From Rags to Riches: A Look at How Montenegrins and Other Eastern Europeans Are Enticed to Humboldt County Marijuana Farms
For breaking news and in-depth articles on countries such as Bulgaria, Albania, and Montenegro in southeast Europe, many read BalkanInsight, a publication run by award-winning journalists. Today, it posted an article about the Montenegrin connection to Humboldt County’s marijuana farms.
The piece describes forces that push Montenegrins to leave their home and head to our area in large numbers. On the one hand, in their country, they face vast economic problems. On the other hand, they hear enticing tales of riches earned in Humboldt County. One former trimmer described a virtual financial paradise. “All you needed was to go down to Eureka…and ask around for trimming jobs. The Americans also provide food and accommodation and my net income hits 450 to 500 dollars per day,” she said.
One man, who goes only by Milan in the article, compares coming here to his grandfather also coming here as a gold miner. Milan said he came to Humboldt County because he was in danger of losing the house and lands that had once belonged to his grandfather–a man who had once panned for gold in California. The article states,
“Marijuana fields have become my fields of gold, and I am not far from the place where my grandfather used to live once,” he said.
“I had no choice and was on the edge of the abyss, both financially and physically. Back in Montenegro, I snatched the house and land away from the banks and my family is safe. I am so grateful to America; there’s no greater country in the world,” he said.
Though the piece reads a bit awkwardly at times (as if, it was written in another language and translated to English–a likely explanation given the mangled nature of quotes attributed to Kym Kemp), it is overall an excellent look at what it means to be a trimmigrant or marijuana grower from Eastern Europe.
Apparently, “Californian marijuana is an unavoidable topic in the cafés of Podgorica these days – especially the amounts of money that many have earned in the pot industry.” According to the writer, the following video by Milos Beli Pavicevic of Podgorica which has had over 100,000 views adds “to the frenzy.” According to the article, Pavicevic “protects himself from the summer heat with thick wads of 100-dollar bills, out of which he makes cooling fans as “Benjamin Franklins” rain upon him.”
The writer said, “Three people that we spoke to mentioned Pavicevic as a good and well-intentioned intermediary for Montenegrins when it comes to accommodation and jobs at the pot farms.”
If anyone can translate the following video, we have a feeling we would learn even more…[UPDATE: a reader tells us the man only says, “[I] feel so hot” repeatedly. Then, according to the reader, he added, “[L]ook how the money falls from the sky.”] [UPDATE 2: The person who posted the video we talked about apparently did not like the publicity and removed it.]
While the video looks too good to be true, the stories from Montenegrian workers here appear to back up that a good living can be made in the Emerald Counties. Some of the workers plan to bring families and eventually apply to stay here, according to the article.
The article closes with one man’s dream of getting work in our community:
A retired senior police investigator was in the queue for a tourist visa, hoping to work in the cannabis fields; for possession of the same, he used to arrest people in Montenegro.
“My goal is to whisk my family away from here, so my children have a future, as free persons who dare to speak their mind,” he said.