Legal weed isn’t some utopian dream of the future: its here. Multiple states have fully legalized cannabis and the latest polls show California will likely do the same in 2016. A lot of people working in the industry now will likely be left behind.
Humboldt is known for its grass and to many the underground labor force that supply’s it. Love it or hate it, it’s a huge part of our economy. Trimmers make up the working class of the underground job market. Trimmers are the ones that manicure the bud, shaving off the undesirable outer leaves to prepare the product for sale. Trim work is usually paid by the pound. A typical rate is $200 for each pound of bud trimmed. A good trimmer can do between one and two pounds in a day. Its not unheard of for someone to trim as many as 5 pounds, that’s $1000 in one day. Trimming is a good job. It pays well, is relatively safe (trimmers are only rarely busted or prosecuted) and the learning curve is low. That being said not many get rich off trimming.
The work is not available all the time and most people can only do it for so long. Many however do make a decent living from trimming especially compared with other jobs that require very little skills, training or education.
The reason trimming pays so well is the artificially inflated value of the work and product because of its black (sometimes gray) market status. Take away the risk associated with working in an illicit industry and the value of the work goes way down. After all just about anybody can learn to do it very quickly.
I recently spoke to friends who moved up to Washington, one of the states that has legalized recreational marijuana. I was surprised to hear that they where working trimming legal weed. They had never trimmed when they lived in Humboldt. They told me they were making ten dollars an hour. That’s eighty dollars for an eight-hour shift before taxes are taken out. Compare that number with the two to four hundred dollars a day trimmers are making now tax free in Humboldt’s underground economy. It’s not hard to see the writing on the wall.