Cooperative Cannabis Economy Group

The Emerald Triangle is home to innumerable ‘mom and pop’, small family cannabis farms who have been contributing to the human and ecological community for decades. Since ‘legalization’ in 2016 there has been a growing tide of corporate cannabis players who aim to extract value from cannabis, the people and the land on which it has made a name.

The Cooperative Cannabis Economy Group is a joint project of Cooperation Humboldt and the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CASP)

The Cooperative Cannabis Economy Group works to catalyze, educate, and facilitate cooperation and cooperative research and decision-making among farmers and operators. Our goals are to protect the local cannabis economy on the North Coast of California from unethical wealth and resource extraction by conglomerates and corporations, and to promote regenerative, values-driven cannabis business.


From August 6 to September 12, 2021 we conducted a survey to cannabis cultivators on the North Coast of California.

A significant 82 responses from cannabis operators came in, allowing for robust data to analyze. Compiled by the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CASP) a federal 501c3 education nonprofit, the survey findings represent the first phase of a research project studying the efforts of Cooperation Humboldt to understand what services would be of value to cannabis farmers.

In Phase 2 28 willing participants were contacted for follow-up discussions. “The surprise coming out of this study,” explains Nicole Riggs, Affiliate Researcher with CASP, “is that cannabis on the North Coast is about much more than just farming an agricultural product, it’s also a way of life: sharing genetics and resources, participating in the community and growing food and vegetables along with cannabis. The research shows that this is an essential factor for success.” Access the results below.

Meeting Facilitation

In order to move the cannabis economy forward, we recognize that farmers and other operators and community members need to cooperate with each other and have effective meetings where different people have different views and meaningful decisions are made.

We envision distribution cooperatives that eliminate the middle-man, and we hope to support the development of county-wide appellations through cooperative decision-making.

We can support this process with meeting facilitation, facilitation training, and technical support for the development of cooperative business and communication models. 

If you have Trellis funding, it can be applied to our training and support services.

Contact Cara Cordoni for more information.



In the rapidly evolving cannabis industry of 2021, Humboldt County counts more than 800 individual cannabis cultivation license holders, the most per capita in the world. These are the users for whom the project is designed. The challenges of a
well-capitalized competition and industry expectations of maximized production demand that the farmers develop meta competences to organize collectively.

In collaboration with the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CASP), we are conducting a study of our Human Centered Design Process. The case study explores Human Centered Design in action, a problem-solving methodology that is of growing interest not just in product design but also in social innovation. Human-centered design is often defined as an “approach to innovation that puts the observation and discovery of often highly nuanced, even tacit, human needs right at the forefront of the innovation process.”2 It is particularly suited to areas of high uncertainty and complex causal relationships for which a linear and data-driven approach fail to solve problems because existing data is inadequate for decision-making.

Contact Nicole Riggs for more information.


Cannabis Operator Grants

#1 Project Trellis Equity and Micro Grant program

Trellis General Site:

A. Equity Grant applications are currently closed. Equity Grant:

B. Micro Grant applications: The 2021/22 grant round is anticipated to occur at the end of 2021/early 2022. This is a competitive selection process and requires submitting a business plan. Micro Grant:

#2 Humboldt County Cannabis Mitigation and Remediation Grant Program

This program funds sediment reduction projects on public and private roads serving cannabis cultivation sites in priority salmon and steelhead watersheds. Funds to be used for improvement of water quality, road maintenance and culvert replacements.

Applications for this first year will be accepted through October 31, 2021. Use the following link for Program Eligibility and Process:

The application itself can be accessed directly from here:

#3 CDFW Grant - proposal still in the works

As of October 8th, 2021 the Qualified Cultivator Funding Opportunity of the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program is now accepting applications. Applications will be accepted until spring of 2023. All the details are at:

#4 HCGA Financial Resources for Cultivators

On the HCGA website here: