Over the summer I took a part-time job at Sticky Mantis, a Tier 3 cannabis farm in eastern Washington as a trimmer and harvester. This family owned and operated farm near Cheney has been going since the beginning of recreational cannabis in 2013 and in their fifth year are still growing strong despite having to deal with the ridiculously low prices of cannabis in eastern Washington.
My job started out one day a week trimming with my friend’s mom which was absolutely wonderful for me. Trimming itself for hours and hours is tedious and I would come home covered in cannabis crumbs and smelling of flowers but still satisfied with a full day of work.
Once they started harvesting I was pulled outside and started working 7 days a week, as needed, cutting down plants. Being outside in the plants was very different work. Much more physical, much stickier, much dirtier, and much smellier. Rather than go home smelling like cannabis flowers I would go home smelling like a skunk on defense.
If anybody ever tells you that working on a cannabis farm is glamorous, you can bet they have never worked on a farm.
Despite the odor, the impossible to get out stickiness, the minimum wage, the long commute into the country, and occasional nasty weather, I found a lot of reasons to really like this job.
Here are 5 Benefits I gained from working on a cannabis farm:
1- The Terpenes. It is wonderful to be surrounded by cannabis terpenes when they agree with you. Most cannabis terpenes appear to agree with me but working with so many different strains I was able to observe that different cultivars gave me different feelings. The Bubba Kush gave me the yawns, Futureman made me feel positive and motivated, and Monsterberry was one I personally didn’t enjoy smelling or working with. Everybody on the crew had different reactions to each plant, it was interesting.
2- The Fresh Air- This benefit is only exclusive to outdoor farms, but working outside was a treat for me. Since Sticky Mantis is a pesticide free farm with healthy plants, I was able to enjoy my own healthy experience on the farm. Watching huge cannabis plants dance in the wind around me was somewhat magical.
3- The People- The group at Sticky Mantis was mostly family and their dynamic made being on the farm a little more fun. Take a healthy mix of personality quirks, ambition, love, and jokes, with more hard work and you get a team that keeps dialing in their craft with each season.
4- The Sunshine. After living in the Seattle area for 12 years, having a job in daily sunshine getting regular Vitamin D for months was a really nice change.
5- The Water. This is again exclusive to the farm I was working on, but they had a water spigot that pumped out fresh, untouched, mineral rich well water. I would take my own water bottles and hydrate as often as possible. What a treat!
In the end I have to say that getting on a good harvest crew is a rather exciting, challenging, grueling, and rewarding thing to do. Working with plants or dried flowers is not overly stressful and if you are the low lady on the totem pole the responsibility is also not yours. The challenging part of the work is making it through harvest when you are putting in long physical hours for weeks until it is done.
Now, with this small addition to my resume, I have a little better idea what it is like to grow weed on a commercial level and a much larger appreciation for how important the farmers are in the cannabis industry.