Marijuana trimming isn't just an illegal trade anymore

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More photos below.
When you first walk in to Megatron, the nickname for Pink House's grow facility, the beautiful scent of sativas and indicas can be a bit overwhelming. There are hundreds of small plants perched beneath flourescent lights throughout the hallways and thousands of plants spread out between four different rooms. Every day, the grow house goes through the same repetitive schedule: shuffle hundreds of plants from vegetative rooms to flowering rooms, water and fertilize plants, prune and check flowering rooms, harvest what is ready and send things to the trimmers.

The latter is a job so big that it takes a staff of fourteen full-timers to keep up with. They come in each morning, change into their work clothes (trimming is a smelly job), grab a paper bag full of long-stemmed, leafy cannabis flowers and start trimming -- up to 84 full plants each week.

Sometimes they get a break to help harvest or breakdown of equipment, but they spend the majority of their 40-hour weeks preening the unwanted leaves from nuggets of cannabis.

If you have never trimmed before, you may not know how monotonous and tedious the job is. It's the one part of the process that growers traditionally have great disdain for mostly because it involves staring at small pieces of green with great attention to detail for hours on end. However, for this crew and many others around the state it is just another job - and one they don't mind doing.

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Wax Jones
Most of the trimming staff works together in this one room.
When asked if they liked their job, most responded with something along the lines of "we're crazy" with a crooked smile on their face and without looking up from the task quite literally at hand.

"To be able to work with this plant and still make a living is incredible," says Shawna Weiman, "Trim Leader" for Pink House. "This is a good way to be passionate about it and do it right."

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Wax Jones
Megatron painting.
The job -- like nearly all in the medical marijuana industry -- is not legal under federal law. But it is completely legal at the state level and backed by state regulations. Each employee must have a state-issued badge to work at any MMJ facility.

As tight as those regulations have to be, the ones the trimmers follow while trimming are even more demanding. The trimmer must snip off each of the undesirable fan leaves and then precisely manicure the THC-coated sugar leaves off of the bud, leaving behind a bud that is both appealing on the shelf and enjoyable to smoke.

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Wax Jones
After trimming the nugs are brought into the scale room to be weighed and samples are taken for testing.
"It's not just about aesthetics it's about trimming each bud to cater to its characteristics," trim leader Shawna Weiman says. "It is a lot different trimming an OG than it is trimming something like a Golden Goat."

OG buds are tighter and more compact and middle-shaped, which make them easier to trim than a haze, since hazes are not as dense and have many more fan leaves that need to be removed, Weiman says. Overall Pink House has more than 100 strains that they grow, which the trimmer must know how to prepare in their own way to ensure maximum quality.

"Trimming is an essential part of the curing process," says Weiman. "Many people just treat it as something that happens after the fact like it doesn't matter that much, but it is really an understated and incredible part of the process."

Continue for more on the career of a trimmer.


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36 comments
trimexpert
trimexpert

I am a trimmer and there really is no other way around it, using scissors is going to produce the nicest looking buds without damaging them. Keeping all electronics covered is essential, and wearing gloves is important, but the most crucial piece of kit is the scissors. I found some PRO 420 scissors online a month ago and they are by far the best scissors I have every used. Now all of my trim team have a pair. We can do about a pound and a half a day with a handful of decent scissors.

publius.ceasar
publius.ceasar

Most Mendicino and Humbolt growers I know have gone over to machine trimming. Then a 4 person crew can strip branches and large sugar leaves and toss untrimmed buds into buckets. Then a 2 man crew can run up to 70# through a Twister or other large trimmer in less than 6 hours. The normal benchmark is an experienced trimmer can do a pound of weed every 8 hours by hand - generally at $20/hour. Most machines butcher the buds, but a Twister turns out tight, well rounded buds. Trophy buds are still, of course, hand trimmed.

the.mendleson
the.mendleson

It should be decriminalized everywhere! Alcohol is legal and drunk drivers kill mass amounts of innocent people every year its ridiculous. The day the world finally realize its stupid pot its legal I am going to buy the best vaporizer "http://www.smokazon.com/" and celebrate the right way!

Travis Diener
Travis Diener

What you mean Nick Cannon got the part who the fuck is Nick Cannon? Daddy Nick Cannon is hilarious....Man fuck you son your being a little bitch

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hispanic and Asian women do it better, and faster ... and for less $$$.


COmidnightrider
COmidnightrider

Exactly! Minmum wage and, Don't EVER File Workman' Comp.......

Numerous Dispensaries incorporate a electic trimmer unit to process bulk medicine. with many units essentially doing the work of Twenty Human Trimmers without much degradation of Bud. As a Twelve plus year "Trimmer", The new cannabis industry needs to step up with Real Career Opportunities, instead of some transient temp jobs

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

"Each employee must have a state-issued badge to work at any MMJ facility" -- interestingly enough, the MMED never got around to defining the precise categories of occupational licenses.  HB10-1284 said of occupational licenses only that:  "For the purpose of regulating the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of medical marijuana, the state licensing authority in its discretion, upon application in the prescribed form made to it, may issue and grant to the applicant a license from any of the following classes, subject to the provisions and restrictions provided by this article:  ... Occupational licenses and registrations for owners, managers, operators, employees, contractors, and other support staff employed by, working in, or having access to restricted areas of the licensed premises, as determined by the state licensing authority", which merely implies that the MMED is supposed to establish standards for such licenses.  The MMED rules, last revised July 1, 2011, fail to define the specific occupational licenses or promulgate standards or regulations for them, only categorizing license types as key, support, or registration, and stating that "The Director of the Division shall establish appropriate sub-categories within each occupational (license) category to reflect the nature of the activity to be performed".  In that rules defining the occupation of trimming (or rules for vendors, or rules for lab techs) have never been established, the badges being issued lack a legal basis for their existence.  Romer's grandiose scheme of overbearing regulation provided for the DOR hiring fully 110 full-time employees; that never occurred, but the purchase of more vehicles than the MMED had employees is indicative of what a boondoggle he created.  Despite the scathing audit and the obvious Mickey Mouse nature of medical cannabis regulation by the DOR, every idiocy in which it was engaged and many it never got around to attempting, in particular, the obsessive monitoring of cannabis "from seed to sale", were all incorporated in plans to regulate general retail sales to adults -- the farce within the MED will continue, even as State government as a whole pursues its macabre plans to continue to felonize Coloradans outside the system for precisely the same conduct it will ostensibly be regulating in dispensaries.  Could Colorado have made a worse mess of regulating cannabis?  Possibly, but the fact that the State ignored the Constitution by not making the "state health agency" responsible for regulating the commerce in medical cannabis and what I have recounted above suggest otherwise.

Aaron LeForce
Aaron LeForce

trimming is only fun your first time...after that its just a chore like anything else.

Monkey
Monkey

I see gloves are optional, I hope washing their hands isn't. Don't they get sticky fingers, or is that weed as resin free as it looks? 

What's the paycheck like? Do they pay hourly or by weight trimmed? If you pay them a piece/weight rate, you avoid minimum wage requirements.

Hunter Sondeen
Hunter Sondeen

this job is chill but gets real boring after a bit..

Marcus Netters
Marcus Netters

I want this job no distractions, wonderful aroma, just trimming

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@the.mendleson ... typical clueless stoner, always wants to change the subject to Alcohol.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@COmidnightrider ... Marijuana has always been about LOW END, Unskilled Labor ...

... the reason why so many slacker-stoners are attracted to it.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase

"Granting the DOR regulatory authority over retail sales of cannabis is not bad at all"

 -- Robert Chase

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Lauren Dabs Laire  ... and Hair Nets?

But who doesn't like mangy dread ends and E. Coli in their "medicine" ?


BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Hunter Sondeen And Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Let's not forget about that.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  In principle, it is not, and the context of the quote is in reference to the regulation of the sale of recreational as opposed to medicinal cannabis.  The DOR is the appropriate body to regulate the retail sale of recreational cannabis, but that does not so much as imply that the DOR needs to hire hundreds of new employees, video plants growing from seed  through processing to sale, or any of the other bad ideas already applied to its (inappropriate) regulation of medicinal cannabis, which should have remained the province of the CDPHE.

 If you are trying to express something, go ahead and do so -- pulling brief quotes of me out of context and bolding, italicizing, and underlining them does not communicate much, except that you hang upon my every word.

publius.ceasar
publius.ceasar

@DonkeyHotay The grows I've consulted for ALL require employees to wear hospital scrubs, hairnets and beard nets, nitrile gloves and wear shoe covering when they are in rooms where cannabis is grown, processed or stored. Of course they are the minority of grows.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay insinuates that eliminating all regulation of cannabis is possible and desirable, even though he does not believe either.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase = supports the prohibitionist propaganda that marijuana is so harmful and dangerous that it must be, or should be, REGULATED by BigGovernment.


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