‘Abuse is Rampant,’ Screams SF Weekly About the Cannabis Community; What’s Our Reply?


Manicuring marijuana. [Photo by Kym Kemp]

After Shoshana Walter’s article on sex trafficking in the cannabis community came out earlier this month in a number of media outlets ranging from this one to Cosmopolitan, condemnation of the industry was swift. And the response continues to grow. Yesterday evening, a weekly column in SF Weekly called Chem Tales joined in with a piece this week called Abuse Is Rampant Among Pot Growers.

The article calls for “an abuse-free certification label that customers can select for in dispensaries. Qualifying criteria might include providing adequate housing, evidence of meeting payroll, and avoiding worker complaints.”

This could join other certifications such as Salmon Safe and Clean Green which are encourage cannabis consumers to support growing practices that they value.

I’ll be writing a monthly column for High Times starting in October. The editor requested the first column address our reaction to the sex trafficking article. So, Humboldt (and, the rest of the Emerald Triangle) what is your reaction? How real is sex abuse in the industry? Do you know of specific examples? Have first person accounts? Even photos that depict something to do with this? Do you feel strongly there either is or isn’t abuse? Please either comment below or (for the best chance of getting your opinion counted) contact me directly at mskymkemp@gmail.com.



  • Congrats on the High Times column, Kym!
    I have never heard of an incident of abuse, but I sure wouldn’t be as trusting of strangers taking me out to their place in the hills to work as I think some of the trimigrants are. It just seems like statistically, you’ll run into a bad one now and then. I don’t even like hanging out downtown after dark. But a stranger’s pot scene? I would vet my potential employers carefully.

    • Henchman Of Justice


      What is your renumeration value?

      Are you getting paid?

      If not, are you allowing “High Times” to profit on local work?

      It seems all profit generated by “your inputs collated and collected from US” should come back to Humboldt in a platform worthy of reparations….

      What say you?

      • You get to read her blog, that should be reparations enough for you.

      • It’s “remuneration”, there, hoss.

        • ABUSE IS RAMPANT??? These articles only mention 2 cases, one of which was mostly consensual, as reported by the victim. The mention of 352 missing in Humboldt is an entirely different issue, which makes these articles noting more than SENSATIONALIZED B.S.!!!

          • What case was “mostly consensual”?

            • I do believe the commenter was referencing a quote in the article that a woman stated sex with one man was consentual but not so much the other man. Referring to the woman who was locked in a box in lake county i think.

              • Ah, but that was hardly the only case mentioned….

                • True. People also have to realize victims of sexual crimes are granted anonymity. These stories are rarely shared in news outlets. Unless the victim tells you first hand youre unlikely to hear about it. Its often not taken seriously. They have been going through hundreds of thousands of back logged rape kits in almost every state. The departments just dont send them in for examination for whatever reason they decide. When they started analyzing them years later they caught serial rapists left and right. This issue is largely ignored nationwide. Very sad. I dont know how to share sources but if you google unanalyzed rape kits about twenty stories pop up. Sickening.

                • The only other case mentioned was “Carmen” who is suspected of making her claims to get a green card. All of the other stories of possible abuse don’t list any names or that a report was filed, which means they were probably added to the story to sell whatever paper they were published in. Did the writers get their info from the net, or did they actually take the time to contact any law enforcement agencies on the north coast to get factual information?….Think about it, Who is going to be dumb enough to commit a rape when they have so much to lose if they get raided after it is reported? It’s just not realistic since most growers, especially in the hills, hire more than 1 trimmer at a time because 1 trimmer can’t get 200 lbs or more done within a month.

                  High Times is a garbage mag with their own agenda. If that is where you think your work belongs, then knock yourself out, but you will definitely lose credibility.

                • In Shoshana Walter’s story, Kailen Meserve’s victim, the artist who was allegedly kidnapped, Amy Jarose, The teen who said she was given drugs and passed around, the Lake County victim kept in a box, and Carmen were all individually named as victims within the industry. In addition, other people who might be presumed to know–law enforcement, victims, and victim advocates–said there were more victims.

          • I don’t believe “mostly consensual” is possible. I believe a victim feeling shame is, however, and if a victim used this term perhaps that is what they were struggling with.

            • It could be that at first it was consentual but then later became not so. After the other man got involved and they locked her in a metal box. Thats the only way i see that happening.

          • “Reported” is the operative word.

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    Start abusing social justice warriors?
    Way more trafficking goes on in the Bay Area..

    How about certified Chinese restaurants while they are on the soapbox?

    Where does it end, and what is behind the negative campaign against growers? Maybe the lobby jockeying for a corporate takeover?

    Believe none of what you hear or read, and half of what you see….

  • What Neighbor said. The media loves to “fear monger”, and agencies love to propose more rules and regulations, when caution and common sense are all that are really called for here.

  • First time we’ve ever heard this.no one we know is like that and we know alot of growers.just sayin.maybe the Bulgarian’s?that happens alot in their country it’s nothing to them.like isis THEY can’t stand us!!!

  • I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never ever seen or heard of anything of that nature. Not to say that it might not exist but you’d think I would have seen or heard something by now. Fear Mongering is right.

  • Henchman Of Justice

    SAN FRANCISCO — Two women have been arrested on charges of holding four brothers captive at an illegal marijuana farm in Northern California and forcing them to work there for six months, police said Wednesday.

    The men ran away in July from the secluded pot growing operation in the small Sierra Nevada mountain range town of West Point after overhearing they would be killed after the harvest, said Calaveras County Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Macedo.

    At least one of the men, identified as brothers in a sheriff’s department statement, was also threatened by another man at the camp who had a gun and a knife and is being sought by authorities.

    “There were some males that would come and go along with the females and we are actively seeking those males,” Macedo said.

    The arrested women, Guadalupe Sierra Arellano, 43, and Medarda Urbieta, 44, were charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, battery with serious bodily injury, terrorist threats, and drug charges. They were detained by federal immigration officials and their lawyers declined comment Wednesday.

    • And there you have it…. Illegals doing as they want with no regards

    • We’re any of those arrested from Humboldt?because folks from here wouldn’t do that.or did anyone involved own property here?just curious

      • No it was in Calaveras county. This is just another article being used to give the idea that pot growers are human trafficking sex slave owning pimps. Funny they dont mention if the men were taken frim mexico or not, the mexi cartel is notorius for this type of thing.
        Along with many other folks I too have never ever seen anything close to this.

        The article by Shoshanna was so biased and poorly researched it’s too bad the SF paper didn’t do a bit more homework. Perhaps they’re taking the focus off of the story of Oakland cops being sued for sexual activities with and pimping of a minor.

        Good journalism takes a topic and researches all sides; it does not pick a side to an issue and then go do research to solely support that side of the story. I personally will not believe anything I read from the group she works for; if I want that kind of journalism i’l turn on fox news.

        Sadly people have been held against their will for a long time, in the 90’s the local man who killed a bunch of women and kept body parts in his freezer was a good Ole boy truck driver. Did we decide all truckers were awful based on that? How about the woman chained for years inside a stump near fieldbrook? Her perp was a logger and her story would never have been heard had the man’s son not come forward years after her death. Hell the womens stories coming out of fox news are showing how keeping their jobs required them to be continually sexual harassed by their boss, who even had one woman recruiting younger women for private “meetings”. Its happening on every level of society.
        Can you imagine what meth/heroin operations are doing to workers? Where’s the story there? Oh that’s right those scenes tend to be truly dangerous so cops and reporters avoid them.

        Plus the feds aren’t gonna give up the cash cow Humboldt has become for them; they’re gonna need more reasons than just pot growing to get warrants over the next few years.
        If they say they’re investigating human trafficking then a judge would be more likely to sign a warrant. Thus media stories get put out so the general public will support the busts.
        They didn’t change pots class schedule and that’s partly so they can keep busting and “confiscating” peoples assets.

        • so…are you saying it can’t happen here because we are Special?

          That it rarely happens?

          That it never happens?

          That it’s just the illegal immigrants?

          The article described how the men were asked to the Modesto home to clean, then were kidnapped..they said.
          You and I weren’t there most likely.

          This does happen, it IS the result directly of the War on Drugs and Prohibition.

          A head in the sand public relations agenda will not be accepted and believed no matter how fervent you are.

          NOONE is saying ALL growers or even MOST growers do this…

          But this story and those like it is another reason to voter for legalization however it is scammed and poorly designed by politicians and lobbyists….and growers and police and prohibitionists.

          This cannot continue.

          • I agree wholeheartedly with you. This IS happening. I’ve heard several first hand reports from trimmers I trust; and news stories just keep piling up showing a rise in claims of violent crime. Everyone knows we are under the microscope but this is the kind of thing that should not be downplayed but called out and ostracized instead. This is a big reason I am embracing regulations, I don’t want to be associated with this crap. This has nothing to do with cannabis and everything to do with Prohibition. You do not have to harm the environment or people in order to grow this plant well.

        • Henchman Of Justice

          Actually, HOJ pasted the article to show specifically that:

          Women do some really bad shit too in the pot industry.

  • Build a wall?

  • Journalo-Mob mentality. Its not a good story if everyone is behaving.

  • I hired a trimmer who gave me her first hand account story. Ever since that discussion this issue has been always on my mind when I see “trimmigrants” buying trimming supplies. We need to discuss this topic more often, so others may be educated and then hopefully be more aware of the potential dangers.

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Ya, a trimmer is a 100% trustworthy source of facts…. bogus….especially a female trimmer who uses her gender to melodramatize the story for the bleeding heart feminazis.

      • I consider “feminazis” a sexist name calling on parr with “chink,” “fag” and “nigger” and will delete further uses of it.

        • Henchman Of Justice

          Really, that is over the top Kym.

          Can you source any information that compares your thoughts to mainstream society?

          Pulling a rabbit out of the hat for semantics is “dirty social politics”.

          Are you getting paid for the High Times labor and material costs?

          Women use the term feminazi, that is how HOJ learned, from a woman!

          • Many black people use the term “nigger,” too. Please don’t on my website or I will delete it and eventually ban you.

            • “Eventually ban you” I’ll vote for that. I can’t even believe his misogynistic comments.

            • Henchman Of Justice

              But it is ok by your hand to lean a little for “nigger, chinca tu madre, faggot, etc?”

              Still surprised you used the other words which are wayyyyyy worse than femin..i……but maybe it is a female thing…..

              No worry Kym, HOJ will pray for your feminist ego protections and gender approved language counselings…..


          • It was a term coined by a nasty misogynist blowhard, Rush Limbaugh. But then you probably knew that and just used it to stir up controversy to get your daily ego fix.

        • Henchman Of Justice

          A woman taught HOJ the term, and many women of all colors and creeds use the term too, and never has any person whined about the usage until you (Kym).

            • Is that the standard now, the Urban Dictionary? That definition was BS. Paleaaase! When I think of “feminazzi” I think about a feminist who goes beyond women’s rights and finds any reason to be offended by men. The irony here is rich. Perhaps “feminist extremist” would be more PC but has it really come to this? Give me a f@#$% break. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts if someone would have used the term ” Tea Party Nazi” you wouldn’t have said shit.

              • HOJ said he’d never heard it elsewhere referred to hate speech. I used a popular source to show that many people believe that it is.

                As to Tea Party Nazi, if I didn’t define it as hate speech before, your comment will make sure I do now.

                • don’t fall for the predictable RW false equivalence arguments used to explain away the misogeny and racism.

                  Rush and all those rw culture warrior spinners have refined the technique for big pay.

                  Bogging you and this website down with the phony ‘debate’ isn’t what you or most here want, just do as YOU see fit.

                  if you want to ban hate speech however you want to define it, I support you.

                • IF you didn’t define TP Nazi as offensive before it’s likely because it’s not offensive to you and it didn’t hit a nerve. Frankly, I think people choose to be way too sensitive. Where does the banning end? I just think it’s petty to threaten banning someone, under the facade of righteousness, because their world view doesn’t comport with yours. Surely, if your true motivation was to ban hate speech you would have mentioned something in your reply to WEED HO’S about him referring to women as ho’s.

                • I’ve noticed that people using offensive names get missed by me. I’m often slapping out replies too fast to notice but, yes, Ho’s and bitches, is something that I try to edit out.

                • Henchman Of Justice


                  HOJ never said what you say, so double dare ya to copy and paste it.

                  Again, are you getting paid to collect and collate information for “High Times column”?

                  The community needs to edit your column rough draft for accuracy too before submittal.

                • Please ban this guy. He is a proven trouble maker and an obvious bored troll.

              • Henchman Of Justice

                Exactly, faux feminism tactically being played…..no different than the scum that censors free speech in one hand, but then claim to be champions of the right to protest, the right to speak freely, expressions…………….Nope, Kym will never qualify as an American by principle, but she is accepted by the neos.

              • Is Kym a liberal ? if so , Is she a liberal like unto Saul Alinski ?

            • Henchman Of Justice

              Except the urban definition example used is kinda an extreme that justifies its basis……

              (Hate speech; slur used by people who wish to insult and diminish people who support women’s rights, their tactics and beliefs.)

              HOJ emphasizes – “slur used by people who wish to insult and diminish people who support women’s tactics……”

              Response: Well no shit!

          • So does Rush Limbaugh and Beck, so there you go.

          • Definition of Chump (noun informal) a foolish or easily deceived person. Since you haven’t figured it out that everyone on here knows you are a troll. Let me spell it out for you, get a life. Make something of yourself, if you are retired get a hobby or take some continuing education classes. If you’re a kid, grow up.

        • I believe the word they are looking for is misandrist. Like the word misogynist it will be used to describe even the most minor of perceived insults.
          I was listening to what I thought would be a boring talk on the planet Mercury in astrology and found the astrologer making an observation about conflicting Mercury’s. Mercury ruling talk and communication. After she said that water sign mercury’s cannot handle fire sign Mercury’s as they are too ” hot ” in their speech
          I suspected I might not have been as big an a-hole as I was made out to be.

  • Woman are putting themselves into situations with criminals.
    What do they suspect?

  • From the article:

    Hezekiah Allen is head of the California Growers Association, which promotes the interests of small cannabis businesses and growers. He emphasized that sexual assault is a problem wherever there are migrant workers. “It’s more about the power dynamic” than specific to marijuana, he told me. Still, he said this industry is “particularly elusive.”

    Sounds like victim blaming

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Don’t believe one word about mj from Hezekiah Allen…….he is an insider wannabe convert, a deceptive personality.

      In fact, don’t believe any of the bullshit folks, it is all lies, lies and more lies.

      In 2013, US Gubbamint amended a 1948 anti propaganda law in order that the US Gubbamint could legally use propaganda against its own citizens…..

      Look it up denialists!

      • I shall take you advice and include you in those who’s opinions I value the least. You certainly have the right to express them, but that’s not what has gotten you banned in the past and hopefully the same will happen on this blog too.

        • Henchman Of Justice

          Wish you well cuz it is “not what, but who” created the hitjob of hipocrisy……funny how at that time, Kym was all high and mighty and had to make up shit that easily was refuteable when the source was irreputable…….there is a reason why LOCO and Blackbelt went their seperate ways, and it all ain’t good, that is for sure……even though Kym avoids controversy and won’t soil the LOCO.

    • I would suggest that there is good reason to assert it is not JUST where migrant workers are.

      People are exploited in every industry, Allen is working his public relations spin there, denial is creepy but denial on purpose is disgusting and inexcusable.

  • I have never seen any sexual abuse first hand, but Ive been here awhile now and I have definitely heard stories of tweaker scenes or really creepy growers abusing their position of power to have sex with trimmers. This year I heard of growers and trimmers using this mobile hook up app tinder to pick up women to trim. TALK ABOUT CREEPY, essentially only hiring women to work their scene who will also sleep with them. Growers using trim work as a way to coerce women into having sex with them is just plain wrong, and I for one look forward to the day when people like this are out of the biz and our community.

  • By the time all is said and done your going to wish it was back to the 80s black market. It’s going to be so regulated and taxed with the government up your ass for every little thing that only corperations will take it on. Wherever there are human interactions , abuse is going to exist. They can make up all the rules they want, people will still abuse other people. “Rampant”, I’m not so sure about that. I don’t know, maybe with so many clowns involved in the biz now, maybe it’s true.

  • I would ask law enforcement. I think that the CIR article touched briefly on the biggest part of the story. The fact that law enforcement does not always take seriously the complaints coming from those in the marijuana community. Where is the justice for garret Rodriguez who was murdered while working for a grow? Why is Sheila Franks and Danielle Bertolinis killer still free to walk the streets? Where is the sheriff departments outraged response to rampant sexual abuse allegations happening in our county? I don’t know firsthand of women being abused – though I do think that people are required to do way more than would be expected in any normal job and are often not paid for bs reasons at the end.

    • Walker’s article outlined a number of reasons (attitude, illegality, fear, social pressures, culture, etc.) why people don’t report these type of issues and events to the authorities. I don’t think asking law enforcement is the right approach. How would they really know if people don’t come forward and talk about it?

      I’ll betcha there are plenty of insiders who have seen and heard things that weigh heavily on their minds. This might be a good forum to purge the guilt and to do something that helps others (no matter the industry but particularly those that operate in the black market/back woods). It would be interesting to address some of these posters’ comments by understanding aspects of human behavior as it relates cultural criminology.

      Kym, I think “High Times” is a good start. The marijuana industry isn’t all peaceful and perfect. These types of social problems stem from high amounts of money, greed and power which unregulated, black market marijuana production and sales inspire. It’s social problem that I think those in the industry who are closest to it (those willing to be honest) can and should help solve.

      There are a lot of problems that stem from this industry but for me, the human condition one is the most important.

  • I’ve been involved with cultivation my whole life and I have NEVER met anyone who makes their trimmers work topless. And pretty much every really creepy cannibus story I’ve heard was related to a scene where meth and other hard drugs we’re consumed… But like others have said just cause I haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist…. Can’t wait to read you in high time

  • Some of these comments are unbelievable. The Bulgarians did it. And all the comments from HOJ. Ignorance at it’s finest.

  • I would be more worried about cutie female trimmers being scouts for home invasion teams.
    When we went from “gardens” to “industry” & “farms”, we were lost

  • Congratulations on the HT gig!
    I have been gone a long time but there were always some growers that were known to be bad news for female trimmers.
    I suspect that any increase in problems is simply reflective of an increase in the number of new growers and transient trimmers- the newer growers are less likely to be interested in becoming part of the community, they’re just looking for profit, not a home- and the trimmers lack the advantage of the social network in which the ladies share information about the working conditions and nobody has the protections and obligations that come with being friends, neighbors, and having known each other’s parents, children and ex-spouses cousins for 3 generations.

  • i here more about sexual assaults at reggae on the river then with trimmers!What is really a scare is the people that just vanish thats what people should be talking about! Every year the posters go up!

  • Weed Ho's Been Around Since Beginning

    Kym back in the day, we are talking the 80’s there was guy driving around southern humboldt in a VW van w/ prostitutes. He was going from ranch to ranch pimping out the girls and selling seeds to the growers. Turned out the guy was one the first growers to really capitalize on the seed business. He got a lot or early farmers going and showed them a good time during harvest w/ the ladies. They were all white and willing. Nothing abusive. They were just making money. Last I heard the was a photo of the guy skate boarding through the middle of a big greenhouse filled w/ plants. He blew up huge greenhouse way before 215 and before everyone was on that program. This was late 80’s. Pimps & Ho’s have been a part of the Humboldt grow scene since the beginning. Remember during harvest copious amounts of cocaine is consumed. This tends to get the farmers and their workers very horny. Seemed like a good service at the time. Keep in mind this story was told to me 1st hand from an old school grower who was one of the pioneers of the current weed scene.

  • Kym ,
    All I know on this subject is what I read in the news .I recall there was some creeps in lake county who had imprisoned a teen girl on there pot grow .kayln Meserve out in p town is a convicted rapist.Idk other than those and what was in the news today .an epidemic problem ?At least by what’s reported it doesn’t seem so .I read more about unarmed black men being shot dead by police ,that’s for sure.

  • High Times, huh? You mean the shitty rag full of bikini clad bimbos offering dabs? Watch out, they’ll probably skew and paraphrase your article to suit whatever their agenda is these days. And yeah I think this is 90% bullshit but problems exist in every industry, right Roger Ailes?

  • I have been working in the industry for 8 years. I don’t go out into the hills anymore, work on town is much better, I want to sleep in my bed, and work year round, not just bust my butt in a cold tent for 2 months.
    I Always work for respectful people and classy conditions. Trim mom’s, or pops feed us a meal a day, and pay top dollar. None of this 150 I’ve heard rumors of. Not to say that won’t change in the future. But I hope to switch to a local legal job by then.
    Worst stories I hear about are trips to the hospital for injuries sustained while working hard outside.
    If you treat your workers well, you wouldn’t have to have random trimmers every year. I’m sure it happens, but I haven’t seen it. I think every employer I’ve had, is married or in a long term committed relationship. Love my mom n pop work! Those big big grows are greedy, gross and killing the market!

  • I don’t believe sex trafficking in the local pot industry is rampant. In the decades I’ve been around the pot scene in the hills and of the dozens of growers I know or have met, I’ve never run across anyone with direct knowledge of sexual abuse of young workers, or sex trafficking, or even second hand stories and gossip. What I have heard are lots of stories of people who didn’t fit into a scene and who caused unnecessary drama and typical relationships that broke up in the usual bunch of melodrama you’ll find anywhere.

    One immature young lady I personally knew and tried to help finally got 86ed and our mutual friend let her stay with her, but finally bought her a ticket home and put her on a bus in Arcata after causing drama at three scenes of my neighbors. No one abused her, but we’re not social workers and parents for everyone who comes here to join a crew. The reality of trim work didn’t meet her preconceived fantasies of what life is like here. Not everyone can sit and trim over a pound a day, not all buds are big perfect easy to trim specimens fit for a High Times cover photo, you have to trim the smalls along with the bigs, not every attractive young guy is looking to hook up, not everyone is willing to buy special foods to meet your unusual dietary preferences, and nobody wants anyone around who upsets the vibe and impedes the work flow.

    What is absolutely rampant is not just local, it’s the media outlets looking for sensationalist stories, clickbait to generate advertising revenues, so in this case that’s generating negative publicity for the Emerald Triangle growers. The author and publisher picked a story of a woman who was abused by a sexual predator and then padded her ordeal with some old sensational news from Lake County, a lot of hearsay, rumor and innuendo and little fact checking. It’s all too common that journalistic integrity is stretched to the limit or dispensed with altogether as media outlets try to survive the internet competition.

    Sexual predators are everywhere and sex trafficking is everywhere, even in small middle America towns, even in schools and churches. Take a cross section of most groups of people and you’ll find those who prey on weaker, vulnerable people, people desperate for some money who are willing to trade their bodies for it and people just looking for some quick sexual gratification with no strings. In that sense we’re no different, we have all those things, but where we are different is that the outlaw mystique of marijuana grown in remote places and the chance of acquiring some easy money are a powerful magnet that attracts people from all over the world looking to have some adventure and escape boredom. Including journalists. A fresh crop comes every year—some have a good time, some don’t.

    So is it safe here? I think it is. I think that if you could accurately count the number of people who are involved in the pot industry and accurately count the cases of abuse, the numbers would in no way be considered rampant compared to other places on an annual per capita basis. I’m not excusing abuse in any shape or form, that’s just my view of the reality.

    What we’re seeing in the string of critical articles, inspired by one story is very common in the internet sphere. One person publishes an article and dozens of outlets rush to do some quick rewrites and throw in bits of their own agenda. It’s a flash fire. There’s just not enough fuel to keep it going and as soon as something more sensational comes along this story will fade away. click-click-click

    Where it might come back to haunt us is that politicians and others in the pot industry could begin to treat the story as fact and use it to justify their own agendas.

    • Already done. Don’t trust the man. That’s the whole point of being in this world anyway. So anyone that does is doomed. Have fun. Being a slave
      . Kim. Stop using the n word in quotations please. I can’t stand white people that do that.

      • It is proper grammar to put a word in quotation marks when you are talking about the word. For instance, in the sentence, “I often use the term ‘trimigrant’ to refer to trimmers that come to the area to work in the cannabis industry,” the word “trimmigrant” must be in quotes. Thus, in the sentence you are referring to not putting the “n word” in quotes is incorrect.

    • Very well articulated as usual. What I am seeing as I talk to trimmers is a sense that those who work for families or women in the industry don’t experience issues or at least only those that are comparable elsewhere–sexist remarks from co-workers, etc. Those who work for single males or males who are away from their partner however do say they have experienced more significant issues.

      • Good points. Most of my friends are families, single women, second generation growers and more community oriented people where the single guys have an easier time meeting women. Since I work in the hills most of the people I work for came to me from referrals and in the past 15 years I’ve only walked away from one scene (in Rancho Sequoia, surprise-surprise) and that’s because there were other drugs going on there and I sensed the people were not trustworthy. I certainly can understand that a scene run by horny single guys who are not well connected in the community would increase the odds that the guys are going to hit on the female trimmers, but where’s the line where uncomfortable behavior turns to harassment or worse and how many cross it? Compare it to Anytown, USA where bosses and supervisors use their power over other employees for sexual favors. Fox News’ scandal with Roger Ailes was fundamentally nothing different than thousands of other sexual harassment cases you never hear of, it just happened to involve media celebrities and a powerful political operator. The difference here is that the guys doing the harassment are a little more insulated by the clandestine nature of the business and their victims have fewer options to fight back other than to flee before something criminal happens to them.

    • I have met more sexual predators in the restaurant industry than anywhere, and I have only been hit on once at a farm. A simple thanks but no thanks solved the issue. At a restaurant, you get harassment from employees, employers , and customers. Maybe they should cover that issue.

    • Totally agree Brad

    • Brad nailed it.

      (Pun originally unintended, but happily accepted).

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Brad, you write too long……that is what got HOJ banned by Kym over at LOCO.

  • The only weird story I’ve read about was about a lady in Whitethorn, tied to a tree, something like that. At the time of reading the story I pictured this happening up the road behind the old Whitthorn store, after Jess and Kit left town.

  • A few years ago three women were dosed and gang raped on pot farms they were hired onto. When the guys were done they dropped the women in town, still on drugs and thouroughly traumatized. I did advocacy work at the time, and when we approached the sheriff he said the best thing for those girls to do would be to leave town. He would not file a report or take a statement, let alone order a rape kit.

  • Hi friends,
    I believe what is happening here is Kym is reaching out for input from the community. I came to Humboldt in 93 I trimmed in between following the grateful dead to make money. I was 15 We hitchhiked everywhere and were never held captive. Yes growers wanted to blind fold you and make sure you weren’t a thief or a narc. I have a rule always have a friend. Tell a local business person your name and where a bouts you are working . Give your family the persons number and business name. Check in with them as often as possible and don’t be at a scene with any drugs or massive drinking those things lead to violence anywhere. There are plenty of good people looking for help. Be selective and if the vibes not right don’t be afraid to move on. Do I think people have been hurt or not paid? Sure. Do I think some scenes are scary? Sure. Do I think the corporate mongers are using fear tactics to control and regulate every aspect of the cannabis community? Yes. With that said the only way to protect ourselves and others is to get involved. Know what is happening and use your voice to educate not hate the evolution of the cannabiz. I remember when prop 215 passed alot the old school growers wanting nothing to do with it because they thought it would lead to being busted. My thoughts were even if it did at least I would have a fighting chance in court. I want everyone to have safe access to good cannabis. Medical or recreational. What I don’t want is people ruining the land and hurting people. Greed is real and exists heavily in this community. People have weegos and want to be the biggest and baddest on their hill and let everyone know how big they are going. This is a New school thing. Mind your business and be good to the land get legal and spread love talk to your workers about safety and giving back to our community. Every job has risks it’s up to is to provide a safe environment for our help.

  • As a part of a non-profit that offers a crisis line and services for domestic violence victims, there is a definite upswing of victims during the ‘season.’ Some may not be able to report after the incidents. A couple years ago, a victim bailed out of a moving car in trinity county because she heard that her body was going to be dumped. Some of the missing Humboldt and Trinity county young men and women might have suffered similar fates. Due to confidentiality, the public does not hear about most of the reported incidents.

  • It happends… I know of a guy who used to offer to pay the woman 50 bucks more a pound if they trimmed topless, this was a few years back in whitethorn, I personally witnessed these actions is why I can comment, I have “heard” of others but don’t have first hand knowledge,
    Ps: he was on loco last year for a bad grow and environmental damage… Karma always kicks in

  • As a 20 year resident who has trimmed in the college years, and has known mamy trimners and growers, never have I heard of this. However, thinking it over today I realized I have known of more domestic violence issues in my pot growing circles of friends compared to other groups of friends. Many friends of mine were abused and scared when trying to leave their grower exes, told they “know too much” and “girls don’t just leave guys like me,” machismo bs. The cash and surrounding oneself with paid friends aka yes men, leads to some serious egos. I swear for like 10 years every guy I knew talked about nothing but weed, boring. I’m sure corn farmers in Iowa occasionally talk about something other than corn. I had a guy once tell me he’s like the guy in “Blow,” ok buddy, I’m sure. The mix of money and power and crime leads to delusions of grandeur and power dynamics some abuse and the black market has allowed it. I don’t think it’s rampant or inherent to weed itself, but I do see more fear, abuse and threatening of my girlfriends in those circles compared with others.

  • I second pretty much all of what Brad wrote above. I’ll just add this:

    Over the years I’ve seen behavior by both growers and trimmers that made me feel uncomfortable, but no more frequent or severe than I’ve seen in plenty of other settings.

    While I’m sure there are growers (and trimmers) who behave much worse, I’d guess that harassment and other forms of maltreatment are probably less prevalent in the average trim-scene setting than the average American workplace.

    But a good average doesn’t mean there aren’t some real creeps out there (among both growers and trimmers), and in a black market setting, for someone harassed or not paid or mistreated in some other way, recourse can be problematic, to say the least.

    So even though I strongly doubt that the problem is as widespread or severe as some of the breathless coverage makes it sound, I think it’s still a very valid concern.

  • 30+ years ago I was offered a trim gig outside Ettersburg. When I got there, the dude running it was smacked out and packing a .45 on his hip. I told my connection that I didn’t need the job that bad. People have to take some responsibility for their own safety, but seeing today’s articles about human trafficking and enslavement by two women who look like cartel scum shows it can happen to just about anyone now. Humboldt was Paradise at one time, now it’s all fucked.

  • High Times. That’s the magazine that published an article over 10 years telling folks to grab your backpack and head to Humboldt there’s plenty of trimming jobs just waiting for you. They contributed to sending naive ‘trimmigrants’ into the cannabis underworld.

  • In the 15+ years of working and living in this industry, I have to say that waiting for the weed to sell before you get paid is by far the worst problem I came across. Growers scraping together every dime they have to barely cover the first few pounds to be trimmed and sold and then hustling their asses off to keep the trimmers fed, etc. Trimmers are a big expense for the grower. Some are pretty spoiled. I have never witnessed anyone being forced to work or have sex or any other kind of sex crimes.
    Overall I believe the pot farms have had far less incidence of inappropriate behavior than any other industry I have worked in. Constant and continued harassment in the food and beverage industry by customers and staff. The job at Shell, I had the worst case of sexual advances by a new male employee that I had ever known or heard of. Fortunately the servelliance made it easy to verify. People are sexual by nature and the hills are not harboring sexual deviants, sex slaves or any other horrific crimes that your imaginations can come up with. Truth is, most of the work is pressed for time, jobs are family oriented and whether or not an individual has a good experience is based more on how they carry themselves into the job. Don’t let your imaginations carry you off into a false reality of the industry. It’s just not the norm.

  • “In the 15+ years of working and living in this industry, I have to say that waiting for the weed to sell before you get paid is by far the worst problem I came across.”

    That is the most ridiculous method of business and NONE of the old timers, Mom and Pops, etc, would ever even think of dealing with help that way. There’s something called honor. (And I did hear of some Chilean guy waiting around for weeks to get paid last year, as long as you know that’s the deal going in, then its on you.)

    (Wow, is that your quickest 100 comments?)

    • The point I was making was not that I had to wait to get paid, because I would gladly help a friend get some pounds off and generate the income, knowing the struggle til harvest, the ‘point’ is that is the worst I have dealt with. Apparently you have too much honor to be struggling financially like many who live in the hills. The honor you carry has arrogance dancing all around it.

  • To everyone saying they dont know anyone like that out here….. okay. For one its not like people try to make it known that they are pervs or rapists. Or that they dont pay their trimmers…. people generally try to keep that stuff quiet. Two: New people come out here all the time. Do you really know every grower? Highly doubtful. Have you trimmed for every grower? Than you have no idea whose really up to what.

  • Wow Penny, your comment makes it seem like you think I was criticizing you for something. Not at all, just the concept of making people wait for their pay. I don’t think its arrogant to pay someone immediately after they work. (Otherwise they would have to wait till April, the industry standard with everyone I know, to get paid.)

  • When this industry is legal, and it probably will be soon, the farmers will have to comply with laws surrounding labor, housing, taxes, migratory workers, immigration, taxes, water quality, zoning, harassment, safety, pesticide application, transportation, drug use on the work site, social security, injury and illness prevention, emergency plans, workman’s compensation, unemployment, insurance, and a whole pile of others just as every legitimate business in the country does. $200-$300 per pound for trimming for a day will quickly turn to $15 per hour with no overtime, at best. That combined with the glut of product on the market will shut down most existing operations.
    Try to find people willing to work for that and live ” on the hill”.
    There are a ton of other jobs that can’t be filled right here in Eureka because so many people want a paycheck but don’t want to show up on time and actually work

  • I think the sexual abuse in the weed industry is probably statistically similar to that of the bar industry or entertainment industry. Any industry with wild opportunity, “cool” noteworthy, and sudden wealth will come with nefarious activity.
    My personal experience, I’ve never seen it here in Humboldt. I’ve only been around what would be considered mom and pops so maybe it does exist but I’ve not seen any sexual abuse in the weed world firsthand nor heard of it second hand

  • I think it would be very interesting to know the stats on the emerald triangles back logged rape kits. Is it possible for a news source to get access to that? I know they only made it law that you have to test rape kits within 30 days in ca in 2014. Wonder how its going?

  • I lived in SoHum from 1978 until 1997. Until the early 90s I considered it the most beautiful place but I chose to leave because of the increasing paranoia and outlaw culture that was having such a negative impact on my friends children. I still think of So Hum as beautiful but damaged. I hope it can recover.
    During those years I spent most harvest seasons ‘cleaning/manicuring/trimming’ for close friends. Almost all of my experiences were positive if a little wild at times. I am very organized and have a strong work ethic and in those days I often found myself as a lead/manager in ‘trimming’ work situations. Most of the experiences we would rotate someone to fix meals, run errands etc. and ‘donate’ cleaned buds to them in return for their other work. Normal groceries and modest booze was covered by the host/grower. Minor problems would be if a grower or cleaner would get overly buzzed and be obnoxious or if a grower wanted to overly favor a new girlfriend by cherry-picking. Regarding wild. Yes there were some times of cocaine and loose sex.
    Refusing to be blindfolded to go to a Bell Springs area for newish growers who had a bunch of newbies from the bay area who were young, naïve and intimidated by the macho male vibe. Growers were drunk obnoxious and seeking sexual favors in a bullying manner, joking about rape etc. Since I was uppity and known (and they knew my partner and friends) situation was defused but confrontational and very icky.
    Female friend confronted grower regarding alcohol use and outrageous behavior, he attempted to strangle her. Was subdued by others.
    Leaving an operation where participants/cleaners were expected to do speed and work into the night. Also the newer girls from out of the area were expected to have sex with growers and their buddies. (Very creepy)

    Only work with people you know, if it’s a referral stay sober and alert and always be prepared to hike out.
    Better to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
    Lots of men are fine, some are wonderful but many are dicks and that’s where their thinking mechanism is.

    • Henchman Of Justice

      And feminism thinkers concoct and devise tactics to get away with shit to gain benefit when all else fails in their attempts to deceive, but avoid societal shaming as equals to men……got it.

      • Like when a 16 yr old knowingly and consentually sleeps with an older man and only the male gets in trouble? I think in those cases the girls should be held accountable as well. Like last year when a woman came forward and admitted she lied about being raped after the guy had served over 7 years in prison and she didnt get arrested for lying? Wtf? And i know several girls from my highschool days who claimed rape rather than admit they cheated on their bf or admit to mommy and daddy that they were floosies. There is definitely an irrational innocence appointed to women/teenage girls when it comes to sexual endeavors. There are definitely situations where the females are not held accountable in a fair or realistic way compared to men.

    • I would like to talk to you about your experiences. Please contact me at mskymkemp@gmail.com

  • Growers blindfolding their trimmers for the ride out of town, I did know growers which that was common practice in the ‘good ol’ days’…

  • I applaud the labels: “Salmon damage free”, “Organic” “Grown without human rights violations or sexual abuse of people”. Since we can’t police the production of this super-important agricultural product in any way other than with a specialized chemistry lab, I would be interested to see an approach commercially feasible.
    How about a sign at the entrance to the dope farm?

    “Swear to god, we won’t poison, imprison, rape or drug you without your express written permission.” “Won’t make you work naked unless you want to, and we’ll give you a place to put your tent and an outhouse for your needs. Sorry, no showers. Oh and we will pay you, eventually, if we don’t go stone broke after being regulated, taxed, and competed with by commercial farmers everywhere, now that pot is legal. Cost, of this sign, and verification that we didn’t: kill fish, divert a stream, mistreat anyone sexually, truck in water, poison animals or degrade the environment in any way with our bulldozers and water tanks, and the cost of testing our important and necessary agricultural products for offending substances, all may be deducted from your wages.”

    • Oh don’t worry, all product will be required to be tested at a permitted “specialized chemistry lab” prior to sale. They wrote it into the county law and they aren’t making that permit as easy or available as the rest because of the standards and frequent inspections that will be necessary.

    • If they are going to label weed as “abuse free”, let’s apply it to all products; like your Apple phone, foreign made clothing, gasoline, everything from China. Should be a fun little project.
      I think these situations are rare in the pot industry, and the recent hoopla in the media and on KMUD is overblown.

  • Hopefully you can bring some good writing to such a weak publication.

    In my decade plus of growing in the sohum epicenter, I only heard a handful of creepy stories. Nothing that would imply that its the norm to treat folks bad, men or women.

    If you can bring both sides to the story I commend you.

    Sensationalism in journalism is nothing new. The last thing we need is a generalized view by the public that if your an outdoor grower you are a womanizer. Same goes for environmental and civil aspects. I’d say the majority of us who do this long term are in it for the right reasons. Karma has a way of sifting out the bad seeds, if you will.

  • There are literally thousands of women, and men, who come to do seasonal work in the triangle and who return year after year after year. The money is good, the work not impossible, and the vibes are right. Please include some of these stories in your article as well.

    Plus a lot of these good folks are going to lose work once corporate weed comes to be the majority of the market, by then if you dont own the company you’re probably making minimum wage, maybe a bit more if your a lead foreman on a farm.

  • Part of what we are hearing in all sexual assault cases is disbelief of the victim. With Brock Turner, the judge was more concerned with the rapists life than the victims. When women report sexual assault, the police in our rape culture often discount the victim and try to find what she must have done to “ask for it”. In this way, they don’t have to think of the guy as a “bad guy” or themselves.
    This is what must change.
    I’m reading in the serious comments, a disbelief that a local community has men who rape women and institutions that don’t take women rape victims seriously. That’s the whole world. I can tell you from personal experience that my mother was raped by a police officer and no one believed her. I have a sister to show for it. People are more afraid of looking and seeing that their beliefs are just thoughts that may not be based in reality ,than admitting an uncomfortable truth. If one in three women experience rape or sexual assault in their life, how many men participate through abuse or denial and enabling of this behavior? Does it really matter what town it is in?
    Every woman has a story of a creepy guy. How many guys have a story of a pervy woman stalking them? The problem is us men and our denial of our culture. Until it happens to your sister, or your mother or wife or girlfriend or someone you love. Would you ask them if they asked for it or making it up for an ulterior motive? Honest questions. Especially after Trumps locker room talk.

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