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Emily Brady

Emily Brady - Author - Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier - July 26, 2013


“707” No it’s not an antiquated Boeing plane I am talking about an area code...

An area code that elicits mystery and lore, money and mayhem. It is the primary area code for Humboldt County California, the most revered and well known enclave in the world for America's number one cash crop... Marijuana.

Most have heard of it, some of you have even been there, most have not.  There have been TV shows filmed there and many documentaries about marijuana and the people who produce it.The Humboldt State University near Eureka has begun “The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research” on the campus, giving even more support to the “lifestyle”. Police activity is broadcast on local radio stations and crop and weather reports are the talk around the water cooler, which could actually be a swimming hole!

Turkey bags (oven bags used to cook turkeys, which are used by some to package marijuana) are advertised wholesale on billboards that line U.S. 101 which runs through the County, north to south along with any number of “Grow Stores” that easily outnumber the County's Starbucks locations.

This is just a small glimpse into what it is that makes Humboldt County, well Humboldt County.

Emily Brady is an author whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, Time, Village Voice, and Smithsonian, among other publications. Emily attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and began her career at an English-language newspaper in Caracas, Venezuela, and has also reported from Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Inspired by hidden worlds and untold stories, Emily’s writing has led her to explore inner city projects, the lives of undocumented immigrants, how the homeless are buried, and the blue-collar bars of Staten Island. She was born and raised in Northern California, and was a natural for her new work “Humboldt: Life on Americas Marijuana Frontier” where she brings us into a community in Northern California that is economically dependent on its black market pot crop and how everything is changing as marijuana goes mainstream.

A riveting tale that follows four interests for a trip into what clearly exists but is rarely talked about.

Emily Brady who now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area joins us to talk about Humboldt, Cannabis and her book, and maybe some of her past writing adventures as well.

Emily Brady is the author of Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier. She was born and raised in Northern California. After high school, she lived in Ireland, and then France for a few years before earning a degree in international relations from San Francisco State University and the University of Paris. After college, Emily moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where she began her journalism career writing for the local English-language newspaper, and developed a love for salsa dancing and mangoes ripe from the tree. She also learned that the best place to sit out a short-lived coup is at home with a well-stocked pantry.

Upon her return to the U.S., Emily worked as a reporter in Northern California. She then moved to New York City, where she earned her masters from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. After graduation, she spent a couple years writing about New York for the City section of the New York Times. Her freelance writing has also appeared in the Village Voice, Time, Smithsonian.com, Salon, the Daily Beast, the Columbia Journalism Review, and elsewhere. 

In 2010, Emily returned to California and began reporting on changes in the state’s marijuana industry. Her reporting eventually took her to Humboldt County, and into the heartland of America’s marijuana industry. She originally went to Humboldt for a week, but the story she found there was so fascinating that she spent a year living in a rural community of marijuana growers, learning their story and earning their trust. Humboldt is her first book.