Supplying the high
The trafficking of narcotics and the illegality that accompanies it is widely emphasized in the media, often in a negative light.
While it is indeed more comforting to believe those directly implicated in the crime, the drug dealers themselves, are terrible, immoral people clogging our streets and corrupting our youth, this simply isn’t the case.
A sub-culture of dealers is beginning to come into the public eye, one that deals exclusively with Marijuana and other “softer” drugs. These people are selling to sons and daughters, husbands and wives, then going to work and selling the parents a cold latte or carrying their groceries to their car.
The subject of this interview, identified by the pseudo name John to protect his identity, is 20 years old and has been selling for almost three years. He isn’t technically a crook or a criminal and has never been in trouble with the law. He doesn’t live at home anymore but still maintains constant contact with his parents and in fact, this interview was cut short when John announced he had to go to his parent’s house for Sunday dinner.
Q: Did you have any reservations or worries when you first started selling?
John: No, not at all. We just had a bunch of friends that smoked too and they usually don’t have any contacts anyway and we knew some people so…we’d cut our expenses down to zero and do the same thing as always.
Q: Just marijuana?
A: It’s just a plant. Plus I didn’t do any other drugs at all. They’re much harder and much crazier and like, why would I want to deal acid, or deal coke? The idea of coke and crack and meth is just ridiculous.
Q: Do you think there is a criminal element with whoever you get your weed from?
A: Of course. The legalities of it and the circumstances are there but criminal element only because of the “man” (laughs). It’s a business. Time spent, product moved. It’s profit for anyone involved.
Q: Why don’t you grow your own, and would you ever?
A: I would, except with thermal imaging nowadays and if you’re growing … I don’t know. If I grew, I wouldn’t sell it. That’s tough because if you’re going to grow anyway, you’ll probably make a profit and you would have some for yourself so it’s tempting. However, if I grew I would probably do it just for myself.
Q: What did your clientele used to look like? Was it a wide range of people?
A: I had lots of blue-collared workers. I had one guy who was a murderer. He had a couple of teardrops tattooed on his face. I asked him about it once. That was just dumb (laughs). I had some guys in real estate, security guards. Some people were really sketchy. I even had one guy that would come from out of town, which was funny because the guy I get (marijuana) from is the middleman from the grower so this guy would come from out of town to get it from the middleman of the middleman. But definitely a huge diverse clientele. People in beamers to people in beaters.
Q: You said you sold to your friends. Do you ever have a hard time differentiating between a friend and a customer?
A: (Nods) Definitely. I think that’s better. It’s more trade than like fiat money. We were talking about this the other day. Weed is a thing. It is actually of value and has properties. You can’t make a house out of money, you can’t make clothes out of money, without spending way too much of it. It’s trading. Fiat money has a little to do with it but, if I were to think of it as a business, all my customers are awesome people. They’re friends and they’re also friends with me, maybe because they met me through that, or maybe not. It’s all reciprocal.
Q: What’s your closest encounter with the police?
A: (I have had) tons. I’ve been pulled over and issued tickets and had the cops say it smells like weed and I’ve been on trains with weed and had cops come on, or been transporting on buses. But that’s just kind of risky, dumb stuff. It depends on how good your weed is. My old job I used to have it on me all the time.
Q: Do your parents know you sell?
Q: What would they do if they found out?
A: Cry. But only because my parents are all straight-edge. Although I know they were crazy with that stuff in high school and out of high school. I’m sure they’ve drank a bunch and partied hard and done coke or whatever, but not anymore. On the other hand, they drink liquor so I think that’s a little bit of hypocrisy ingrained in society; a generational thing. They had prohibition years ago with alcohol and marijuana was still legal then, and now it’s switched. Now you have the corporate element where there is an awful lot of interest groups that don’t want another industry coming in there. Whatever the government allows to be legal they can tax.
Q: If you had to do it all over again would you?
A: That’s a tough question. No, I don’t think I would. I like where I’m at now. Although some of the choices I’ve made over these two years have certainly affected my life now and I have to deal with that, but I came to be a different person now and I’ve grown a lot and I’ve gotten to experience things that most people don’t and…. that’s priceless.
Q: Any regrets?
A: Wasting my time on something illegal although I believe in it, there’s better ways to bring about change that I believe in. Profiting off something isn’t the first thing you can or should do. That’s not support. That’s supporting a thing, not supporting your community. If you want your community to change, you have to apply support in different ways than just subversion. That’s something I can move forward with.