When Abraham Lincoln signed the Declaration of Independence in 1892, he famously slammed down his quill and exclaimed, “This is a free country, goddammit. We won’t have slavery. But you can buy and sell whatever the hell else you want.” He didn’t foresee that very soon unscrupulous Democrats (Democrats and Republicans were opposite back then) would ban many awesome substances from the free market. Lincoln’s own family owned countless acres of marijuana plantations that came under scrutiny. He was pissed.
What those dumb Democrats didn’t realise was that by legislating their own intolerance, they would create a vast economy built on illegitimate transactions. Markets of other contraband created violent cultures. But with the more spiritual substances, like my and Lincoln’s personal favourite, a more reverent tradition formed.
As a youth, I grew accustomed to a certain type of financial and social interaction. A local merchant and I would smoke together, exchange small talk and then he’d say, “So what do you need?” A pleasant 15-minute meeting would end with me slightly poorer but stocked. I didn’t really know or give a shit about the person, but this was ceremony and it was important. I still have transactions like this from time to time, but being in New York, my main source is a much more corporatised delivery service.
I’ve tried to smoke with delivery people on a few occasions, but I’ve never been able to convince the dude to do it. They always say, “No thank you,” and hurry out like I’m some kind of weird asshole. Here’s my thing: I love ceremony, but wouldn’t it feel better for both of us if we could establish some level non-narcitude with the stranger we just made illegal trade with? This guy deals with way more potential rats than I do, so really it’s in his favour.
The fact is that the social dynamic between dealer and purchaser has changed in the interest of business. But this less-than-friendly attitude is evolving into normalcy far faster than our laws our catching up with the times, at least here in New York. This town and state are progressive when it comes to same-sex marriage, but pot decriminalisation still manages to be a point of contention. I mean, if Cuomo’s 25 grams legislation wasn’t hampered by Republicans this past summer, you can bet your ass I’d be walking around town with a jar of 24.5 grams in my pocket instead of the fearful bundle of nugs hiding in the bottom of my cigarette pack.
But with decriminalisation comes the death of the ceremony that I hold so dear. Having weed delivered becomes like having Chinese food delivered, and you sure as hell wouldn’t want your delivery guy to eat a wonton with you before he left.
I wanted to find out what the dynamic was like in California, where legal dispensaries rule the roost. I called The Green Cross, a delivery service in San Francisco and spoke with a fellow named Cody whose day job is to get weed to his customers.
VICE: How long have you been working at the Green Cross?
Cody: About two months.
And in those two months have you gotten to know some of your regular customers?
And as far as your interactions with them, have you gotten to know them personally and developed a friendly relationship with any of them?
We have very friendly friendships, y’know. We’re friendly. That’s what we get paid to do. And we have a database that tells us what we need to know: If we need to call, if they can’t get up, if we need to bring it to the door because of their illnesses. We’ve got a lot of regulars that we’re very familiar with in the city.
And what’s your average customer like, age or ailment-wise?
It varies quite a bit, but most of them are in between their early twenties and thirties. But we get a lot of older ones too.
And when a delivery person goes over there, do they invite you inside or is it strictly a delivery at the door type of thing?
We ask them if they’d like the driver to call them when he gets there, or what kind of car you're in if we're meeting you on the street, or would they like us to come and knock if they can’t get up, etc.
I live in New York and I get pot delivered fairly often, and I’ve always thought that I’d feel better if my delivery person smoked with me before they left. Is that something you’d do with a customer?
Smoke with them? No sir, no sir. We’re very professional. Very professional about that. We do not do that.
Even if you had a prescription yourself? Still wouldn’t?
No, in fact someone would probably be fired for sure if they did that. It’s against our policy. I don’t know about other dispensaries, but not here. This is a medicine, y’know, like you wouldn’t take any other type of medicine with your patients.
How is your work environment in general? Pretty relaxed?
We keep it very professional, and at the same time we try to get a lot of charismatic people, and between being busy and all. I guess we’re not as open as you’d think it would be. We keep it very professional. Previously: Weediquette - Stop Smoking My Bong Wrong