Netflix's new docu-series 'Murder Mountain' explores the depths of the cannabis black market in the age of legal weed

Netflix has a new documentary that explores the darkest underbelly of California’s cannabis black market, which is going even deeper underground despite the current age of legal weed. ‘Murder Mountain’ covers a series of recent historical events in the famous Humboldt County cannabis growing region known as the Emerald Triangle to explore the problems of California’s old cannabis growers as they face regulation and taxation in the age of legal weed.

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‘Murder Mountain’ tells the story of Garrett Rodriguez, a 29-year-old Southern Californian surfer who came to Humboldt County in 2012 to grow marijuana and disappeared within a year. He is only one of many who has gone missing due to the violence that permeates a particularly remote corner of Humboldt County known as ‘Murder Mountain’ and a large number of unsolved crimes there.


Although marijuana is now legal in California, Humboldt’s history as a marijuana growing region stretches back to the ‘60s — plenty of time to nurture a thriving lawless underbelly. According to the six-part documentary, it’s a lawless, dangerous place where farmers are often murdered for their crop and women weed trimmers are forced to do their work topless.

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Legalization and regulation don’t necessarily appear to be the answer to all of Humboldt’s problems, however. According to the series, many of the original growers, used to an illegal market where they could avoid taxation, are afraid the new regulations could put them out of business, and see legalization as just the latest attack on their livelihood. It’s an uncertain time for the old growers of Humboldt County, and Rodriguez's story is the tale that the documentary uses to wind the whole past and present history together.

*Header image: Screen grab from Murder Mountain

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