Is Sexual Abuse Rampant in the Emerald Triangle? The Cannabis Community Responds in High Times


Woman trimming. [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Is sexual abuse rampant in the Emerald Triangle? High Times asked this reporter, Kym Kemp to write my first column for them on the local cannabis community’s response to the recent articles focusing on sexual abuse in the cannabis industry. (See this one and this one.)

Here’s the beginning of my piece,

Welcome to the first installment of Humboldt Homegrown, a new cannabis column from the heart of the Emerald Triangle by veteran local reporter Kym Kemp.

Is there unchecked sexual abuse, rape and even sexual trafficking on marijuana farms in the Emerald Triangle? One recent nationally published article reprinted widely under various titles (including Hidden Horrors on the Pot Farms of California) dug into these issues and received a lot of attention. Several follow up articles described the marijuana industry as “riddled with abuse” and sexual misconduct as being “rampant” among growers.

At first, farmers in the Triangle where much of the article takes place, reacted with disbelief. While condemning sexual violence, many expressed a belief that the abuse seen in their area was found in similar proportions across society and was an expression of a wider problem.

“If this was at Harvard, it would be called rape culture and white privilege. But because it is happening here, they want to call it cannabis culture?” questioned Kristin Nevedal

For the rest of the column, click here to go to High Times. Tell me what you think–very little abuse? A lot?



  • If this was at Harvard, it would be called rape culture and white privilege

    What exactly does sexual abuse have to do with ” white privilage ” . White people dont go to prison for rape ? Rape isn’t reported if the offender is white because there’s no way they’ll get in trouble ?

    I’m sick of the SJW garbage that’s being taught at universities. We as a western society do not condone or encourage rape , total B.S .

    • Huh, Huh? Ever been to a frat party? An R rated movie? The parking lot of a bar at 2 a.m.? We as a western society condone and encourage rape every day. Just ask the piece of shit judge who gave the other piece of shit at Stanford 3 months for a rape conviction. Stop enabling, and STAND UP for our mothers,sisters and daughters!!!
      You are the one who is full of b.s.

      • Frat parties are gigantic rape orgies , huh ? Why would a woman go anywhere near one if that was honestly the case ? R rated movies ???
        Now I’m laughing !!! I’ve been in a parking lot at 2 am on multiple occasions and never experienced ” rape culture ” but I guess that’s just my ” white privilage ” !!!!

        I’m not saying that rape doesn’t happen obviously but the USA isn’t the fucking Congo , where there IS ABSOLUTELY a culture of rape in that war torn area of the world .

        • Uh yes most white college boys accused of rape do not get convicted and if they do, they walk after 3 months like the Harvard guy. Sentences for marijuana possession are longer than forcible rape.
          No this is not the Congo,& we are not in a war on our soil, but the argument can be made that rape is being done for similar reasons; its all about power, control and inciting fear, shame, pain, trauma, etc in the victim. Its a way to suppress. In the inquisition in Europe the priests used rape as a form of control, it’s been used for a long time to instill fear and shame.

          Look at Fox news, its been happening there for almost 30 years, and it took one woman coming forward to help other women share their stories. Not only would these women have lost their jobs, they would have most likely lost their entire careers by refusing sexual harassment by their boss. Which is why they put up with it.

          Isn’t it odd how this story is just coming out now after the pot industry has been going on for at least 30 years here? It was definitely much shadier in the past!
          This story has gotten a lot of publicity based on a very poorly researched article out of the Bay area that included no advice on how to spot human trafficking victims, what to look for. Most articles trying to bring things to light will offer at least something the reader can do.

          Here’s the deal, the feds didn’t change the schedule rating for pot, saying there is no research showing it to be medicinal. The current Obama admin basically told them no funding for fed busts in states that have voted for legalization in their state, be it medicinal &/or recteational. The feds proceeded to ignore that and busted some places like Care By Design lab south of us. They got their hand slapped and seem to have backed off a bit.
          So now that pot doesn’t have the scary connotation to the general public that it used to, thus they need a new more public/politically friendly twist to keep support up. Wha-la, all of a sudden pot growers are now sex slave trafficking rapists.
          The cops don’t wanna give up the money they make on forfeiture and auctions; there are some interesting articles on the topic of federal seizures online about how out of control it’s gotten.
          Like busting someone, going onto the neighbors property without a warrant, seeing some plants there and then taking an excavator as seizure during bust, tho the excavator owner was never charged, they said give us $30,000&we’ll give you it back. Which said person did and that was that.
          If you think the majority of police working drugs are on the up and up, so sorry but your wrong.
          Why do you think they bust pot and cocaine more than crack or heroin? Most growers and coke dealers have some really nice stuff and usually lots of cash on hand, easy pickings.
          Its all about the money, they’re not giving up their cash cow that easy.

          • 20 years I’ve met a few assholes but a “rape culture”? Sure, thats called the U-S.
            Those old bumper stickers “US OUT OF HUJMBOLDT” need to make a serious comeback. We have allowed it’s invasion…taxes!!? WE don need u stinkin taxes’

            • Kinda rough roads we’re looking at if we do things that way…what about hospitals? Law enforcement? Schools?

              • Yes, I’m sure life will be much better once we sacrifice more of our freedom to the government. If only they could get a little more money the roads could be fixed and unicorns could fly. Never mind that CA has some of the highest gas taxes in the country and the roads still look like shit. Never mind that every time you see Cal Trans one guy is working and nine are sitting on their ass. Never mind that the federal government is getting record tax receipts and has doubled the national debt in 8 years. Yes, let’s ignore the fact that half the money spent in CA is on health care and education with shit for results and pretend that pissing more of it away at the alter of government will, some how, miraculously make it all better. I’m certain that these wise stewards of OUR money in the local government will not just spend more money on bullshit when given more money. Yes, Yes I’m certain.
                War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

          • Perfect. Thank you

          • “Uh yes most white college boys accused of rape do not get convicted and if they do, they walk after 3 months like the Harvard guy. Sentences for marijuana possession are longer than forcible rape.”

            Can you show any proof of this?

      • Ive been to frat parties, never witnessed any rape or harassment, never seen rape portrayed as less than evil in a movie. Not aware of rapes in bar parking lots.

      • Oh knows… It’s rampit!!!

  • Female to female sexual abuse. The picture says it all. It is really a sad site to see. We need to take a stand against the molestation of marijuana.<p

  • I wouldnt go so far as to say it is rampant. I think it’s a low percentage. I think that if it was happening all over, everyday that there would be more reports, there’s nothing to hide anymore about trimming weed and most folks know they won’t be arrested if they told a Sheriff that they had been trimming weed, so why wouldn’t more women come forward?
    I have never heard of it happening to anyone that I know. But it’s also a tight knit place, and I’m sure there’s plenty of people that I don’t talk to that may have experienced otherwise. And I obviously don’t know about every grower and how they run there scenes. Infact it may be impossibe to ever know for sure how much of this goes on, but it’s surely worth discussing. What Ive heard more about is violence. I’ve heard stories about male trimmers being beat up, killed and or dumped off back in town with no pay. It’s no secret plenty of males go missing in the county that came here to work in the industry. I don’t know who all these evil growers are that do these horrible things, mabey because I’m a family person and all the growers I know are very family oriented and are good individuals, despite the fact that they don’t work a “real” job.

    • Family’s that have boring work that get’s done won’t generate clicks or sell magazines.

    • WHY Wouldnt women (or men)come forward? maybe because they are in country illegally. a large part of the “work force” attracted here by piece of shit false media like high times promising a weed paradise.

  • Call it a doper culture, a criminal culture. Exposes like this ought to cue people to stay the hell away from that element. No good can come of it. It ought to also cue people that it’s not all peace-and-love-and-groovy vibes; that, because it’s pot it’s not all good, and that you don’t have to cast your eyes to the meth or the heroin scene to find the ugliness of it all. Socially conscious potheads should maybe consider staging a boycott, putting down for a while in order to make a statement against this crap. Some of them would do it for coffee picked by slaves in South America or sneakers manufactured in sweatshops in Asia, but couldn’t swear off pot for long enough and in enough numbers to be able to make an impact on an (illegal) industry riddle with violence right where they live.

  • Sexual abuse is every where! Schools, homes, reservations, places or employment, and simply walking down the street. The problem is it gets swept under the rug because victims are afraid that if they tell they won’t be listened to….and 9 times out of 10 that’s what happens when people do come forward.

  • It’s a headline in search of a story,

    • Spot on.

    • I agree. Like said above, there may be a shady scene here or there but that is just the times we live in. Everybody who has a little one-acre yard is growing. The real weed culture as I know it are mostly deadheads, old loggers and others too, mostly family people who live in small towns(where reputations matter) and all good upstanding people. Now-a-days- everybody’s a grower, so you get all types.
      And wow… Twice as many trimmigrants in willow creek this year.
      All in all not a rapey culture at all. But people love those kind of headlines…

  • That was great Kym! Congrats on your success.

  • Yes… sex and violence occur. If your “family” is prone to that chances are are pretty good family is not turning family in. Right? I myself had several not so calm relationships over the course of my life. At the time put up with a lot out of “love” …devotional thoughts…oh it will change. Fear. Pride. Disbelief I’m losing it all. Homelessness. These things can all make a person put up with a lot to survive. Sure now I look back and say what the hell that was effing terrible… one can not change the past. But one can learn and not re live it.
    On a more transient population yes women and men are raped, stuck up the mountain no ride no phone, do what they have to to SURVIVE. Worked like a dog told to leave with little or no pay. Yes it happens. Trimmers know your grow. Growers know your help. Set some standards. Stand your ground. Beware. We all can become a victim in the blink of an eye.

  • it truly saddens me KYM KEMP to see you contributing to a major source of the misinformation drawing unwanted illegal trimmigrants to our home by propagating the marijuana paradise MYTH ,namely HIGH TIMES magazine.

    • Did you think my article unfairly represented the situation?

      • it doesnt matter to me what you have to say while propping up a bullshit publication who propagates a GROSS LIE as the very base of their “profit over reality” mentality which impacts my home by attracting criminal elements who are destroying our local community without the slightest regard for the truth.

        • Could you point out some specific article or article that makes you feel this way?

          • Honeydew Bridge Chump

            High Times used to be a honey pot the feds used to bust people.

            You’re old enough to recall operation green merchant, yes?

            This rag is/used to be cointelpro in a different era.

          • Kym,

            Your too nice. Listen, even if you had prof for the doubting Thomas’ here; there are people on here in denial or they don’t care, or they are a part of the problem. I have trimmed for years in all kinds of scenes, and yes there is sexual deviance and the exploration of trimmers, but not all growers have this scene going on or stand for this type of behavior.

    • Well, maybe she can help put correct and true information out there. She doesn’t wright or edit the periodical, but she might be able to change the culture of misconception with a fresh voice. Keep people from guessing and speculating on what goes on outside of their cubicle or apartment window…

  • I don’t read that pos high times and don’t watch fox news

  • I am so glad to hear you got hired by high times to do a story. I couldnt imagine anyone better than you to write the piece. Congrats!

  • Is sexual abuse and exploitation of women rampant on college and university campuses? Is it rampant in the military, within law enforcement. On sports teams, within religious groups, how about corporate America or hell the streets of Anytown USA for that matter?

    Obviously and unfortunately the answer is YES. There exists in every facet of our society those that would be predators. The way that these people choose to support themselves in my mind is irreverent. We have read many more stories of CEO’s or Sport heroes or Police Officers being charged with sex crimes over the years then people involved in cannabis cultivation.

    Now I understand that the nature the business lends itself to secrecy. I here loud and clear the argument that a women would be afraid to come forward and have to tell the police that she was assaulted while she was working on a pot or farm or trimming. If that is the case, and there are women who are afraid of the repercussions of law enforcement, please do not be afraid. Come forward. Law enforcement could give a hoot if you were trimming. If you need anymore reassurance call anyone of our local “Pot Lawyers” and they will tell you the same.

    With that being said, I have been involved the cannabis industry here in Humboldt for 30+ years. I truly can tell you I have never witnessed even close to anything described in this article. I have never seen top less trimmers either by force or voluntary. I have never seen prostitutes at harvest scenes, although I can imagine they do exist. I have heard stories of people getting screwed on compensation, but honestly those stories are rampant with every part of the industry.

    I believe that the authors of the original story took what was two truly disgusting incidents and used the credibility of those to then make a very broad indictment of the entire cannabis community. While the story of the two truly courageous women who have come forward and not only accused there attackers but eventually saw them found guilty should be told and we should all pay heed, we need to be careful casting nets of dispersion over entire groups.

  • I work for High Times and asked Kym to write this story. I love Humboldt and its people and have traveled there extensively, with many friends in the area. If anyone can point me to when this “marijuana paradise myth” story was printed, I’d like to know, because I’ve worked there for 14 years and haven’t seen it.

    Instead, I’ve focused on covering news that matters, including eco-friendly cultivation techniques, environmental damage and the endangered Fisher, pending legalization initiatives, missing people and tension caused by trimmigrants. I wanted Kym to contribute to to convey the complex issues cannabis cultivation causes in the Triangle and I hope you will have an open mind about what the publication can do.

    • One of my favorite cannabis memories is of you and David at the Emerald Cup. You loved the community and it showed.

    • Honeydew Bridge Chump

      Which lettered agency supports your mission?

    • Please and Thank You

      Yeah, you can use your publication to send out the message that Humboldt does not want vagabond travelers of all walks of life showing up here with a puppy on a string, broke, no place to go and hanging out in public waiting for work. Send them to Amazon or Google. Tell them there is work in Alaska in the fishing industry. AK has tent cities for people working and looking for work. If they want a job, there are plenty of places to send them. The oil fields of OK is a good place to find employment. Planting trees in Canada is a great way to make money. List all of the Phish tour dates so they know where and when to go. Use your publication to help with this problem. If you “love Humboldt and it’s people”, help us out.

    • Just more outsiders trying to make money sucking on the tit .High times promotes butane hash and toxic dabs .POS magazine .I thought you were smarter than this kim .No congrats here .I’m sure a real news publication would gladly pay you for a piece .Sorry your a local and have sold out and really have no clue the assholes your dealing with.You might want to get out of sohum and get a clue . shit times perpetuated the myth that indoor is better than full term outdoor

    • Your publication is a rag and we have felt that way for 30 years

  • The Ostrich Hunter

    Where power exists, exploitation follows. Plenty of creepy growers, just like there are plenty of creepy priests. Is it the majority? Probably not, but a few bad apples can sure sell a headline. Someone above said “Know your grow!”, and I couldn’t agree more. Regardless of gender, always know your employer. Make sure other people know where you are, when you’re expected back, etc. A little preparation can keep you out of a bad situation.

  • Poster formerly known as Matt

    A link to a story I randomly came across last night about this same topic.

  • There you go some of the nasty comments made by people twards the victims of these types of crimes and Kym. Reality is that’s why folks dont come forward because people just act so nasty about it when they do. Guess what I’ve been attacked several times had horrible lewd comments made twards me. While I am trying to work to support myself. My breasts grabbed. Raped by drunk aquaintances. Total bull but I’m a woman, they are men. They act all cool and sweet, nice to their male friends, their families. Manipulative narcissists. Then wife’s out the door. Kids at school let the fun and games begin. maybe the wife even knows turns a blind eye keeps him off her. IDK but yeah it does happen. Just because you don’t recognize it. Or you have not been lucky enough to have had it happen to you does not mean that it does not exist.

    • People dont report rape because strangers on the internet might make “nasty comments”? If you feel that way, please seek mental health care and report your abuse!

  • It feels like when asked for evidence, we are referred to the same three stories over and over. Seems like a clickbait non-story until we have some number that show the issue actully exists.

  • So what I’m just supposed to blast everybody’s names out there and talk about every time some asshole grabbed my ass or tits or tried to @#ck me and I didn’t want to. Secenarios all the same… Oh come on as they laugh while assaulting you… you know you want it…nasty beer and cigarette breath all in your face. Hahahaha they keep laughing and keep grabbing. Think they are some jokester. So instead of turning in every dumb jerk you just find other employment never go back. Then sadly at times you meet another boss who acts the same.

    • You’re being brutally raped at work and you don’t report it ? How irresponsible can you possibly be ? How many other women have taken your place at these jobs and then be raped because you find it inconvenient to report the crime .

      Either that or you’re full of it .

      • Obviously, you have never been groped or otherwise against your wishes…or had a girlfriends husband try bs with you while she was gone wow have to say lucky you.

        • Sounds like you’ve got pretty classy friends , you might want to find new ones .

          • Yeah guess what people can be deceitful. Hide behind money their perceived success with nice houses, fancy cars. They can act like doting parents, happy spouses and wonderful employers. Wear nice clothes and even be seen as pillars of the community. Everyone’s got secrets. Skeletons in the closet.

    • By not reporting this to authorities you are allowing others to become victims. Never in all my life have I seen a man grab a woman’s tits against her will. Im sure it happens but it cant be common. You should def carry pepper spray in case it happen again but I would suggest not working for people you dont know, if you value your safety.

      Although a woman did once grab my dick, over the pants, while I was outside a bar. I elbowed in in the face and some white knights almost assaulted me for it.

  • Who said brutally raped? Grabbing and attempting is not rape but it is sexual assault. Yeah and then you’re supposed to live in the community with all of these wives and girlfriends and everyone who defends the perpetrators and you look like the idiot. Ostracized so you just be quiet and move on obviously you’re not the only person that it happened to there were many before you and probably be many after. Victims just don’t like to come forward you get scared they tell you they’ll kill you or your family. Blackmail you. Yeah you dont want to be in the papers every day when the case explodes no its scary. You just want to forget what happens and go away only problem is you never do forget. So unless you have had a creep assault you, you can’t relate IE Cosby etc. Assault happens to men and women and can happen to anyone do not think your immune.

    • I doubt any of these people who smacked you on the butt are as powerful as bill Cosby .

      • No… what I am saying is all of us can be a victim. People can be attacked sadly even by someone seen as an”upstanding citizen” or friend.

        • No what you are doing is equating yourself with women who have been brutally drugged and raped by bill Cosby because a man in a circle you choose to hand around with smacked you on the butt and tried to have an affair with you .

      • Id like to add most woman, who been violated feel shamed into not talking. You feel stupid, like you caused it or you should have known better. When i was 19yrs old a man peeped threw my windows & left his ejaculation present. I saw it was one of my old neighbors, as he ran out my gate. I reported it to the complex managers & all they did was tell everyone else, laughed and broke bread with this man later that night, including my so called friends. No one wanted to believe their friend was a perve but were more willing to blame & shame the victim & label me a trouble maker. I wished i never said a word. I moved out right away, who can stay around people like that? Shortly after that BS, i took a self defense class at CR. Years later i heard he did the same to 3 other young woman. I felt horrible, i TRIED to put up the red flag, but no one cared & more girls were hurt.

        Few yrs later at Reggae i was walking back to my camp late nite, with a special brownie in my belly, i must of looked drunk cause my legs felt like rubber. Mentally, i was all there. I was blocked from passing a gate with a man wearing a vest like the rest of the fellows posted at certain volunteer or back stage gates etc. He says, “i have the wrong wristband.” I begged him to let me thru, and said, “my tent is only bout 6 spaces down.” He says, “ok show me, 6 spaces down n i’ll believe ya.” He gets up and is using crutches and lets me thru, no danger right? I mean this guy has a cast & is on crutches! We get to my spot, i point it out just like i discribed. His reply, “what?” me… “You wouldnt let me threw, u said if i showed u, id be ok and not have to walk all the way around to a different gate.” Thats when he grabbed my arms hard, leaving bruises and started to lick my neck & then grabbed my headlights! Thankfully my self defense class kicked in & i sent him flying to the ground. He then got up grabbed his crutches and RAN AWAY! There was nothing wrong with his leg! I never reported it. Why should i? So they can disregard it like my neighbors did yrs before. Again I felt like i did something wrong. I should have seen it coming. I should have known better. Your so stupid, is all that rang thru my head. It took yrs for me to realize i did nothing wrong. I was a young woman, taken advantage of by a man with a sick plan. So be careful ladies, The Devil can smile & be polite too!

  • Mendocino Mama, your experiences in life are real, and you are definitely not the only one who deals with these realities. Don’t let ‘Huh’ bait you into defending yourself or any woman’s experience. Denying or downplaying these experiences is definitely part of the problem.

  • The end of the article has some good advice, edited by me;

    Never go to a remote location with a stranger, even if promised lucrative work.

    Share your location and the names of your traveling companions or employers with family or friends ALWAYS.

    Carry pepper spray and a knife just in case you need to defend yourself against unwanted advances. (it is illegal to use bear mace on a person and less effective)

    DO NOT travel to trim scenes alone and use the buddy system.

    Always have a personal vehicle or escape route, especially when visiting places without reliable cell service.

    I do all this and Im not a small guy. Very few people are interested in raping me.

  • it is up to community to stop this. if i hear of this i will be razzing that person until they quit or move from the area. i will not let that go on in my neck of the woods!!
    come on people step it up.

  • Bill nye where the hell did you get that picture from? The police should figure out who that lady is in the photo. That poor baby. Can you say child abuse

  • Chill out, it’s a viral picture. Look at it again. The bald father is bending down to kiss his baby. No one is putting their a** in the childs face.

  • been in the industry for 30 years never seen or heard of any sexual abuse. .I’m very careful who i hire maybe the trimmers should be more aware of who they are working for.I have heard of girls trimming topless for an extra hundred a pound.

  • A straight shooter

    Where you have drugs and alcohol , and oh yes, alcohol is a drug too, period. Some undesirable drama can go down. This is not a party! Beware, take care! I am sure that some BS goes down in the circles with the workers themselves . Because of the party mentality.

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