Last Update: 10/08/2016

Trim Pot Harvest to Keep Van Life Rolling

Vanholio cuts bud with scissors in a van down by the river
At $200-500 a day CASH, bringing in the weed is perfect work for the OTR van lifer — if you can get it. And if you can avoid getting fucked over.


You 420 types probably know all about this already. But the scales fell from Vanholio's eyes. And now I'm spreading the good word.

Few days ago, I was in Humbolt County, Calif., capital of U.S. marijuana cultivation. Despite cold, wet weather, the national forest campground was packed with hippie kids and others. Their camps looked more settled in than normal. Though that was odd.

Then when I was walking the dogs, the new hippie kids in camp asked, "Have you found any cutting jobs yet?" That opened up an interesting conversation, I tell you what.

Following is what I've learned since. But do your own research. What Vanholio don't know could fill a swimming pool.

Getting Hired

The Pacific Northwest marijuana harvest season runs from late September through mid-November. Hippie kids show up in towns all over Potland, camping out, shitting in the woods, wandering downtown with "hire me" signs. Supposedly, the cultivators come into town looking for workers, usually around the bars.

But I also heard it ain't that easy. Growers usually hire people they know, often locals or returning workers. Makes sense. They don't have time to fuck with some red-eyed trustifarian kid. They need dependable, hardworking people who'll bust ass to get a quality product in. No drama. Oh, and no narcs.

So the trick is getting known and trusted. How do you get that first job? Ain't that always the problem? But it's worth a shot.

Be cleaned up and sober, be friendly, and tell people you want trimming work. Do any other temp jobs you can find around town, even if they aren't paid, and work hard at them. People know people, and word gets around. That's the best advice I got!

What It's Like

From what all I can tell, trimming bud is shitwork. You'll work scissors for 14 hours a day or more, day after day. There'll be chit-chat and music to keep from going insane. One hopes. You'll likely be out at some "farm," maybe a shack in the woods somewhere. You'll try not to think about any "squeal like a pig" scenes.

Your boss could be paranoid about LEOs and the competition. They'll definitely be under a fuck-ton of pressure. Tends to bring out the asshole in people. Their shit will roll downhill, guaranteed.

But that said, the pay is fucking awesome. Been told about $200 a pound. A good trimmer can earn $300-500 a day. I've also heard it works out to about $15-20 an hour. And it's all cash, probably not reported to Uncle Sam. Not bad. Those who work the season sometimes earn around $10,000. That's near enough to carry you a year, if you live simple.

Legal? Maybe

Cultivating marijuana – and helping out – is an illegal felony under federal law.  But Obama's said he won't screw with the little people, especially in pot-legal states. Hillary or Trump might.

In California, the only legal cultivation is for medical marijuana. Only a handful of producers are licensed, and they can only do 12 plants. Most of your Humbolt County growers are illegal. But it's also the biggest business in the county, so the LEOs have a huge incentive to look the other way. On the other hand, I could see legal and/or established producers calling in local, state, or federal law dogs on upstarts. King of the Hill ain't just a kids game! People are shits.

UPDATE: Seems California has just expanded who can legally grow and how much under state law. Keep up with the latest at the California NORML website.

Oregon and Washington have licensed growers of both medical and recreational pot. But some cities have opted out, so be aware. And while pot prices are dropping, they're still high enough that I bet plenty of illegal farms operate back in the woods.

Bottom line is you're probably OK. But be wary and be informed. It's a developing situation. And it's always the little guy that gets fucked over, whether by the gov'ment or the bosses.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

With Harvest Season, 'Trimmigrants' Flock To California's Pot Capital (NPR)
Work in California Clipping Marijuana (Road Junky)
Carving Wooden Dildos for Fun and Profit

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