain to come here and find out for themselves,” Collamer said. “I came here and never left. There is something special here.”
Will Garret’s Family Ever Receive Justice?
In early February, KFMB News 8 in San Diego used court records to identify the man confronted by the Alderpoint 8, something the documentary did not do. (As Chinn noted, “People are innocent until proven guilty in this country, and we believe in that.”) Humboldt County’s District Attorney has thus far opted not to file criminal charges, but all is not lost for Rodriguez’s family. The investigation remains open, and there may be some hope in an alleged accomplice who could provide witness testimony and in some of the statements provided by interview subjects in Murder Mountain. Rodriguez’s family is currently accepting donations via GoFundMe to continue to pay private investigators to stay on the case, a cost they have already shouldered themselves for six years.
Chinn said that while there is no agenda to make a sequel, they do feel as though they know what happened to Rodriguez and would be interested in returning to Humboldt if the case were to move forward.
“My desire would be that the Humboldt County law enforcement takes another look at this case and if they do, and it moves forward, and we have an opportunity to pick up the story and try to bring it to a more satisfying conclusion for the family, we’d love to do it,” Chinn said. “But we have no plans right now to do that. It’s really up to the family members and law enforcement to figure out the next step.”
If anything, filmmakers hope that Murder Mountain leads to further discussion. And, judging from the response, it’s certainly done that.
The post Inside the Murder Mountain Documentary Everyone is Talking About appeared first on High Times.
1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.
CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.
2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?
Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.
3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. Typically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!
99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.
In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?
The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.
5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?
We feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.
6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?
Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.
7. What is the best method of use?
For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.
8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?
There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.
9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?
Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative side effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.
10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?
As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.
When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.
The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.
For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.
THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?
In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.
12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?
Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.
13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?
No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.
We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor there, Cannawell.
14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?
Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†
Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.
15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?
We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. We also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.
16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?
We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.
17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?
CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.
Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.
18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).
For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.