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Everything I Learned From Dating a Weed Dealer

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Selling weed seems like an easy pay-day. I’ll just buy an ounce and sell it in bits for a profit, you think. It can’t be that hard—that guy Dean from college used to do it and he’s fine, bar all the paranoia and debt and the fact he kept having to buy new phones. So you do just that, and the money starts trickling in—you’re making a couple bucks on every dime bag. You’re flush. You’re eating at nice restaurants and buying rounds for everyone at the bar. You start telling customers to call you “Hitman.”

Then the anxiety sets in. This whole selling large amounts of drugs thing is actually quite illegal, you realize. Driving around in a hot-boxed car full of cash and multiple baggies of skunk maybe isn’t the best idea. And what if someone tries to rob me? Should I start carrying my mom’s bread knife? Should I get my own name tattooed on my forearm so people know I’m hard?

And who has to deal with all that bullshit? Me. And other girls like me. Other girls who’ve dated small-fry weed dealers with a Scarface complex. Thing is, bad boys really are very hot (the distant prospect of only being able to speak to my boyfriend through a panel of glass gets me fucking fired up), so I can see why others might want to follow the same path as I did.

However, I wouldn’t feel right endorsing doing such a thing without handing out some pointers, so here’s everything you need to know about dating a weed dealer.

FALLING ASS OVER TIT INTO ‘THE GAME’

Being broke and in love can be a dangerous combination. Think of Bonnie and Clyde, perhaps the only mass murderers to be name-checked aspirationally by a pair of multi-millionaire musicians. There was probably something like this going on in my head when my boyfriend and I made our disastrous first foray into the drugs trade.

A friend’s older brother—let’s call him Martin—asked my boyfriend if he’d transport several bin liners full of weed from Manchester to Huddersfield (about an hour’s drive) for £100 [$157], plus gas money. Any moron could tell this was a terrible deal, including us. But the thrill in our relationship was gone, and I guess we both subconsciously figured that trafficking thousands of dollars worth of skunk might give it the recharge it needed.

We collected everything and set off down the M60. Arriving at Martin’s, we carried the weed to the back of the house, discovered that somebody had tried to smash the back door in—most likely to get their hands on the 60-plant grow ready for harvest upstairs—and freaked out. We told Martin, who somehow hadn’t noticed his back door had been almost kicked in, and he called the police. Martin, a man with 60 marijuana plants growing in his house, invited the police over. His next move was to cry down the phone to his dad to come and pick him and all the plants up so he didn’t get arrested and have to spend the next 18 months eating with plastic cutlery.

You’d have thought that ordeal would halt my boyfriend in his tracks. But it didn’t. So, first tip: if, in their first large-ish job, your boyfriend almost runs into both police and a gang of men who’d happily bash his eye sockets in to steal some plants, perhaps reconsider what you’re getting yourself into.

Photo by Jake Lewis

YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH LOADS OF STONERS

Hands down the best way to turn someone off selling weed is to let them know that they’re going to have to deal with the tedious ramblings of stoners. Heard about the time an Airbus had to dip at 34,000ft above Berkshire to avoid a UFO? You will. Not particularly interested in the melting point of steel girders? Tough luck.

Not everyone who smokes weed is an intolerable bore. Not every stoner has a PhD from the University of Wikipedia and a semi-working knowledge of what the large hadron collider does. But fucking hell, a lot of them do, and trust me on this: it’s impossible to convince them that you have zero interest in one of their lemon haze lectures. People who are very, very stoned tend not to pick up on basic visual cues—like the rolling of one or both eyes, or the tying of an invisible noose around your neck, or when you’re making it blatantly clear you want to leave by entirely removing yourself from the room.

Generally, the longer you’ve been wherever your boyfriend’s clients are getting high, the more the sedative effect has kicked in, and the more inane they become. Mind you, there are exceptions to the rule: I once saw a couple take turns on a bong like it was a portable oxygen tank, before heading into the next room to have a wall-rattling, furniture-smashing fight. I mean, it still wasn’t the best Tuesday I’ve ever had, but it was far more interesting than hearing what a man with a Super Mario Bros poster on his wall thinks about Marxism.

Watch: Kings of Cannabis

IF ONE OF HIS CLIENTS ASKS YOU FOR A FAVOR, For Fuck’s Sake, SAY NO

We all know that weed makes you sleepy and forgetful, among all the other apparently desirable outcomes, but one thing you’ve really got to look out for is its ability to make people lose all sense of rational perspective.

One of my boyfriend’s customers, for example, once called him and asked to be picked up from a rave because he’d done too much K to get behind the wheel. That experience was the first time I’d seen a dealer do anything for a customer other than sell them drugs, and I soon understood why: we picked the guy up and he immediately started a small fire in the back seat after dropping a spliff and not being able to locate it (ketamine can make doing absolutely anything tricky).

Point is: don’t do anyone any favors, because it’s highly likely you’ll end up getting fucked over by someone whose only involvement in your life is a stunted, bi-weekly exchange of cash for drugs.

Photo by Jake Lewis.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE AND LIVING WITH A DEALER DOESN’T MIX

Weed gets everywhere. If your flavor of work necessitates any kind of situation where you might interact with people whose job it is to rifle through your stuff, check your pockets, wallet, and bag thoroughly before leaving the house.

While working as a reporter, I regularly had to cover court cases. One Monday morning I threw on the jacket I’d been wearing over the weekend and headed to a local courthouse to sit in on a trafficking case. Approaching the police, security guards, and metal detector at the entrance, I emptied my pockets into the tray as asked, same deal as at the airport. Pens, notepads, screwed up bits of paper, small change, cigarettes, a couple of loose Starburst (breakfast), and a bag of weed. A fucking bag of weed I had no idea was on my person.

I pictured kissing my job, my house, and my otherwise sound reputation goodbye as I calmly stepped through the gates, before secreting the items in the tray back into my pockets. I’d made smalltalk with the various officers so many times at this point that they didn’t so much as glance at the contraband I’d coolly dropped in front of their very eyes. But I was lucky; chances are you don’t regularly make smalltalk with police officers. I’m exceptionally lucky I didn’t get a hand up my ass that day.

GET READY TO DEAL WITH A CRUSHING SENSE OF PARANOIA

Imagine that feeling right before a math exam, where you’re pretty certain an isosceles triangle is the one with two equal sides, but also you can’t really concentrate on remembering because it feels like the front bit of your brain is melting and about to leak through your tear ducts. Both of us had that pervading sense of dread hanging over us the entire time, only instead of a bad grade the worst possible outcome was prison. This may not be the best mindset in which to conduct a relationship.

Alongside the custodial worries, we also had parents to fret over. The whole flat stank of skunk, and it was only a matter of time before questions about “that funny smell” and “those posh boys at the window with dreadlocks and bead bracelets” turned into a heartbroken mom and dad.

My boyfriend kept most of his cash in a hollowed-out Bible and most of the weed in a chest on a side table, because he’s an idiot. Lord knows what we would have done if one of our parents decided to consult the Good Book or check out the interior lacquering on that chest, but it would presumably involve heart palpitations and a stern lecture from my dad about how he never thought his daughter would turn into a “weed addict.” “What next?” your dad is saying. “Next you’ll be wanting to go to Glastonbury!”

Top tip: make sure your boyfriend keeps his stash somewhere even Inspector Morse couldn’t find it.

Photo by Jake Lewis

HE WILL THINK DEALING MAKES HIM COOL (SPOILER ALERT: IT WILL NOT)

Most of us aren’t averse to the idea of being incredibly rich and having a lot of free time. However, a big problem with being in your 20s is that it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to achieve either of those things; the majority of us are both time-poor and just generally poor. So when your job means not going to an office and making quite a decent amount of money for doing relatively little actual work, it’s easy to understand why one might let the situation go to their head.

However, there’s nothing glamorous about selling weed or going out with someone who sells weed, unless your definition of glamorous is watching your boyfriend look at his iPhone a lot. Because unless you enforce working hours, the fucker is never off the clock. On a date, with friends, watching TV, eating, sleeping, or fucking, his master’s voice will call him, and he will follow its command.

There’s the rub: because he’s rarely around, and when he is you’ll never have his full attention, you’ll either think he’s cheating (your friends will make fun jokes about you being “paranoid,” which will be always be hilarious), or you’ll be so starved of time together that you’ll follow him out on all-hours drug deals just to hang out. You’ll often pray the next phone call will be a PPI claim, is how desperate it gets. But it won’t be: it’ll be some trust fund kid who calls himself “Blazer” and “needs a really fucking good ounce of kush right about now.”

And before you know it, Blazer is in your front room, drinking your tea and making your surrounding curtains twitch, and stonily confiding in you both about his recent car accident / failed relationship / redundancy / how well he’s been doing with his plan to stop smoking weed (“This is probably, like, the last ounce I’ll buy, then I figure just going cold turkey is the best plan,” Blazer says, before getting a literal fucking hacky sack out of his pocket), and you realize you haven’t had sex in months—high or otherwise—and that the last time you ate something that wasn’t from a McDonald’s drive-thru was over a week ago, and you have a little nug of weed in your hair, and Blazer is in your toilet, pissing mainly over the seat but a little bit in the pan, and he is telling you that you shouldn’t flush it away because “flushing toilets is a Big Energy con, actually,” and you pack a small bag of things and go to your mom’s house.

In short, ignoring your girlfriend in favor of making a tiny bit of profit isn’t cool, even if you do it all in a Golf GTI and an inexplicably expensive pair of jeans.

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When your boyfriend starts asking his customers to call him "Hitman," it's time to make some changes in your life.

Undecided on the cannabis referendum: 10 pros and cons of legalising the drug

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Senior Lecturer in Marketing, AUT Business School, Auckland University of Technology

Senior Lecturer Management, Western Sydney University

Lecturer, School of Business, Western Sydney University

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The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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The latest poll shows a drop in support by New Zealanders for the recreational use of cannabis ahead of next month’s referendum on the issue.

The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll found only 35% of people polled said they supported the bill, down from 40% in June’s poll. Those who said they did not support the bill were at 53%, up from 49% in June. Another 11% either did not know or refused to answer.

Other polls had earlier shown a close vote, neck and neck, too close to call.

National leader Judith Collins says the party caucus will vote no in the referendum. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has maintained a strict “no comment” on her voting intentions, despite admitting she once smoked cannabis “a long time ago”.

So with less than a month to go to the vote, if you’re undecided, here’s a list of the pros and cons of what the consequences could be.

Pros: taking control

1. Economic growth

Establishing a legal cannabis industry creates a range of skilled and unskilled jobs. It could generate more than NZ$640 million in tax revenue for the NZ government.

The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the United States. In one year, cannabis retailers netted the state of Massachusetts US$393 million in gross sales.

Two years after launching a legal cannabis market, California has surpassed US$1 billion in tax revenue.

2. Health not handcuffs

Prohibition has not stopped New Zealanders from using cannabis. Research shows 15% of men and 8% of women in NZ used cannabis over a 12-month period in 2012-13.

Legalising cannabis could save the NZ justice system a staggering NZ$11.4 million a year. Not to mention the social benefit of no longer incarcerating non-violent, otherwise law-abiding citizens who then have to cope with a life-long criminal record.

Māori have higher rates of cannabis use than non-Māori. Even accounting for higher usage rates, research found Māori are more likely to be convicted on cannabis charges then non-Māori.

By legalising cannabis, use becomes an issue of health and social welfare rather than a criminal one.

3. Improves access for health patients

Cannabis is used as therapy for a number of health applications. It has been legally available for medical use in NZ since April 2020.

Cannabis is used to treat nausea and vomiting, the common side effects of cancer treatment. It may be a therapy to treat epileptic seizures.

It has been used to treat muscle spasms among those with multiple sclerosis. It has also helped people alleviate chronic pain, headaches and anxiety.

If cannabis is legalised for recreational use, those using it for medical purposes will have greater access at a more affordable price.

4. Regulated for consumer safety

A standard requirement for legalised cannabis markets includes product testing, which means consumers know more about the products they are using.

Cannabis bought off the street can contain fungus, harmful substances, mould and pesticides. Mandatory testing ensures the cannabis is free of toxins.

To protect children in the United States from exposure to cannabis, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington all passed child-resistant packaging regulations.

Under New Zealand’s referendum, any retailers who sell cannabis to people aged under 20 would face serious penalties. To further deter youth, the NZ Drug Foundation, which is leading a yes vote, unequivocally supports the referendum’s inclusion of advertising bans.

5. Takes money away from street gangs

Over the past two-and-half years, street gangs in New Zealand have grown by more than 30%. The illegal cannabis market, estimated to be worth NZ$1–3 billion, potentially funds these gangs to some extent.

In Colorado in the US, 90% of the cannabis market is supplied under regulation. Over the past decade there, cannabis seizures by border control are at their lowest levels and their value has reduced by millions of dollars.

Legalising cannabis places control of the market in the hands of the government rather then criminals.

Overseas eyes are watching the referendum, which could go either way. Shutterstock/Maxx Studio

Cons: social and fiscal

1. Unknown costs for society and taxpayers

The long-term health effects are not fully understood. Similar to tobacco, the negative health consequences of cannabis might not be realised for decades. Again, in Colorado, for every cannabis tax dollar raised, its citizens spend US$4.50 to offset the negative effects of legalisation.

2. It will turn NZ’s youth to other drugs

A Christchurch Health and Development study shows adolescent weekly users of cannabis were 100 times more likely to use other illicit drugs.

Concerns have been raised about the level of influence the cannabis industry has over the drafting of legislation since its motivation is profit maximisation, not public health.

3. Workplace safety and productivity

A 25-year study in Norway shows workers who use cannabis are less dedicated to their work than those who don’t.

In the US, cannabis use by employees leads to increases in absenteeism, accidents, job turnover and worker compensation claims.

4. Bad for the environment

Cannabis plants require double the water needed to grow grapes for wine. Growing cannabis may cause deforestation, habitat destruction, river diversion and soil erosion.

When grown hydroponically, yearly greenhouse gas emissions in the US equal that of 3 million cars.

5. Property prices could rise, or fall

Once again in Colorado in the US, legalising cannabis was found to increase the value of property prices by up to 6%.

A separate study in Colorado found house prices could increase by up to 8.4% if they were within 160m of a retail outlet selling cannabis.

But 42% of Canadians believe a cannabis retailer will negatively affect their home values.

The median housing market price in NZ recently rose by 12% in one year. Further sharp growth could price many out of the market.

Still undecided?

There are just over two weeks to go now before New Zealanders vote on the cannabis referendum. If you still can’t decide, then head to the Prime Minister’s Science Adviser website for more information, or watch the video below.

Can't make up your mind in the recreational cannabis referendum? You're not alone, so here's some tips from both sides of the debate to help you decide.