Emerald Family Farms Logo
Emerald Family Farms, Humboldt County


Humboldt County’s Emerald Family Farms is both a conglomeration of cannabis growers, featuring more than 200 member farms, and a brand name manufacturer of quality, top shelf cannabis products. The company takes great care in growing and nurturing its plants to harvest and features a number of well-known, highly rated strains. Emerald Family Farms manufactures concentrates, edibles, pre-rolls, twax joints, and an assortment of fruit flavor vape cartridges, and distributes them, along with pre-packaged flower, in stylish, colorful packaging, throughout California.

From its humble horticultural beginnings in 2015, the Arcata-headquartered company has been  involved proactively in cannabis industry politics, helping craft the initial draft of the first “comprehensive cannabis ordinance in California,” and creating appropriate, meaningful, safe and accountable cannabis business practices. Emerald Family Farms understands that regional farmers must find common ground and work together or “be marginalized,” so they built a business based on cooperation and have taken an active role in the political, environmental, social and cultural aspects of the California cannabis industry.

As an ethical and responsible cannabis company, Emerald Family Farms has also pledged to uphold a code of conduct centered around respect for the land that yields the crop, respect for the people who care for and consume the crop, and respect for the crop, or plant, itself. Emerald Family Farms was the first in California to seek land use grow permits out of concern for the neighboring woods, watershed and biosphere. It was also the first California farm “to enroll in the regional water board program, acquire the correct Department of Fish and Wildlife permits, and…get the relevant Cal Fire permits,” enabling it to produce what it proudly calls “Salmon Safe Cannabis.” The company not only practices its values but has committed to “protect these core values of the cannabis movement, and…ensure that these values are the guiding principles of the new legal cannabis industry.” 

Emerald Family Farms, 2006
In 2006, 5,000 feet of Cultivation. EFF Expected to Grow to 30,000 feet. Photo by Andrew Goff

Emerald Family is committed to crafting a prize-worthy cannabis product line, and they have earned accolades for their brand, but they are also intimately invested in “working with smaller farmers to help them cross the hurdles of state compliance.” Emerald Family Farms self-identifies as a “California compliant cannabis distributor” and as an industry leader and model of regulatory assimilation, understands the need for growers, manufacturers and dispensaries to work together within the legal boundaries governing cannabis commerce to protect the integrity of the trade and the rights of business owners. Emerald sees a wealth of “opportunities in the California regulatory market” and understands the need for responsible business practices to ensure the legal cannabis industry’s long-term survival.

Because of its diverse makeup of growers and partners, Emerald Family Farms is able to involve itself in many areas of the cannabis industry without losing focus on its mission. Political and ethical proclivities aside, the Emerald Family Farms brand relies on the successful production, marketing and distribution of its cannabis and cannabis products, and depends on the placement of those products on dispensary shelves to attain public recognition and achieve commercial success. Emerald Family Farms manufactures and distributes a wide range of products and varieties including thirty-six different flower strains (they are “packaging new strains, daily”), sixteen strains of live resin, sauce and crumble extracts, nine pre-roll strains, about thirteen twax joint strains/combinations, ten different fruit flavored single-use vape cartridges and, in partnership with Humboldt Chocolate, a trio of edible chocolate varieties. In a 2015 High Times video, Emerald’s founder and co-owner, Patrick Murphy, recounted Emerald Family Farms’ mission to bring their business, and the cannabis industry, “to the next level,” by making inroads into more mainstream venues such as organic farmers markets.

Whether through political activism, environmental responsibility or the manufacture and distribution of top shelf cannabis, Emerald Family Farms has accomplished much for itself and the legal cannabis industry in California. They’ve also received many industry awards including top prizes at the Golden Tarps Contest, the Emerald Cup, Humboldt Cup, High Times, Hempcon, and many other competitions throughout California. But the character of the company that shines through on its website suggests that they aren’t in the business to win trophies. If asked what they identify as their most meaningful contribution to the state’s cannabis industry, the principals at Emerald Family Farms would probably cite its work “lowering the barriers of entry into the legal cannabis market for farmers” by lobbying for “the lowest tax rate on products in the state,” providing cannabis farmers with “a legal route of sales.” Let’s hope they’re making an impact. For more information about Emerald Family Farms history and role in the legal California cannabis industry, check out their website or this excellent 2016 article in the Lost Coast Outpost.


I first learned of Emerald Family Farms a few weeks ago when I picked up a gram of their Rosetta Stone sauce at a local compliant dispensary, Compassion Union. It is the only Emerald Farms product I’ve been fortunate to sample and it has been an absolute joy. The Rosetta “THC concentrate” sauce is an evenly balanced fifty-fifty hybrid, ideal for daytime dabbing or nighttime twaxing, and is adaptable to most any setting when used thoughtfully. The synergistic pairing of an evenly balanced indica-sativa hybrid with a moderated THC potency (just above 55%) affords the user greater flexibility in controlling the strength of his high. A few modest, mid-morning, low temperature dabs of Rosetta Stone sauce produce a powerful, yet very manageable, energizing, inspiring high, without a hint of paranoia or anxiety. A generous nighttime bowl of potent indica topped off with a dollop of Rosetta Stone sauce fleshes out the concentrate’s calming, relaxing, pain-relieving qualities, facilitating a near-seamless departure to dreamland.

1 gram Rosetta Stone Sauce
1 gram of Emerald Family Farms Rosetta Stone Sauce

Emerald’s Rosetta Stone sauce has a smooth, light consistency, like applesauce or jelly, and an aroma that zings the olfactories with sweetness and spice. The texture is everything you would expect from a concentrate called “sauce,” unlike some others which can be thick, sticky and caramel-like. The underlying Rosetta Stone strain was born of a marriage between a female Ginger Ale hybrid and a male White Widow hybrid, and the concentrate generously retains the sweet aromas of these parental strains. Once exposed to the nose, the odiferous sauce pierces the air with White Widow’s pungent-sweet pine intensity, following in short order with its floral bouquet and Ginger Ale’s berry undertones, then trailing off with a spicy note of Ginger Ale twang. The inert sauce retains all the subtleties of the strain’s terpene brilliance and when dabbed, particularly at lower temperatures, showcases those palatial, aromatic subtleties vividly.

The modest THC content in this Emerald Family Farms sauce is geared toward discretionary dosing, and the more consumed, the more intense the high. A small, half pea-size dab vaped at a relatively low temperature (quartz banger heated by mini-torch, never red hot), yields a few supremely tasty draws, totally smooth, no coughing. The effect is mild, comfortable, happy; an energized cerebral high without any paranoia or anxiety (coffee is a nice accompaniment). It is very easy to carry on regular activities after a low temperature, low dose Rosetta Stone dab, and the return trip is short, subtle and simple. In short, Emerald Family’s sauce is tailor made for microdosing.

The nail-dabbing learning curve teaches that smaller dabs are easier on the lungs, especially if done at lower temperatures, and are also in many ways just as potent as larger doses. The signature difference between smaller and larger dabs is that the larger produce much more heated vapor, filling your lungs and sending you off with a potently disorienting head rush. I set up my dab rig for another run at the Rosetta Stone sauce, putting just a tad larger dab on the end of my tool and increasing the heat to amplify the effect. I scooped up a saucy teardrop on the spoon end of my dab tool and set it down carefully while flipping the safety switch on my large Scorch torch. I brandished the blue flame, firing up the quick-heating quartz bucket for about forty seconds until red hot on the bottom and much of the sides, then counted to twenty and commenced to dab.

EFF Joints
Emerald Family Farms offers a variety of Pre-rolled Flower and Twax Joints

My first takeaway from the hotter dab was genuine surprise at how smooth the draw was in spite of the heat. The vapor was not harsh at all, but this time placed more gustatory emphasis on pine and earthy tones while moderating the floral, citrus and berry accents. The sauce’s vapor was heavier, with more generous draws, and while the low temp dab had me bouncing around from task to task, the hot dab took hold of my head and cascaded along the contours of my corpulence until my whole body was in a cozy cocoon. My senses softened into a pliable permeability allowing sights and sounds to traverse my sentience without disturbing my cogitative flow. I was energized on the inside, as with the cooler dab, but now also swaddled in a warm, close fitting blanket, or bubble, allowing me to feel the full effects of the concentrate without feeling vulnerable to external stimuli.

Emerald Family Farms Rosetta Stone sauce in its full potency provides the user with a number of positive, qualitative effects. It supports alertness and activity, relaxes tense muscles and alleviates stress, is intensely calming, uplifting, positive and motivating, and produces a carefully balanced body-stoned / head-high experience. As I sat writing at my computer, thoughts echoed in my mind like light conversation, while the monitor speakers in front of me spelled out the morning news. I could hear the news, yet felt totally and blissfully detached from it. I felt a bit like I was in a flying saucer. A Swedish Flying Saucer, most appropriately. Concerns of the day floated by as time hid itself away from the immediacy of the surrounding sensory stimulation and from my thoughts. Although it was only Monday morning, it felt like Saturday and that Saturday morning wake-and-bake feeling of timelessness and infinitude, when you’re all but convinced the most relaxing of morning moments will endure with a conservation of momentum, never really coming to a stop. A great feeling, even if fleeting. One feeling I did not have was hunger. No munchies at all.

Of the various conditions for which I medicate with cannabis, anxiety was most ameliorated by Emerald’s Rosetta sauce. All paranoia and nervous energy were washed away and I was hyper-focused on the moment, yet relaxed enough to allow for a smoothly gliding stream of consciousness. The only unpleasantness was an unexpected loud noise, the telephone ringing, which momentarily yanked me from my blissful repose. What this suggests to me is that Emerald Family Farms Rosetta Stone sauce is best potently consumed somewhere with a lack of unexpected, loud interruptions. Take a portable vape or dab device with you to the beach or on a moderate hike in the hills, and you’ll feel right at home, without the interruptions.

EFF Medible bites
Emerald Family Farms Medibles: Chocolate Bites in Partnership with Humboldt Chocolate

I’m eagerly anticipating my next encounter with one of Emerald Family Farms cannabis products, another sauce, perhaps, like White Tahoe Cookies or Alien OG. In such a rapidly evolving cannabis industry, with so many noncompliant, fly-by-night companies, and so many untested products, and with little brand consistency from dispensary to dispensary, it is essential to discover quality, ethical, responsible, reliable companies and products. These are the companies that will survive the chaos of legal implementation, grow their businesses and brands, and become commercial and industry mainstays in the months and years to come. I gladly include Emerald Family Farms on my list of reliable cannabis producers and look forward to their growth and to finding more of their products on local dispensary shelves. Emerald Family Farms has the right approach by looking toward the horizon and taking the time and care to navigate a safe and responsible journey to full compliance, while helping other local cannabis businesses along the way.




At this stark yet mystical moment of personal reflection and spiritual regeneration, I’m reminded of Louis Armstrong’s vocal cover of Pharoah Sanders’ spiritual jazz epic, “The Creator Has A Master Plan”. It was included on Satchmo’s last release, Louis Armstrong and His Friends, in 1970.

We can imagine Armstrong at the recording session, reflecting on his incredible seventy years of life with total peace and abundant joy, sounding  like he’d just finished hot boxing the mezziest mezzerola he’d ever held in his wrinkled hands, having the time of his life, content in all things, free to keep going wherever his Creator’s plan takes him.

Repost from  Once Was A Note :

From the 1970 album, Louis Armstrong and His Friends.  This was Armstrong’s last release before his death.  Bob Thiele at Flying Dutchman Records convinced Armstrong that it would be a good idea to put out a “friends” record for his 70th birthday. This tune is a duet with Leon Thomas on the Pharoah Sanders / Leon Thomas classic. The vocal chorus on “We Shall Overcome” and “Give Peace a Chance” include the likes of Miles Davis, Ornette Colman, Chico Hamilton, and Oliver Nelson.


Compassion Union ext
Compassion Union Dispensary, NoHo. Sleek, modern, earth-toned exterior & interior.

Compassion Union is an upscale, modern, professional cannabis dispensary in North Hollywood, California, selling recreational and medicinal marijuana and related products. While its exterior bears the ever-so-slight familiarity of a just built Starbucks cafe, it’s patient-centered inner sanctum is totally unique in that there are no display counters surrounding and separating customers from budtenders. All the products – vape pods and cartridges, edibles, tinctures, oils, concentrates, etc. – are displayed in cases along the walls of the room, while the flower strains sit in closed containers on a long table in the middle. Customers self-access the containers’ air hole covers to sample the different terpened aromas and gaze through the small, magnified portal to behold the dazzling crystalline trichomes. When customers have questions, there are budtenders standing by to assist and when closer inspection is required, they will happily pull display items from the shelves . As customers make their selections, budtenders gather the corresponding items from the back room and keep together near the register until the customer is ready to purchase.

Compassion Union shelves
Compassion Union’s self-guided inner sanctum is clean, well-lit and customer-centered.

Aesthetically, Compassion Union is a dispensary to behold, a stand-out, futuristic, streamlined medical and recreational depot. The entire facility is designed in a modern, sleek, earth-toned style, in many ways mirroring the latest packaging and design of cannabis products. Think of the Apple Store and the way in which it evokes the essence of Apple products. Similarly, Compassion Union is a dispensary seemingly designed to reiterate the style, craftsmanship and presentation of the products it sells.

Functionally – at least when I was the only customer – the self-service browsing at Compassion Union is a revelation in patient-centered cannabis commerce. None of the other six dispensaries I’ve patronized are set up this way. Here, customers enjoy the freedom to roam and peruse different items without feeling rushed or pressured. In many ways it is a boutique store featuring boutique items, catering to the discerning, deliberative cannabis consumer.  Of course, as a fully compliant dispensary, Compassion Union stocks only tested, pre-packaged and labeled cannabis products, most presented in stylish jars and handsome boxes, and believes in promoting a safe and legal California cannabis industry.

Compassionate Union waiting area
Waiting area is clean and well lit, with ample seating, water and a large screen tv.

There is no question about the quality and integrity of lab tested, pre-packaged and labeled cannabis and cannabis products. Customers armed with the confidence that they are ingesting safe, non-toxic meds experience better highs.  By ameliorating any worrying thoughts about residual solvents, molds, pests or other contaminants, which cast a shadow over what should be a euphoric and stress-free activity, the use of safe cannabis products facilitates the curative and rehabilitative potential of a cannabis high. As a medical patient-customer wrestling with the expense versus health aspects of cannabis commerce, I did feel much better about purchasing my concentrates at Compassionate Union even though I paid a hefty tax not charged at non-compliant dispensaries. It is important to think long term about the benefit to one’s health, to the health of the general public and to the future of the California Cannabis Industry, when making choices as a patient or customer, because the integrity and longevity of all three are interdependent and require responsible practices to survive.

Long Flower Table
Long Flower Table full of terrarium-like, air- and peep-holed flower display bell jars.

For a cozy, medium-sized dispensary, Compassion Union is pretty well stocked. They’ve got an accurate and current inventory displayed on weedmaps, so it is good to know that you’ll also find in store what you see on-line. The budtendress who helped me was personable, knowledgeable and confident in making recommendations and answering my questions. We didn’t get into much conversation, but she was informative and accommodating. As a first time patient, I received $5 off of one of my items, the option for BOGO 25% off vape cartridges, a free raffle entry (not sure what the prize is – maybe I’ll win!) and a free child-proof bag for taking home my meds. The dispensary requires customers to bring that bag back for their next purchase or will charge a dollar for a new one. My first raffle entry was free, but subsequent raffle tickets will similarly cost a dollar. I’ve never had any luck with cannabis raffles and giveaways, so I’m not holding in my gravity bong hit in over the drawing.  Raffle winners are contacted by phone on Saturdays and must pick up their prize by a certain time that day or lose their shot, in which case a new winner is picked the following day. They offer a delivery service, free for those in geographical range and with a minimum purchase, and a weedmaps review discount if you choose to spread the love on line.

Armed with confidence and a budget for the day’s purchases, I sought out some of the concentrates I’d seen on the weedmaps menu. Compassionate Union maintains a very ordered, organized display of all its wares, and the concentrates shelves were no exception.  The organizational detail made it much easier to evaluate my options, and as I narrowed my choices to a couple of brands and varieties, the budtendress kindly displayed them for me and gave me strain recommendations. I decided on purchasing one gram of Spliffin’ Sap distillate (Donna OG strain) & one gram of Emerald Dragon live resin (Rosetta Stone strain). I was also pleased to find a vape pod (Hash Plant strain) compatible with my Pax Era vape pen, as those recent non-compliant dispensaries did not stock them. And I can say with great enthusiasm that my purchase of an eighth of 17% THC sativa (XJ-13 strain) grown by Source Farms here in Los Angeles, which my budtendress recommended, was superlative in every way. Source’s XJ-13 is energizing and stimulating without inducing paranoia, facilitates creativity, induces happiness and does not debilitate. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it along with my morning and afternoon coffee – a perfect pairing.

CU Budtender Pen
Budtender Pen / Sales Counter housing knowledgable, friendly staff. “C U” there.

So much of what fascinates about medical and recreational legalization is the incredible diversity from one strain to the next, from one grower to the next, from one product to the next, or from one dispensary to the next. I’ve patronized seven dispensaries over the past few years, and the clearest takeaway for me is that every dispensary is different. Style, personality, implementation, presentation, stock, lighting, building, neighborhood, employees…it goes on and on. But it is these differences together that make cannabis legalization so dynamic and interesting. Compassionate Union runs a clean, well-ordered, compliant, professional business, worthy of patronage. They make sure you know exactly what you are getting, they stock quality products, and they are friendly and knowledgeable. In short, they represent the best of what was envisioned by those responsible for legalization here in California and stand out amongst all the species inhabiting the California marijuana dispensary menagerie.

Note: All photos from Compassion Union’s Yelp page.



Broadway Smoke Shop
Broadway Smoke Shop & Accessories in DTLA

Broadway Smoke Shop in downtown Los Angeles is an old school, niche in the wall smoke shop stocked to the rafters with bongs, rigs, bowls, pipes, bangers, papers, carb caps, cleaning solutions, incense, torches, terpenes…any smoking accessory imaginable, they’ve got it.

The shift from brick and mortar stores to on-line vendors has made it very difficult to see / feel / try out a product before purchase. It has also made it challenging to obtain a product on the same day you’re shopping for it. I don’t like making blind on-line purchases and really prefer taking my purchase home the day I pay for it. Unfortunately, smoke shops have largely migrated to virtual storefronts and there are fewer to visit in person. I’m fortunate to have Blues smoke shop in my neighborhood, but I knew there was a better smoke shop out there, and I was determined to find it.

When I searched yelp for a new smoke shop I noticed Broadway Smoke Shop  was very highly recommended (5 stars / 300+ reviews). I was making a trek down to USC that day and thought it would be a good opportunity for a field trip to DTLA to find a bigger quartz bucket, a new carb cap (the old one fell and shattered), and maybe a silicon mat. I mapped my way from USC over to S. Broaday & 6th Street, which was further from Exposition Park than I’d have thought. Driving in DTLA can be hectic, and I had to circle the block a few times before I found a reasonably priced lot.

Broadway Smoke Shop Shelves
Broadway Smoke Shop’s Shelves are Stocked with Glass

I parked in a lot on S. Spring St. in a building directly behind the smoke shop, so that when I came up the stairs from the garage I was right next to the store. There was only one other customer when I walked in and I was able to find what I was looking for while I waited. The salesman came by and introduced himself with a firm handshake – Jack is his name – and was very personable and knowledgable. He immediately put me at ease by asking me if I was over 21 (I’m at the mid-century mark) and we both started laughing. I told him what I was looking for and he picked out a fantastic banger with a larger bucket and a thick white quartz bottom, telling me how much it would improve my dabbing experience (and he was 100% right!) He then produced a perfect little carb cap with dual directional air flow holes at the bottom. Excellent! I think the banger cost $19 and the carb cap about $5. I also picked up some cleaning solutions for the bong and rig, and then the owner pleasantly surprised me by giving me the silicon mat gratis (!!) & (2) giving me a free small glass pipe for checking in on yelp and google. From what I’ve read, the free pipe is an ongoing deal (see their yelp page for more info). My kind of business! All in all, it was a total success, and I made it back to the car in 15 minutes so only had to pay $5 for parking.

Jack @ Broadway Smoke Shop
Jack is kind, knowledgable, personable & will get you what you need at a fair price

It seems to be the luck of the draw vis a vis whether you’re fortunate enough to live near a brick and mortar specialty store, or whether you have to search and trek to get there. For those lacking a well-stocked, affordable, service-with-a-smile, head shop in their vicinity, Broadway Smoke Shop is worth the trek. The search is done. All you have to do is go there. And while you’re there, why not hit up The Last Book Store, then grab a bite at Clifton’s. They’re all in walking distance.

Broadway Smoke Shop & Accessories is located in Downtown LA at:

624 S. Broadway



Mendocino Complex Fire Map
Mendocino Complex Fire & Other Wildfires Burning in Northern California

I’ve posted previously about my positive experience with Henry’s Original half-gram pre-rolled joints. I came across an article in HIGH TIMES magazine from last week about the near-apocalyptic juggernaut of wildfires burning in Northern California and Henry’s part in supporting victims by partnering with other groups to raise money. Henry’s has placed donation boxes in dispensaries throughout Northern and Southern California in support of North Coast Opportunities (NCO) Wildfire Relief Fund and their efforts to help those who’ve suffered losses. You can help by tossing whatever you can afford into one of these donation boxes on the way out of the dispensary on your next run.

Per High Times:

…Henry’s Original, a cannabis company headquartered in Northern California, just announced a new program to help in the relief efforts.

According to company representatives, Henry’s Original has teamed up with a handful of other groups to help people affected by the fire. The company is now working with tökr, The Pottery, The Weed, and Cannary West dispensaries to raise money and other resources for fire victims.

“Henry’s was born in Mendocino County, and we’ve been in the heart of Mendocino for years,” Henry’s Original Head of Marketing Steve Miller told High Times. “Every year, it seems like these fires are becoming more and more the norm, and it seems like relief efforts often fall on the people who have been affected the most. So we wanted to help out as best we can.”

To that end, there are now donation boxes at each dispensary location. Miller said the most important things to donate at this point are cash, gas gift cards, and grocery gift cards.

All donations raised by Henry’s Original and its partners will be channeled to the North Coast Opportunities (NCO) Wildfire Relief Fund. From there, NCO will distribute the money to those affected by the fires.

“We wanted to do more of a grassroots effort,” Miller said. “Throughout Southern California, we’ve been collecting cash, gas gift cards, and grocery gift cards. In Northern California, where we have around 70 employees, we’ve organized volunteer efforts to help locally.”

If you want to pitch in and you live in Southern California, you can simply head to a participating dispensary location. And if you live outside of California, you can still help out. Henry’s Original is encouraging folks to visit NCO’s website, where you can learn about relief efforts and make a donation.

Henry's Original
Henry’s Original Products: Generating Support for Fire Victims in Northern California