The Hemp Connection – Sustainability and Regeneration – Garberville, CA

Statement of Purpose

May this Cannabis Trail Cultural Landmark serve to remind us that hemp is one of the most powerful renewable resources on earth. May it honor the lifes work of hemp pioneers Marie Mills and her daughter Teresa Mills.

Marie’s life and The Hemp Connection represents a story of self-reliance, bravery, vision and earth stewardship. May this Cultural Landmark serve to educate others about hemp sustainability and regeneration, and the bravery needed to bring about positive change.

May it be so.

782 Redwood Dr, Garberville, CA 95542

(707) 923-2613

Marie Mills’ life represents a story of bravery, vision, sustainability, and earth stewardship.

Marie Mills first came to Southern Humboldt County in 1980. Influenced by the Back-to-the-Land movement of the late-1970’s she camped out deep in the woods, embraced a lifestyle of self-reliance and learned to cultivate cannabis by simply doing it. Her passion for earth stewardship and hemp sustainability inspired her pioneering work.

In 1990, Marie established the very first hemp retail store in the United States since 1937 Prohibition – The Hemp Connection, located in Redway, California. Her first ten years in business were dedicated to learning how to craft handmade hemp paper from her homegrown cannabis stalks.

She continued to educate herself by trial and error, and enjoyed sharing her knowledge of designing, dying, sewing, and perfecting her line of hemp clothing products that she created. In 1998, with the help and support of her daughter Teresa, Marie expanded her retail operations to nearby Garberville.

Shortly after opening a second hemp shop – The Hemp Connection – in the town of Garberville, a group of local citizens took issue with the fact that The Hemp Connection signage prominently displayed a large cannabis leaf image. Their efforts to have her sign removed or modified motivated the Southern Humboldt cannabis community to come to Marie’s defense. It was a cultural moment for southern Humboldt.

With the support of a small group of local community activists Marie and Teresa fought back and their right to free speech and freedom of expression were eventually upheld. The Hemp Connection was closed in 2022, but the spirit lives at our landmark across the street at the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. 

Location: Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center

You can learn more about all the unique ways to explore Southern Humboldt as well as visiting The Cannabis Trail landmark honoring The Hemp Connection at the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, just across the street from where The Hemp Connection stood. The friendly staff can help you book tours, recommend places to stay, and share the stories of Southern Humboldt.

782 Redwood Dr, Garberville, CA 95542

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