When you think about working at a (legal) cannabis plantation you immediately envision a bunch of patchouli scented, dreadlocked hippies listening to Bob Marley and floating around a massive field of creamy danky kush. Seasonal workers on their way from tree planting or picking apples in Kelowna. Just a way to pick up some quick cash before heading to Bali or Barcelona for the winter. Think again. This is a true account of my personal experience being an employee at a commercial marijuana production facility during harvest season. In reality the entire process is much more akin to an Amazon warehouse than Shamballah. So get comfy, spark up your doobie, and let me take you on a magical adventure to the promised land.
Finding a cash only, under the table, last minute labour job on a weed farm took me about 20 minutes online. The contact number was the owner’s personal cell phone, he hired me on the spot (via voice call) without asking for any form of documentation or proof of citizenship or sanity. They offered $20 an hour cash, free lodging, and free meals. A month of work was promised, so I packed up my duffle bag and headed out to the middle of nowhere.
Upon arrival all you could see on either sides of the sketchy dirt road were unkempt 20 foot high hedges and all that marked the place was a massive peeling wooden sign stating in red hand painted letters to all passing motorists that “OSTRICH MEAT AND EGGS SOLD HERE” with an arrow pointing into the driveway. Our little yellow Honda scraped gravel as we drove up a steep winding incline into what seemed like the beginning of Cabin In The Woods. At this point I was committed. But nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.
The first thing you see is a lovely farmhouse bungalow with a pretty jewel bright flower garden and then it slaps you RIGHT in the face. Behind the fairytale cottage is a MAMMOTH, and I mean MAMMOTH behemoth of a compound. Acres and acres and acres of sticky icky cannabis plants 6 feet tall planted in precise rows as far as the eye can see, in the middle looms a warehouse 50 feet high and as big as Costco. All of this was surrounded by military grade 40 foot tall double fences complete with coils of razor sharp barbed wire on top and fully amped with enough electricity to BBQ a moose on the spot.
I was greeted by the proprietor, an ex Soviet missile engineer, decorated navy captain, cannabis king, oligarch, and to add insult to injury, my father’s doppelganger. His tie dye woolly fluffy sweater and crocheted Jamaican flag beanie did nothing to stop my heart from taking residence somewhere between my toes. Mind you this is after a 5 hour drive on a spit and a prayer, I was hungry, nervous, and now I really needed to pee. He showed me inside the bungalow, where in an empty room were two mattresses on the floor, one already had a flowery blankie on it and a woman’s hairbrush and purse. He told me to drop my bags here and follow him to the compound to start working immediately. Now, I have never worked at a cannabis farm before or really had any idea what the entire process entails. So I took a pee, took a tylenol, took another pee, and headed out to seek my fortune.
Leave a comment if you want to read part two :)