A New York City Weed Guy On Dealing Drugs in the Age of Coronavirus

By
Photography Alexis Gross

Published April 29, 2020

How does it feel to be a non-essential, but illegally essential worker right now? We chatted with our weed delivery guy about his thoughts on drugs in the time of corona and what it’s like to be keeping New York City stoned today.

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How did you get into the weed business?

“The first service I ever worked for had thousands and thousands of contacts in their phone. It was a secret network of people when social media was becoming king. It’s kind of like ‘Video Killed the Radio Star.’ New York was really changing. Whether it was dating or going to the club, all of that changed when Instagram dethroned word-of-mouth.

I started selling weed in New York when California had just legalized it. So it sort of felt like this very much illegal business that was adjacent to the winds of change. Like, you could feel Reagan’s War on Drugs was really over. I think about the Miley Cyrus ‘Wrecking Ball’ phase, making a totem of your personality, ‘I smoke weed.’ Then it’s like, ‘Guess what? Everyone does.’

There is this famous Whoopi Goldberg quote where she’s talking about women of a certain age having to play sexless roles: ‘Guess what? Grandmas fuck, aunties fuck, old people are fucking, people that don’t look like Emily Ratajkowski are fucking.’ It’s the same thing with weed. People are having a tincture, people are having an edible, people you would never think. That was what was so dazzling about that beginning time—because every run I would meet eight to 15 completely new characters throughout New York City.”

How have transactions with customers changed since the coronavirus outbreak?

“It’s masked, it’s gloved—it’s just so weird. Because I’ve never really been anonymous doing this, and now I am. Having someone not be able to see your face is a scary thing.

The reality is people are scared. And I get that. But right now, whether it’s your wine, your weed, whatever you’re reaching to for comfort, we are thinking more and more about how we do that, and the state we’re in when we’re doing that. And it’s like, if you can’t be nice to your weed delivery guy, who can you be nice to? 

I’m such a tactile person. I like taking everything out, showing people all of their options. And I think any service worth their salt is doing that. Before corona, I loved the experience of jumping around someone’s mind and having this sacred experience in their home, being like, ‘Okay, what are you into? What do you like? Do you want something psychoactive and fun for whether you’re coding or writing music or folding laundry? Or do you need to brain-drain and relax from the things happening outside of this exchange?’ I’ve never had a job where I was treated better. I’ve never had a job where people were nicer to me.

But now, we’re so starved for that type of interaction. I see it in the faces of the people I deliver to behind their masks. I see the very real desire to connect so much more now. People would always be asking me, ‘Do you want water? Sparkling or flat?’ I found so much comfort in that, connecting with a stranger or having that familiarity of being able to show up and make someone’s day. That being gone, and being left with this very capitalistic exchange is hard. It’s hard to have people pre-order things and then have to decide based on a name. That’s so wine store sommelier, isn’t it? Being like, I’ll get this one because it has a duck on it. 

I miss it as much as they do. You walk into someone’s house that collects records and learn about Japanese soul music from the ‘70s that you didn’t know about. Or who painted that painting. Spaces have power, and when someone allows you into them, that is their most outward-facing self. Having it be reduced to curbside clinical interaction is very different.”

Have any had any issues with difficult customers lately?

“I did have a guy get really upset that I wouldn’t come into his house. He’s like, ‘Well, this is really conspicuous.’ I don’t think anyone doing anything illegal ever said, ‘I wish I was less safe.’ But I was also just like, ‘Let’s read the situation, we’re staring down the edge of a global pandemic. I’m obviously holding something in my hands that, for better or worse, will make you feel better. Why are you coming at me with any sort of aggression right now?’”

I have people buying crazy amounts of cookies, and then they’re so mad that we didn’t have the vegan ones that they like. I’m sorry if there’s butter. ‘I actually asked for 12 oatmeal raisin and four chocolate and you gave me five chocolate and 11 oatmeal raisin and I want a freebie.’ I’ve had people text me and be like, ‘My delivery was 15 minutes late,’ and I’m like, where did you have to be? And they’ll always be like, ‘Well, I think I need a free joint for this. I’ll be like, ‘You think you need.’ Gifts are given, not asked for. Remember that about your weed delivery service and you’ll get more free shit, I promise you. The people who don’t ask for things are the people that get things.”

What has been most popular with customers?

“I think edibles are really where we’re at right now. I’m relieved to see that they’re finally getting that moment in the sun. They sort of dethroned the pen. New York was really running on pens for a long time. People loved the safety and the anonymity of being able to hit a pen in public and being like, ‘This is my e-cig.’ Then we found out that vitamin E was plugging people’s lungs and poisoning them. Then this all happened, and now edibles are a really great mood stabilizer. I don’t know how that hot take got out, but it’s definitely out.”

Are people stocking up on weed?

“Honestly, I think people are just smoking more weed because people need more stabilization. And whether that gives you that or not, whether you smoke more and you tailspin out, I think people are still craving that. They’re craving nothing. A friend of mine said to me, “The only rules now are don’t drown.” And I keep thinking about that. 

I do think people are stocking up, and I also think people in buildings are buying together. I think it’s really cute that people across hallways text each other to be like, ‘I’m getting weed but I can’t meet the minimum, do you want in on this? They have gummy bears.’ That’s community.”