God Save the Queen and Her Stash of CBD
by Kat Helgeson
Over half of the cannabis consumed in the United States is produced in a remote part of Northern California known as the Emerald Triangle. As a part of the growing process, growers must carefully and manually trim the leaves away from the buds of the plant. That means hiring on extra hands to assist with the pruning.
And many growers are turning to migrant workers for help.
These workers, known colloquially as “trimmigrants,” make the trek come harvest time because they know they can make good money—generally up to about $300 for a day of labor.
But what is life like for the workers who take on this responsibility? Let us preface by saying that not all cultivators treat their workers terribly. However, there are many harrowing stories that the public should become aware of. Because trimmigrants are not protected by US law, is the work safe for them? Or has the industry given rise to human rights problems that must be addressed?
The short answer—all over. Trimming is a fairly reliable way for non-US citizens to earn an income, especially if they’re in the country during the growing season when extra hands are needed. So when you think of trimmigrants, don’t make the mistake of thinking of people solely from Latin America. Many trimmigrants have hailed from Europe, and it’s common to see tourists, and American college students taking on this kind of work.
Some estimate that as many as 150,000 people worked as trimmers this season, and up to half of those may have come from outside the US. Because this industry isn’t documented, it’s impossible to say for sure.
Why use trimmigrants instead of legal employees? The primary reason is that the Emerald Triangle supplies the unregulated cannabis market and doesn’t want to invite government oversight. In other words—what’s going on is more than just nominally illegal.
Although trimmigrants are well paid, the work itself can be tedious, painful, and exhausting. Workers have reported nonstop labor, with breaks only for meals provided by the employer. Housing is sometimes unprovided, and many trimmigrants must find places to camp out for the night between shifts. Drug use on the job is not uncommon, and may contribute to workplace injuries—trimming tiny leaves with sharp scissors is delicate work at best.
But these unpleasant working conditions reflect a better-case scenario in some instances. The dark side of trimmigrant work can produce far more unpleasant stories.
Investigators have found that female trimmers are preferred and more likely to be hired. This disparity is likely because male growers “seek female companionship,” according to an investigator for the Eureka Police Department.
In an unregulated industry, it’s far too easy for this mentality to lead to abuses. There are reports of male employers making unwanted sexual advances toward their employees. Some women report having been offered higher wages to trim while topless. Others share horror stories of having their pay withheld until they agree to perform sexual acts on their employer. Because these women are working illegally, they have no recourse to protect themselves.
In one nightmare story, a teenage girl was hired for what she thought was a standard trimming job. Instead, she was raped repeatedly by the two growers in charge. Then, fearing she would run away, the men locked her in an oversized toolbox.
Unfortunately, many law enforcement agencies still consider the cannabis industry itself to be the inciting factor in this terrible problem.
Ultimately, more oversight will only help the workers on cannabis farms by providing the protections they need to work safely. Legalization can’t come soon enough for the workers—especially the young women—in the Emerald Triangle.
This blog was originally written by Anthony Dutcher but has been updated with new information as states continue to change their regulations nationwide. Looking to find your medical cannabis in a state that hasn’t yet legalized it? It may be tempting to drive across neighboring state lines with more cannabis-friendly laws. However, the number of states…
Transporting cannabis is a tricky business, thanks in large part to the fact that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Even when you’re transporting cannabis from a state where it’s legal to another state where it’s legal—for example, driving across the border from California to Oregon—there’s a chance you might run into trouble….
Note: Veriheal does not support or endorse any political candidate or their policies. We merely report on the facts as they are presented and their implications in regards to cannabis. The state of California has a very lucrative illicit cannabis market despite legalizing it long ago, but proposed legislation might help the state combat it….
Asthma can cause permanent lung damage due to persistent coughing and wheezing- which is exactly why patients should take preventative measures to minimize coughing and wheezing. A recently published study, which includes a survey, found that a surprising amount of asthma patients smoke cannabis, despite the fact that it may induce coughing. The cannabinoids from…
Vaporizers such as vaping pens have become popular methods of cannabis consumption, especially since cannabis legalization gained ground over the last couple of years. Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe, America was facing a vaping epidemic they referred to as EVALI, which stands for “E-cigarette or Vaping product use Associated Lung Injury”. There…
Note: Veriheal does not support illegally consuming therapeutic substances like cannabis and psilocybin but acknowledges that it transpires because of the current…
Cannabis glass art is a functional art of spectacular proportions. There are many different variances of functional glass art created by a…
With cannabis still breaking free from the chains of stigma and propaganda used to ruin its reputation, many who are using cannabis…