MARIJUANA TRIMMING POSES TRANSIENT ISSUE FOR SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT TOWNS
Harvest season for marijuana growers brings hundreds of “trimmers” to Humboldt County, but this year law enforcement in Garberville say dealing with the population of trimmers and transients in town looking for work in the marijuana industry has been more of a challenge than past years. News Channel 3 spoke with one “trimmer” about why the business brings him all the way from Alaska, and from law enforcement with 20 years experience in Southern Humboldt about what the problems associated with the season are. “Not every single job can be trimming marijuana and smoking it... That's just the best job in the world lets face it,” says Alex Bailey. His line of work is “trimming,” manicuring marijuana plants for sale on the street. He holds up his scissors and says “I got my Fiskars here I’m always ready for trimming." He’s traveled from Alaska to live here in Garberville, California, and solicit his trimming skills for work in the lucrative marijuana industry. "All I have to do is put in a few hours of work and they give me like an ounce to two ounces of like high class Stetevia Sour-Diesel," he says. “Trimmer kids is what we call them,” says Sergeant Ken Swithenbank with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked out of Garberville for about 20 years. “They’re coming into the marijuana industry and hoping to make a buck trimming for the commercial marijuana growers.” Coming from as far as New York, Florida, Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut… overseas from Australia. Swithenbank says there are 2 to 3 times more trimmers this season, and that brings more problems. Where they’re gathering, drinking, smoking, sleeping, leaving garbage… “the crowd this year of trimmers is more defiant, more abusive, more confrontational than they seem to ever have been in the past,” Swithenbank says. In Garberville trimmers were not hard to find. News Channel 3 was approached by Alex from Alaska as soon as our cameras arrived in town. But although we couldn't get any local residents to talk to us about trimming or the transient issue, law enforcement say most of the town isn’t happy about it." “Some of the rumors are they're going to take matters into their own hands if the county can't address the situation properly," Swithenbank says. But what can the town do about it? Swithenbank says there’s no local ordinance concerning panhandling to address the issues the crowd poses in town. And because there’s no way to enforce laws restricting the transient lifestyle trimming season brings, for the rest of the season Alex Bailey and others coming to Humboldt looking to make a buck trimming pot, they will continue to live the same way they have every season in Garberville. "I’d like to see the feds at some point take a better stance than they have at this moment, that’s where the problem lies right there in our own marijuana industry." Alex Bailey told News Channel 3 he has a 215; a Medical Marijuana prescription card. We reached out to the Garberville-Redway area Chamber of Commerce who told us their official stance on the issue is that it has become detrimental to businesses in the area and they are starting to work with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors about how to fix it.