Trimmigrants Flock To California To Process Marijuana

CALIFORNIA: Except for traffic passing through on Highway 101, this northern Mendocino County city is relatively quiet much of the year. But for three months in the fall, it gets an influx of world travelers lured by marijuana-trimming jobs, temporarily swelling the town’s population of under 5,000 and instilling it with an international flavor.

They’re called trimmigrants and they are an integral part of the North Coast’s lucrative marijuana industry, estimated to be worth billions of dollars and widely considered to be a major economic driver in Mendocino and Humboldt counties. But, like the pot industry itself, reaction to their presence is mixed. The migrant workers contribute to the economy, but many effectively are homeless. Though the growers who employ them typically provide housing or a place to camp, when not working, they camp illegally in parks, alleys and along railroad tracks and rivers. Some can’t find jobs and turn to panhandling and frequenting food banks.

The annual march of migrant marijuana workers has occurred for years throughout the pot-rich North Coast, from Sonoma County to the Oregon border and beyond during the traditional fall cannabis harvest season, which runs roughly from mid-September through the end of November. The phenomenon has gained a worldwide reputation, and now draws an international crowd to rural places that are not on the usual tourist guide list.

 

Union Gripe Brings Federal Labor Agency Into Marijuana Debate For First Time

MAINE:  The federal government’s latest mixed signal on pot stems from Maine, where a medical marijuana dispensary has settled charges alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act and the rights of its employees.

The National Labor Relations Board agreed to hear claims of union-busting at the Wellness Connection of Maine, and although the case was settled first, the board’s willingness to hear it was yet another tacit acknowledgement of the industry’s legitimacy. Although the federal government considers pot illegal, whether for recreational or medical use, new state laws legalizing it have forced federal authorities to address a variety of conflicts. Notably, the Justice Department has agreed to help banks — barred by money laundering statutes from working with drug dealers — find a way to do business with marijuana merchants in Colorado and Washington. [Read more…]