The Emerald Triangle refers to a region in Northern California so named because it is the largest cannabis producing region in the United States. Mendocino County, Humboldt County, and Trinity County are the three counties in Northern California that make up this region. Growers have been cultivating cannabis in this region since the 1960s, and many growers in Mendocino County today have estimated they make $1 billion a year from cultivating the plant. The industry exploded in the region with the passage of CA Prop 215 which legalized use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in California. Growing cannabis in The Emerald Triangle is considered a way of life, and the locals believe that everyone living in this region is either directly or indirectly reliant on the marijuana business.
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The region of the Emerald Triangle is 10,260 square miles (26,600 km) of thick forests hidden in Northern California between the Pacific Coast and the Redwood Forest. The Emerald triangle has also been known as Behind the Redwood Curtain because the two major highways that merge the three counties, U.S. Route 101 and State Route 299, are lined with coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) trees. These roads are narrow and curvy, and they isolate this region from the rest of California. The geography and climate in this region make it easy for locals to grow marijuana tucked away in the high hills. Or to put it in simple terms, the three points of the Emerald Triangle are: Humboldt County, Trinity County, and Mendocino County.
The total population in the Emerald Triangle is 236,250 according to the 2010 census. The majority of the population is widely spread throughout the woody hills that make up the area. In this sparsely populated region, only the city of Eureka has an urban area approaching 50,000 people. The second and third largest cities, by far larger than any other cities in the region, are Arcata, with 17,231 people, and Ukiah, with 16,075 people. Locals in the Emerald Triangle have been quoted saying "All of the service economies are totally dependent on marijuana"; and in addition to marijuana sales, pot growing helps small businesses such as garden supply stores at the beginning of the season, or just about anything come harvest season in the area.