My Dreamy, Dangerous Season With the Weed Harvesters of California Cannabis Country
Legions of young laborers like me flock to the thousands of illicit marijuana farms in California for fast cash, adrenaline, and a piece of the new American dream.
Photos by Lennon Bergland
Somewhere along Highway 17, as it dips under the canopy of the California Redwoods, into the knotted hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Eddie realizes the lid to his snake’s terrarium has been knocked off. He squints through the little window into the bed of the truck at his two American bulldogs, their faces wide and muscled like a pair of t-bone steaks. He looks at Damian, his four-foot python, curled up peacefully in the glass cage.
Eddie pulls the truck into his driveway, exhausted from the ten-hour drive and the dogs jump out, knocking at each other as they leap up the narrow stairs to the house. Tomorrow Eddie will harvest the 100 marijuana plants growing under the humming lights in his garage. (Due to the illegal nature of this business, the names of “Eddie” and the other people mentioned in this article have been changed.)
He awakes with a panic in the morning. The snake never made it in the house and the terrarium sits empty next to dirty dog blankets a…