Perfect marijuana doesn't grow on trees, but did you ever wonder how buds get their distinctive appearance? It largely comes down to trimmers: workers who carefully snip bushy cannabis into compact, ready-for-sale buds.
Every year California's cannabis-rich North Coast sees an influx of seasonal workers, mostly twenty-somethings, looking for work processing marijuana. While there isn't much hard data on the number of seasonal laborers in the underground industry, local experts tell The Washington Times between 7,000 and 12,000 workers arrive in California's pot-rich towns during the trimming season from mid-September through the end of November.
Trimming involves long hours of repetitive work, sticky fingers, and working under the table for cash/product. Fast trimmers can make $300-$500 a day. Because the harvest season lasts for around three months, this can give disciplined workers enough to live for the rest of the year. The catch: depending on where they're working, trimmers could be charged as an accessory to a drug crime if the operation gets busted.
It's an interesting fringe subculture. However, the days of underground trimming jobs may be numbered: like other forms of agricultural labor, trimming is becoming mechanized - making the yearly influx of so-called "trimmigrants" a thing of the past.
Want to see how people trim buds by hand? Check out this instructional video from School of Hard Nugs: