Where I grew up, pot was as common as drinking beer. It was and still is embedded in the culture. I am fourth generation northern Californian, and smoked my first joint when I was 13 years old. By the time I turned eighteen, I was traveling the world and studying abroad whenever possible. After earning my BA in International Studies at UC Irvine in 2002, I wandered. I became addicted to cultural discovery, it became a lifestyle.
I have spent much of life abroad, exploring the furthest corners of the globe, seeking out the most immersive and unique experiences. On my journey, cannabis naturally folded into some of my fondest of memories. It continues to do so. I moved home to northern California in 2013. Through a series of trips up to the north Coast, I fell in love with west Sonoma county and Mendocino. The culture, the bohemian-leaning lifestyle, the close connection to nature, the small tight-knit communities, the fluidity of time, the lack of cell phone reception, the redwoods and rivers, and of course the cannabis. It was also at this time, that I began dreaming of the evolution of cannabis travel and tourism.
On my path, I met Pebbles Trippet, a legendary activist and cannabis pioneer. She introduced me to Dennis Peron, The Father of Medical Marijuana and author of Prop 215: The Compassionate Use Act. In my time with both Pebbles and Dennis, may he rest in peace, I have grown fond of the extraordinary cannabis history and rich cannabis culture of northern California. It is a story steeped in activism and compassion. It a story of marginalized groups, life under prohibition, and human rights. It is a story that includes power struggles, raids, communal living, and strategic court battles. It is a beautiful and important story, that deserves to be preserved, enshrined, remembered, and celebrated.
The Cannabis Trail column is dedicated to sharing the cannabis legacy of northern California. From Santa Cruz, to San Francisco, to San Rafael, to Willits, to Weaverville, we will virtually travel The Cannabis Heritage Trail, remembering and celebrating the important events, stories, and cannabis pioneers that fought for cannabis legalization we enjoy today.
Brian has led the advancement of cannabis tourism in California. Inspired by the iconic cannabis pioneers and social justice movements that are the very foundation of the industry today, Brian brings a unique perspective and immense passion to his work. Through tourism, he works to preserve, enshrine, and celebrate cannabis culture and history. Brian is the founder of The Cannabis Trail and the California Cannabis Tourism Association. He is a sought-after adviser for hospitality and tourism-based businesses. He works with destinations, hotels, and travel industry leaders to create customized hemp and cannabis strategies that entice visitors, mitigate risk, and drive revenue.