E-mailed on June 9, 2017.
Because it might be the Hmong of Trinity County, California.
Ever since California legalized marijuana, there’s been a “green rush” of farmers looking to turn a profit. And it just so happens that the Hmong are really, really good at it.
As the New York Times reports, the Hmong were noted for their opium-growing skills in Laos. Now, Hmong immigrants who find it difficult to assimilate are turning to the now-legal marijuana farming industry.
Puts a whole new meaning to “melting pot”
Trinity County is still 85 percent white. So Hmong Americans still kind of stand out.
But Debbie Miller, superintendent of the local school district, welcomes more Hmong Americans to schools, where enrollment has declined.
And Hmong Americans have won the local barbecue contest and put on their fashion pageants at school.
But it’s not all about weed
Since so many Hmong are flocking to Trinity County, it’s also been the site of surprising reunions.
Classmates have found each other at stores. Old army buddies bump into each other at gas stations. Even distant cousins have found each other in the farms.
Things aren’t exactly easy for the farmers, especially with large-scale competition and a labyrinth of English-language regulations.
But for now, Hmong make up 1,500 of Trinity County’s 13,000 people. Says one Hmong resident, “If they allow us to grow, the Hmong will stay.”