[Audio] LA director on season as trimmigrant: ‘It wasn’t worth it’; Humboldt’s last week of news


In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week (16:05): A writer and director out of Los Angeles is developing a scripted series based on her experiences working as a “trimmigrant” for a season here in Humboldt County. Last week a piece she wrote about that appeared via Salon, a website which according to them reaches 20 million unique visitors a month.

“Five hideous weeks of work amounted to just under $4,200. Before my time on the mountain, I’d had a romantic idea of hippies living on the edge of the law, getting stoned every day, trimming weed and raking in cash,” she wrote. “The harsh reality was that this was mind-numbing, back-breaking work, and trimmers had no recourse to fight back against unfair or dangerous employment practices. People who were slow like me could work twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and barely make more than minimum wage. It wasn’t worth it.”

In the podcast you can hear a summary of her article and an analysis of her piece by an anonymous seasonal cannabis worker.

The story begins at 16:05.

Also covered

A local lawyer boss exits after a controversial nine months, Humboldt wins as a vacation destination, an NFL-bound HSU student achieves another first, that heart-warming dad proud of his musician son, crime updates, movie updates, and much more.

Humboldt Last Week is a way to hear highlights from Humboldt’s last week a news. It’s available on iTunes, SoundCloud, top podcast platforms, and at kymkemp.com.

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98 comments

  • Setting the bar "high"

    Haha first year? Yea she was slow and pecking away at the mono fuel strains is tedious mind-numbing game of crumbles. Unless you already know wtf u are doing, or you are Asian you are doomed.

  • Personally, I’m really tired of hearing phrases like “on the hill” or in this case ” Before my time on the mountain”.

    Anyway, reminds me of when I was a much, much younger person and you would hear about these people who were going to Alaska for the summer and making a ton of money in a couple months working in the fishing industry. I had a couple of traveler type friends who made the trek one summer and ended up in the fish gutting room of a cannery working long hours and having to sleep in a cold tent in a park with a bunch of other “gold” seekers and all they really had to show for it was a small bit of cash, illness and a life lesson.

  • Im glad she had a bad experience ..the trimmers are over paid.

    • Yeah. Now u can personally tell them all to leave and not come back. Tell em humboldt sucks and the people are mean. By the way….you just suck at your “job” of trimming. I personally know someone who does 7-8 lbs a day! At 150 a lb that’s over a 1k a day working 12 14 hour days. So yes…u suck eggs

  • Some french guy a few weeks ago, “Zis year was terrible. Ze place we work for tree years make us trim all ze buds this year even de little ones. And only 150 per pound. And zay are not feeding us zis year. I only make 300-350 a day. It is not a good place to work anymore.” I said you need to count your blessings or go home.

    • No one is getting paid well!! Especially the growers 2000$ a lb ?? I call bullshit !! 14-1800 for the AAA indoor 700-1000$ for the best of greenhouse and 400-$700 for outdoor.. no one is paying more than 100$ a unit to get trimmed.. if frenchy is making 300-350$ a day no tax ! They should b stoked .. work is supposed to be hard .. or it would b called fun .. count your blessings machine are taking your jobs $ 20 an hour is the standard in mendo

      • I still know trimmers paid $200 per pound this season but that is very rare and probably this is the last season for that sum. However, $150 per pound is considered the lower end of average among the trimmers/growers I know.

      • I agree with you Kym, business is business and the basic bottom line of profit and loss applies at some point. I know of some owners that whenever possible hire their friends kids for good money. You know who they are (hell, you probably watched them play sports with your kids) and as one of my buddies said describing his friend’s kid and friend…”they’re hands are like little machines”.

      • Yeah so tell me how many locals are you employing? And how many of them are older than 30. Most of you mega growers are a disgrace to the American labor movement. No better than our lazy greedy politicians.

    • Only 3 to 350 a day. I have a real job & make 150 before taxes. Then proceed to go home take care of my family & work more. Day in day out & I’m happy.

  • All trimagrents should stay where they are and don’t come to Humboldt its as simple as that ,you come without food shelter and are looking for a free ride [edit] as simple as that if your not from here stay out.

    • I agree!!! Stop complaining, trimmers can leave at any time. Locals are more than willing to work and support their families. Trimming is a big source of income for locals here. Keep our money local!! ❤️

  • 5 weeks straight and only $4200? How slow did she have to be trimming? Even if she only did a half a pound a day for 5 weeks straight at $150 a pound that’s about $11,000?

    • Yeah, slow as fuck. Are growers still employing those who trim less than a pound a day? Sounds like some one was doing this director a favor by keeping her around with such low production. [edit]

      • Thanks for the edit. Sorry about that Kym, I would hate for someone to be offended by my reference. Let’s see if I can put it differently. “Sounds like someone was doing this director a favor by keeping her around with such low production. **(Edit) Maybe her employer found her quite attractive or maybe she was trying to ascend social heirarchy using tactics learned in Hollywood on casting couches.** Is that a more suitable way to phrase what I was trying to say?

        • Sigh, why even go there? Is there any evidence of her flirting even in this article. Or is it just that she is a woman that makes you think she is attempting this? How old/young would she have to be before you discounted that as a possibility? Would you consider the possibility if instead, the author were a man?

          • Sorry Kym. You seem to be misplacing the sexism I was trying to convey. I was implying that alot growers are mysogynist employers. I have seen slow workers kept around because the grower wants to get in their pants or all ready has. I wasnt trying to degrade one sex over the other, I was trying to give each the benefit of the doubt. The the hypothetical situations you edited out reflected both sides of the coin. Employer keeping worker for sexual reasons and employee trying to further their financial/social situation via sex with employer.

    • Um…that’s 2,625.00$…just sayin….1\2 lb a day for 5weeks would be..not 11,000.00$…

  • Yeah, did anyone hear the two airhead valley girls Steve Dodge had on the cannabis show two or three weeks ago? They were giving the low down and all the tips there are to know about trimming after coming here to work for two seasons. It was so difficult to listen to two stupid valley bimbos talk and talk about something they new next to nothing about, I had to turn it off.

  • Trimmers have been killing it for years. Even when the price was falling they were still making a 200 pound.Now at rock bottom they wine about 150 a pound. Hand trimmed pounds are going to be a thing of the past, wait and see what legal commerical grows will be paying for work my guess is minimum wadge and taxes taken out.

    • Yep, 8$ per hour taxed wages for trimmers in Denver.

    • It would be great to see production leave this area. The back to the landers are what made this place special, not the herb.

      • Great “roar” Sunny one! I heartily agree. More than one neighborhood has gone down to greed..
        “Money doesn’t talk; it swears.” B.Dylan

      • (Edit)-a right, or; (Edit) yeah! Moved there and had no idea about the herb, got into it to pay for small piece of land, then, ICK! (Was great growing, but the selling part, not so much. Nor the scammers/rip-offs bosses/partners. Learned a lot about people, myself included. Lots of great people, also, but lost in the mix.

    • Why pay a whiny trimmer when they can have mechanical trim machine? In no time it will pay for itself and more $ in the growers pocket.

  • Do the math. She made around $900/week cash. And she was new and slow and lucky anyone used her at all. If she wasn’t an American and came from a country like Spain, for example, with 50% unemployment for young people, that’s a small fortune, especially for an entry level position. In other words, she’s complaining from a privilege position, not that of a tourist/traveler who is so poor they come here without any money and want to earn enough to travel around the rest of our country and spend it before they go home. Some do take the money back, but they provide a needed service. Back to the point: no idea what she’s talking about, she made good money for her first time, and if you want to talk about awful workplace conditions try Walmart while you’re at it.

    • Sick of your rude comments

      Have you worked for Wal mart? What poor working conditions are you talking about? Something you have read about? Perhaps you should research before you start slinging your rude comments about a company that donates a large amount of $$$ to each community they reside in. They are a very generous corporation.

  • How right she is. Nothing glamorous about it. Many trimmigrants from out of country are here on mommy and daddy’s dime. They have credit cards and cash. Alot are in the bars each evening drinking, playing pool and working the internet. They’re here for the “experience”, then on to other worldly adventures. Most, if not all, are courteous, respectful, not trashy or smelly. The in country trimmers from out of the area are another story. This is my take on the scene in Willow Creek after 40 years.

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    I am sure tired of these alleged expose essays by lady reporters, and this one wasn’t even consistent from end to end… One would have to be pretty stupid to allow themselves to be locked into a horse trailer and towed to a secret location! I strongly advise anyone at all not to do something like this, as it is fully possible for women to be kidnapped, imprisoned, raped and killed, and in the meantime, your captors may come up with something even more unpleasant for you, since druggies are extremely sick people, and Humboldt is full of them! For god’s sake, don’t ever get into a van, truck or trailer, and if you are a woman, be prepared to dispense sexual favors for employment, or lose your life while fighting off sex-fiend druggies…

    Regular insanity is bad enough in this county, but growers are the worst form of bottom-feeding scum in existence! Don’t sell yourself to these people, and if you do, insist on weekly pay, decent living conditions and food, or bail! Remember, you can tell a pot-head sex-fiend by the semen stains on his pants, since they are almost continually masturbating whenever they can’t find a rape victim! (Apologies to Hunter S. Thompson, R.I.P.)

    AND: If you really want to be mistreated for low pay, get a job in one of the local health-care facilities! Try Mad River Hospital for the height of poor-quality low-paid employment, closely followed by Jerold Phelps Hospital, where they will be happy to make you do the work of three people, and then fire you if you make one minute of overtime, or try Mendo Coast District Hospital, home of low paid craziness, or even Redwood Hospital, a real shit-hole where they hate everyone… and let us pray…

    Believe me now, or find out later – be careful out there and don’t get captured!

    • Wow, what a wild, hysterical bunch of BS.

      • groba dude osnt trustafarian

        So, it’s different on YOUR pot-farm?

        It makes as much sense as the garbage story reprinted above…

    • Apologies to Hunter, indeed.

      I’ve never not paid=usually overpay, while feeding housing giving rides furnishing “odds” and “ends” etc. As do most everyone, even w 25 clipping) I know.

      Like most help I’ve had to hire now that to be a grower one must be a farm manager (which I am not) it usually just ends up being more work for me.(Rarely do I work with randoms from France w/ a scissor sign either)

      Congrats on Salon taking your article. To create something/ anything requires a certain or excruciating vulnerability/ authenticity. So, cheers Ms.

      But do check yourself. Don’t know what kinda money you’re used to, but thats more than my current and several time clock grift job I’ve had in the past. Move to Ohio for a while.. find a job. It can be your Part 2: “I was like Waaaaay Off; A Sad Goodbye to the Little Guy”

      #Hillfever #SohumCannabliss

    • groba dude osnt trustafarian:

      Are u serious? Who are you to say that ALL cannabis growers are scum? Judge not unless thee be judged right? That’s not even a religious reference, it’s a good rule to live by.
      Just because you precieve something one way does not automatically make your perception rule of law.

      • groba dude osnt trustafarian

        Obviously, they are not all scum. Just you.

        Your incredible entitlement and self-right to do whatever you want is remarkable. Just keep that up.

        Try not to abuse anyone today, since you will obviously be breaking the law and then be saying it’s OK.

        My perception may not be law, but it’s mine…

    • Watch out for an older box like Ford or Chevy passenger Van with license plate starting with 1 or 7 PH y? White male possibly tall. This individual was seen stalking a vehicle around Redcrest on HWY 101 during the afternoon. The possible victim a woman. His driving was irratic and he was crossing lanes behind her obviously looking at her license plate. Call 911 if this happens to you.

  • If you work for honest folks you’ll get paid. You dont.pay taxes,or give to anything but yourself. All other folks who work for a living pay taxes!! When we were growing we had quite a bit,and PAID EVERYDAY FOR THEIR WORK.And yes we claimed on our taxes,but not for weed,for building. Point is we paid TAXES!!honesty is always the best policy

  • justaperspectiveview

    That’s still $21/hr at 40 hours. More than I’m making at my “real” job I have with a 4-year degree at $15/hr. Just sayin’.

  • I am pretty sure I could write an item at least as obtuse and puerile as “Tara’s”, that would make equally poor copy…

    I have never been to an actual “pot farm” but I would sure as hell never trust drug dealers to haul me to a secret location outside Arcata. In the dark or otherwise. Not even if I were Spanish…

    Damn, how stupid ARE dopers, anyway…

  • If you read the story… she had to spend some time re-trimming molded buds.
    IMHO: She probably would have made $6,000 +- without that.
    Also… no housing costs and meals provided.

    Wages are probably gonna crater after the Central Valley farms come online.

  • What did you expect? Five star accommodation? Get a clue & stay were you came from.

  • Also, everyone complains about the trimsients, and the trimsients complain about, hell, everything, but so much weed is grown around here that it would never get to market without an ARMY of laborers!

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to rent say, the fairgrounds in Fortuna, centralize processing and packing, and then there would be a safe place to camp and prepare food and live without strangers on sacred pot-growing lands? There HAS to be an alternative to all this craziness, in a way that levels wages and conditions.

    Using a new approach is what could save the cannabis industry from itself. If folks worked together instead of 30,000 people growing individually, you may all survive in the canna-buisiness….

    • The ideas/ the POTential.. it f^*%#@g staggers my mind. The amount I see with ANY action or even mention empty it. Centralized processing centers being one of the endless.

      We are about to give away out second greatest asset!! (If the redwoods could be moved, the Rockefeller Grove would already be overlooking Tavern on the Green.. LOLOL

    • While your idea may have some merit in an industrialized, legal economy…please stop trying to make up new words such as “trimsient”. Trimmigrant seems to be sufficient.

      • My word is as good as yours. My ideas are not patented, either, so take them and grow, if you choose to. Explore alternate universes, and feel free to change the whole world. Thanks!

        And “trimmigrant” seems to imply some immigration. Many of these people are not eligible to immigrate, so it is an inaccurate description. “Trimsient” is more appropriate because the persons so described all disappear when the rain and cold arrive. See “transient”…

        • Fair enough, “trimmigrant” actually implies migration as in the traditional migrant farm workers that tend to travel from farm to farm picking fruits/vegetables, planting, pruning, etc when work is available. One of my own short comings is that “transient” has a negative implication as in bum, derelict, etc.

          • Well, I say if a bum’s a bum, then he’s a bum… Transience means change, something temporary. Most trimmers are not migrants, like fruit pickers and folks that follow crops. Heck, there’s so many grapevines everywhere that the people who work in viticulture are buying homes and staying put! The people who come through to trim are eclectic, seem to be from everywhere, and often seem to be only temporarily here. The only work they seem to want is “trimming”, therefore: trimsients! I think it’s a beautiful and descriptive term, but I won’t try to force you to use it or like it…

    • Like the Blue Diamond Co-Op for almond growers.

  • Double speak outside of cheek

    A lot of the trimmigrants are coming from Spain. They have money in their pockets but are still stealing from local grocery stores. Ridiculous. They should be sent back home and not allowed re-entry for a year or so.

  • Can’t be tax evasion,if you pay taxes!!

    • Let me brake it down for you, if you paid taxes on it and said you were building it’s laundering, if you were selling it and not paying taxes you are evading, now you fell into one of those two categories because until the first of next year you could NOT sell it legally. It’s just a fact I wanted to bring to you attention before you spill more beans on the internet.

    • Granny,

      Good to you and yours for paying something but how can someone pay federal taxes on something that is illegal?

      • Not granny.and yrs ago we did it. Not saying nothing else.we run a licensed business now. We don’t mess with growing. The greed we saw coming years ago and never looked back. Please have a safe evening

  • Honestly it should be 70 bucks a pound it was 200 when it was worth around 2,000 it dropped to 150 when it was average1,500 a couple years back now it’s going for 700 so 10 percent is 70 bucks…

  • And in the 80’s it was $100/# while mkt rate was $1600 which is not 10% but 6.25% At a generous $900/# trim wages should be 60$/# – tops!

  • Entitled rookies will always have a hard time, she should focus on her strong background in the liberal arts.

    Sounds like she had an abundance of unreasonable expectations coupled with a lack of skill and proper connections to a decent farm – I would have fired her!

    That said, I’m sure her series will be wildly entertaining and a huge hit! Producers are lining up already no doubt 😂😂

  • Timothy McVeigh's ghost

    Not to worry the UFCW is making headway unionizing cannabis work.
    http://www.ufcw.org/cannabis-workers/
    Prices will skyrocket back up once the labor goes union
    Just wait….

  • bull, big AG has taken over and they wont be payin high wages.min wage you will see.

  • Another self entitled un-skilled laborer snowflake showing up in the emerald triangle expecting an adult daycare experience

  • 4200 in five weeks is way more than minimum wage even at 12 hours a day that comes to 14 dollars an hour for a 60 hour work week. Hey if it’s too hard I’m sure McDonalds is hiring

  • If C.H.U.M.P. hasn’t commented this thread means zero.

  • I like how she said no matter how many hours she worked she could only make minimum wage??? Was she not allowed to get “stoned every day”? And for ” backbreaking work” what was she trimming???? Pine trees?

    • Just read the article they were getting 200 per and it was her friend that took her up there??? Wasnt a greqt place to work but they paid her promptly when she left.

  • Hahaha this is from a greenhorn. Listen this job is like any seasonal job, and they aren’t for everyone. Some people arent cut out for fisheries, weed processing, trails crews, etc. They are hard working jobs for hard working people . Go find your strengths elsewhere, because trimming ain’t yours 😂😂 we have made up $1500 a day.

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