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    Meet Northern California's growing migrant farm worker community: young, overwhelmingly white, marijuana trimmers-- the trimmigrants!

    Brett Myers/Youth Radio

    There's green in dem dar hills!

    Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of "scissor drifters" are lured to California's Emerald Triangle with visions of OG Kush dancing through their heads. They are there to partake of Trinity, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties' robust marijuana industry by trimming marijuana plants—for as much as $150 a pound.

    Brett Myers/Youth Radio

    Life isn't all sunshine and free tokes for those who flood into the Triangle, though.

    Weed functions as a grey market in California. Medicinal marijuana is legal, but each county sets its own rules. Plus it is still illegal on a Federal level, which leaves growers with trust issues: they like to hire locals they already know.

    So before you hit the highway with visions of kind buds in your eyes, take a long look at life amongst the trimmigrants.

    Kym Kemp / Via

    A different kind of desk job

    "You're sitting here all day long. Some people think I sit 8 hours at a job, it's like we're sitting here 14 hours. And it's the same repetitive motion over and over and over again. People just go to town and listen to every kind of music they can."

    — 28 year-old Bishma.

    BYOs: bring your own scissors

    Kym Kemp / Via

    Trimmers are expected to come with their own scissors, and these guys all have their favorites. With and without springs. High Carbon steel. Imported Japanese jobs that look cheap, but run 35 bucks a pop.

    Illegal vs. Legal Grows: It’s The Little Things

    For illegal grows, trimmers often work in remote areas with no cell phone service or running water. Sleeping in tents. Sometimes they don't even know where they are.

    Legal grows can be better, a little like summer camp complete with "family meals" and chore wheels. Which is great. Unless you don't like chore wheels.

    THE “ AG-anomaly”

    Brett Myers/Youth Radio

    "The majority of both growers and workers in this cannabis labor market are white U.S. citizens. What that would mean is that the largest illegal crop market in America is the only one using legal workers, which to me is an interesting paradox."

    - Fred Krissman (not pictured) an Anthropology Professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata. He call's this an "AG-anomaly."


    Brett Myers/Youth Radio

    "This is not the fun vacation thing to do, to show up in Garberville in the fall and see if you can get a job. We as a community cannot house these people, we don't have the jobs for them we don't have any facilities for them and...there's no place for them to go."

    - Kristin Nevedal local resident and co-founder of the Emerald Growers Association.


    Brett Myers/Youth Radio

    "Every year we get missing persons cases and we have no idea where they are, and you can't look for a missing person when you have no idea where they went. We've had trimmers in the past who have been murdered. That's the extreme."

    -Lt. Steve Knight, Humboldt County Sheriffs Department.


    "It's a moot point now whether you believe it should be legalized or not, because it's being grown, in some regards, as a legalized commodity. There's a lot of crime associated with it and we need to take those elements out of it." — Sheriff Downey, Humboldt County

    A Taste Of The Full Story

    View this video on YouTube

    Youth Radio / Via
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