One of the things I love most about Detroit is how easy it is to get jobs, especially ones in the cannabis industry. A friend in the neighborhood once said "If you're actually looking for work here, you'll find it. If you can't find work, you aren't looking." Today's story is set back about two months before we got arrested, not long after we moved into our house in Detroit. We were in the beginning stages of everything, including working to make money. I had a semi-regular cleaning and gardening gig, but it didn't pay much and we wanted to be smoking. We had both discussed doing trimming of cannabis professionally previously, we just hadn't been approached with an opportunity until this point.
It was a hot day and we were bored and out of money and weed. It had been awhile since I worked, and due to the fact that I was being paid to clean a clean house, I made myself obsolete pretty quick. We were discussing ways to make money, honestly pretty bummed out at our straits. I had recently gotten a job as manager of a store for 12 dollars an hour, but I hadn't started yet so it was going to take weeks before I got paid. We all of the sudden heard a voice outside, calling for us. When I walked to the back balcony and looked out, I noticed a community member on his bike.
He asked if we knew how to trim, which we obviously did. He offered us a job trimming for his friend, who was a medical grower, and I asked the terms. He told me it was 20 an hour for wet trim, which meant we were to trim it fresh before it dries. There would probably be some weed in it for us too, which appealed to us greatly. I agreed for the both of us, and asked when. He told me to show up at his place in 2 hours to be picked up by his friend, the grower. There it was, we didn't even have to leave our house and we had our first decent paying trimming gig in the D.
We showed up at his place on time, and ended up waiting awhile. They called the grower to make sure he was coming and he responded he was, just running late. Knowing who had offered me the job and having heard the name of the guy picking me up, I expected a nerdy white guy, honestly. That's not what I found. At some point in the waiting, another girl showed up. She was dressed in a sweater with spikes coming off of it, and honestly was a strange girl. She was interacting with someone in the community we didn't trust, which put us on edge. The guy was the type of guy who you chased off of your property with machetes to keep him from stealing your shit, puppies included.
Finally, after awhile of waiting the grower showed up. He was a huge black teddy bear of a guy in a minivan, which wasn't a problem but it also wasn't quite what I expected. For the purposes of privacy for his sake, I'll refer to him as R. He had an urban drawl that made him a little difficult to understand at times(which he made worse specifically for phone calls it seemed), but he was friendly for the most part. He rattled on about the job and his harvest as we drove to his house, which was pretty close to the famous 8 mile. I buzzed with both anxiety and excitement at the job ahead.
We got to his house and he set us up in the front room at a plastic table with some chairs and trimming scissors. The table and chairs were flimsy, which made for funny times as he smashed the chairs one by one like they were pop cans, with his ass. He disappeared for several minutes leaving us to converse and get ready to work. The girl rattles off about being dumped recently and needing to focus on making money. She talked a lot of her trimming gigs out west, and how she was essentially eye candy for the growers. Finally R returned to the room with two huge handfuls sticks of weed covered in large buds. It covered most of the table. He handed us all plastic bins and put one next to each of us for the finished buds.
We started trimming with our Fiskars trimming scissors and continued doing so for hours. At a certain point, he introduced some previously dried weed that was essentially the smaller nugs of an earlier harvested plant. He rolled joints for us and gave us nugs to smoke out of our pipe when we asked. He kept us pretty stoned that first day.
The weed was decent quality, despite having admittedly been his first indoor attempt at growing. It had good smell, density and the nugs were pretty large, suggesting indica heavy genetics. The pictures shown in this article are of my favorite he grew out of that crop. My favorite thing that he brought me to trim was the gorilla grape, a variety that is hot pink and smells like rasperries when fresh. It was a pleasure to trim and my reaction to it spurred him to go trim the tops of his other gorilla grape plants, for me to trim. That day I recieved the first of many nicknames from R, the cholla killa. This was to allude to the fact that I trim those large top buds quickly.
Not far into trimming did it become clear that the other girl was not only strange but a significantly slower trimmer. She was milking the hour clock and trimming half as much as I was. By the end of the day, she had done a good job of making herself look terrible and us look really good. He told her to throw buds under a certain size, untrimmed, into a bin. He didn't want to pay us for trimming his personal weed, something he wouldn't be making any money on. We respected this and did as he asked, she however got upset and started trimming all of the smalls, displaying them one by one on the table before her.
At a certain point, I said something to her about it, getting a response along the lines of "They're nugs too, and deserve to be trimmed." I tried to explain that they weren't being thrown out, he just had no interest in paying people to trim something he wasn't going to be selling. Seeming to be more of a communist sort of person, she really couldn't wrap her head around the concept, so I gave up and kept trimming. One of my favorite things about Detroit is the generally capitalist mindset of most of the people there. Occasionally, especially in the new growing hippy scene(a lot coming from the wests hippy scene), you encounter someone who can just not wrap their head around the importance of providing value for value.
It was around this time that he told her that he was planning on only paying her 10 dollars an hour, half the original agreed upon amount due to the fact that she was trimming half as fast. He explained that he believes in paying people what they're worth, that it's not fair to us if she makes the same because she doesn't work at the same level.
After awhile, R sent his friend for food for us, which ended up being Wendy's fast food. We stopped to eat and smoke as much as we could in a short time before we got back to work. Due to the high rate of pay, we were just as eager to get back to work as he was for us to work again. I'm pretty sure that girl kept trimming, although she didn't really make a dent in what was left. Before long, we were back in our chairs, trimming away.
Not long after we finished eating, did his friend get ready to leave. Seeing the opportunity, he paid the other girl for the time she had worked up to that point and sent her home with his friend, who was to drop her off wherever she lived. He went on a rant about how slow she was and how he doesn't have time or money to waste on that. He said he'd rather just pay us both more to finish the harvest, which is eventually what he ended up doing.
R spent the day playing on his phone or rambling to us on his plans for his big fall harvest. He spoke about his organic line he uses, how he planned on doing it big this year. I later found out that the supposedly organic grow was not organic when cleaning this grow room for more cash, it was just a popular chemical line with fancy advertising. He was a recipe for the most part, and we shared some of our methods for how we do things. Having a desire to be more organic, he was discussing long term working plans with us that first day, up to the last day we worked for him. He knew he had no idea what he was doing, and he could see that we did.
We trimmed for probably 7-8 hours that day, before we called it quits. He gave us our pay and some of his smalls to take with us to smoke at home. He drove us home, talking about the next days work, which was to start at about 11.....which ended up being more like 1. During this ride home, I text messaged my new boss, of the store I was supposed to start managing in 2 days. I told him I had found a higher paying position in a field I love, it was something I couldn't turn down and that I wouldn't have the time to commit to the manager position. Within just a few hours, I quit, working for more money.
We returned home and smoked a decent amount before crashing out. We reflected on the days events, how we started off out of weed and money and ended up with a nice stash of both. All it took was being in that neighborhood in Detroit at the time that we were to get us that position. It was that start of a decently long, amusing and equally frustrating business relationship with a Detroit native, someone that had seen the fall and rebirth of the city. At a point he drove us through his old neighborhood, directly across the road from my neighborhood. It was like night and day, mine was abandoned and regrowing, his was still beautiful and full of the brick mansions Detroit is known for. I learned a lot about the city and the weed market there from this man. John and I have a saying, Detroit provides. Within just a few weeks of moving there and starting to do good work, we had good high paying work coming our way.