By Megan Slattery- Field Associate Producer
It’s 7AM and our crew is standing outside the doors of a massive warehouse in Denver. Bleary eyed but eager to get started, we wait to be let in through a series of three locked security doors. Kevon greets us but doesn’t seem to be tired at all. In fact, he’s almost giddy with excitement for the day to begin. Kevon has a good reason to be excited. The dispensary he co-owns and operates is having its first harvest in the sparkling new medical marijuana grow operation.
Walking into the main section of the warehouse, we stumble upon a very diverse group of people sitting in a circle on top of a huge blue tarp. Everyone is quietly sipping their coffee and gearing up for a big day of manual labor. Their job? Trimming the marijuana harvest. Some of the trimmers choose not to be shown on camera. One trimmer tells me that his mom still does not know what he does for a living and he doesn’t want her to find out on national television. “Fair enough,” I think, “my mother would be a bit shocked too.”
Just as we’ve got tape rolling, Kevon and his partners roll out a five-by-five planter full of marijuana plants. Before we even have time to ask questions, the chopping begins. Before our eyes, piles of pot plants litter the floor and the trimmers are eagerly grabbing them to start the trimming process.
We quickly learn trimming is no easy task-but actually considered an art. Painstaking and time consuming, the trimming process is detailed and extremely crucial to the ultimate sale of the plants. Each trimmer has a particular method and style. But ultimately they need to trim off all the excess leaves and leave the bud perfectly exposed. For this harvest, though, they need to follow instructions from the dispensary owners to make sure all the pot is uniformly trimmed.
Meanwhile, Kevon and his partners are ecstatic. The harvest is something they all take great pride in. It’s a culmination of their hard work and strong belief in the medical marijuana industry. They all gather in the ‘drying room’ as the trimmed plants begin to line the ceiling. They admire the fruits of their labor then quickly get back to assisting the trimmers and keeping things on track.
The planters roll out and the trimmers work hard to keep up. There are a total of 17 planters full of marijuana, and around mid-afternoon there’s concern all the trimming won’t be finished in one day. For the film crew, the giant piles of marijuana are visual gold. We spend hours filming the plants, the trimming circle, and the people that take such pride in their work. The crew has seen this pride and determination in other people in the industry. But it’s different seeing the physical embodiment of all that hard work laying on an enormous blue tarp in the warehouse. The importance of this day has actual weight and smell-much like a farmer’s crops at the end of a long harvest season.
By 7PM everyone is exhausted. The trimmers can barely feel their fingers, the owners are still slowly rolling in the plants, and the crew has enough pot footage to last a lifetime. We pack up to go home, but the trimming crew carries on.
American Weed premieres Wednesday, February 22 at 10 PM ET/PT.