The Humboldt Economic Index has been used as a measure of economic activity across the county for over a decade, but it has never included our county’s prinicipal economic activity—pot production. Erick Eschker, Director of the Humboldt Economic Index and Professor in the Department of Economics at
Humboldt State University, is working to make the index reflect Humboldt’s real-world economy and has developed an anonymous marijuana production survey as a way to gather data while protecting the privacy of growers.
The better we can establish the importance of the marijuana industry to Humboldt County, the more credibility the grower community will have with both government officials and the non-grower general public. The marijuana economy and the community it has supported for over 30 years must become normal, matter of fact and openly discussed, not a matter for snickering, denial or wild speculation. A conspicuous perch on the monthly county economic index will not only lend credibility to what is already in place and working, but will provide a basis for identifying areas where improvement is needed.
If you’re interested in participating, see the introductory letter printed below. You can remain completely anonymous, but there needs to be a one-time verification that you are a real, local grower. You can be verified by contacting Erick Eschker directly or by going through HuMMAP. What verification means is that someone from HuMMAP whom you know would act as a one-time anonymous intermediary, telling Erick that we know someone who is willing to do the survey. He would then assign you a number which we would pass on to you. From then on, you would send in a short form directly to him each month with that number on it.
These days, that level of cloak and dagger secrecy is hardly necessary, with so many people growing very publicly under California’s medical marijuana laws. But, to get a real assessment of the economic activity in the county, it has to include as many people as possible, regardless of operation size or legal status. Erick is interested in gathering data from big and small growers, indoor and outdoor, across the county.
Charley Custer of HuMMAP can be reached at 707-923-1440 and Erick Eschker can be reached at email@example.com or 707-826-3216
From Humboldt State Department Of Economics:
Dear Community Member,
The Humboldt State University Humboldt Economic Index is creating an exciting new measure of the local economy that will track marijuana production and we need monthly data from people who are producing marijuana. All data will remain strictly confidential and we will report only an overall average and not amounts from any individuals. We are seeking data from both indoor and outdoor producers. Specifically, we need the following data each month:
1. amount of trimmed marijuana produced last month
2. amount of trimmed marijuana sold last month
3. number of employees at your production site last month
4. average wholesale price of marijuana that you sold last month
5. expected production of next harvest
We expect that it will only take a few minutes each month to report these data. We will carefully explain the specific type of data that we are seeking from you. We will work with you to find the most secure and confidential means to obtain your data. We do not need to know your name, but we need to know that we are receiving data from the same person and we must be able to contact you if we have data questions. We will assign a unique identifier number to you and will not enter your name into our records.
If we can secure on-going participation from enough people then we can provide the public the only monthly source of marijuana production information for the county. We will release the results each month when we publish the Humboldt Economic Index. This will help business people like yourself and community leaders to much more accurately gauge the state of marijuana production in this area. Your help as a new data provider would be invaluable with this important community service, and we hope that you will agree to participate on an on-going monthly basis.
We need data providers who are willing to voluntarily provide monthly data to us. Every month, the data provider will email, fax, phone, or mail in the information to the Index. Itis our experience that these data can be sent with very little effort. These data will be collected and used to form a Marijuana Index. This Index is not a dollar or quantity amount, but rather reflects changes in overall production each month. The Marijuana Index will be set so that January, 2010, say, is the “base year.” So, for example, the Index may publish that the Marijuana Index is “120” in February, 2012. This means that overall production in our sample of companies is 20% greater compared to January, 2010.
In addition to providing monthly data to the Index, we ask that you give as much historical data as possible, back to January, 2009 or earlier, if possible. This is important in order to form a consistent and useful historical data series.
Data confidentiality is strictly enforced at the Index. We know that you will only give us confidential data if you are assured that your numbers will not be made public. The only number that we report each month is the overall sector Index value. We never report actual amounts for individuals. Since we use many data providers, it is impossible for anyone to calculate a specific individual’s numbers from our report. We also never list our data providers. The data that we collect from you and our other data providers is entered into a password protected spreadsheet. It resides on a password protected computer in a locked room. Only faculty members and our two student assistants have access to this room. Our two student assistants sign a letter pledging to maintain the strict confidentiality of your data. We have never had a breach of security.
The most recent Humboldt Economic Index can be accessed at <http://www.humboldt.edu/econindex/current.pdf>. As you can see, there is no individual-specific data that are released to the public.
Thank you for your help with this important community endeavor. Please contact me if you would like to participate or have questions.
Erick Eschker Director, Humboldt Economic Index and Professor, Department of Economics Humboldt State University firstname.lastname@example.org 707-826-3216