Who is Picking California’s Cannabis Crops?

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A recent labor shortage in the state of California has forced some cannabis farmers to rely on migrant workers to pick their crops. The money is good, but the looming threat of raids on cannabis farms has both farmers and workers worried about the future.

Recreational cannabis recently became legal in California. This means a number of things. Much of the country’s cannabis has been grown in California for years; some of the most famous strains of cannabis, such as the legendary OG Kush originated in California. Now, cannabis farmers have to grow even more in order to meet the state’s incredibly high demand for cannabis.

Labor Shortages are Making Life Difficult for California Farmers

There is also currently a labor shortage in the state, meaning there are not enough workers to meet demand. This has greatly affected California’s agriculture industry. Many crops are left to rot simply because there are not enough hands to go around. So, where are all the workers? They are harvesting and trimming California’s cannabis crops. They are making a lot more money doing it too.

This is a source of annoyance to the state’s berry farmers, who are rapidly losing workers to the cannabis industry. One certainly cannot blame workers for ditching their old jobs and flocking to harvest California’s cannabis crops. Cannabis farmers are able to offer their workers more money, and even benefits in some cases, whereas the berry farmers did not. The solution here seems pretty simple: offer your workers more money and they will stick with you. Happy workers are much more loyal than dissatisfied ones.It should come as no surprise that the workers enjoy harvesting cannabis crops much more than the back breaking labor of picking berries under the hot sun for minimum wage.

It’s steady work with relatively high job security, but the fact remains that cannabis is still illegal under federal law. This means that should the feds come knocking, the thousands of migrant workers who harvest California’s cannabis crops could suddenly find themselves in legal hot water. A felony charge would make it next to impossible for them to obtain citizenship down the road. Still, the rewards seem to far outweigh the risks for some; they now have a relatively high paying job with benefits and the labor is not nearly as intense as picking berries. The workers are happy and the crops are being harvested.

Source: Vice

Image Source: modernfarmer.com

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