The Etiquette of Weed Pt. 1: Acquisition

It's always a good idea to foster a healthy relationship with your dealer.

It’s always a good idea to foster a healthy relationship with your dealer.

Good morning! Today, we’re running the first in a two part series about the etiquette of marijuana, written by our lovely friend M. Anton (because, surprise surprise, the two girls writing about etiquette do not smoke a ton of weed). We would however like to point out that it is quite likely you live in an area where it is illegal to purchase/use marijuana in some sort of way, and that nothing is more polite than a law-abiding citizen. Please don’t get us in trouble. But do leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Not since Prohibition has a controlled substance been as ubiquitous as marijuana. While illegal on a federal level and only legal in two states (Colorado and Washington) and essentially legal through an incredibly lax system of medicinal governance (California) you can find people smoking weed in just about every town in America. And if you think this isn’t true, then congratulations! You’re incredibly naïve.

For the rest of us, this guide will serve all manner of people, from the occasional dad who smokes one weekend a year to the stoners who bring dank nug on the subway and don’t give a fuck. Here, we will break down the polite way on how to obtain the lightest product on America’s black market and how to smoke it without angering everyone around you. If you don’t want to possibly end up in jail (this is especially true if you’re a minority, sadly), consider this an academic discussion.

This guide is based of my keen observances of pot smokers from my suburban high school days outside of a major metropolis through the heady days of New York City delivery services. Your experience may vary.

How Do I Get Weed?

The acquisition of weed varies drastically based on location and age so this will be a sort of catch-all for each of those situations. I have observed people getting weed in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area, college towns, and cities, all on the East Coast. I have heard stories about people throughout the West Coast who complain about how much weed they have because they need to make room on their bookshelves. I have seen people in the ‘burbs call upwards to twenty actual human people who had the most tangential connection to maybe mentioning weed once, that one time, maybe? on the prowl for anything that they can smoke (they eventually settled on smoking a Chris Reitsma baseball card).

How Much Should I Buy?

So you want to smoke weed. Sure! I get it.

Weed has a nice amount of lingo associated with it that is fairly easy to break down. You want good stuff, “dank nug” or “skunk” weed and not, well, “shit.” The way most marijuana is distributed on a street level is based off the all-important ounce of weed, or a “zip,” as it would be comfortably transported in a Ziploc bag. While an ounce is the most expensive, it is the Costco of weed: you get the most green for your, uh…green. The rest of the normal person-to-person transactions are dealt with based off of the 28 gram ounce. So:

1 Ounce (Zip) = 28 grams

1 Half = 14 grams

1 Quarter = 7 grams

1 Eighth = 3.5 grams

1 Gram = I mean, c’mon.

Because of availability, a gram was the most popular and readily available amount in the suburbs with a standard price of $20. If everyone was polite and not a profit-hungry monster you’d be able to buy $20 and get 1 gram of weed. This can comfortably fill one blunt, two regular joints, two packs of a moderately sized bowl/bong, and probably three packs of anything homemade (an apple, a plastic water or soda bottle, an aluminum foil bowl).

The next step up as an eighth, retailing usually for something around $65. This is perfect for someone who wants to hold on to a bag for a while for personal use or if friends are coming over. Because smoking weed is a more social activity, especially when you’re young and supply is scarce, having weed to smoke is polite. Think of it like bringing a six-pack to a party: you need to contribute in order to attend. Having a bit extra to move is a nice thing.

This is also a good amount for people who want to sample weed through edibles, like brownies, without getting involved in the messy bits of actually inhaling smoke. An Eighth is sort of the grown-up version of the gram: it’s not enough that you can’t burn through it if you need to and it’s not too much that you’re stuck with it for too long.

Obviously, the more you are in to it, the more you’d want to purchase as it’s better for pricing. If you’re in to buying pounds or bricks (kilos) of weed? You’re assuredly a terrorist.

How Do I Get Weed In The ‘Burbs?

Buying weed in the suburbs is the shittest of all bullshit. There is no more polite way to say this. The entire economic deck is stacked against you. The market is set up by a series of different factors, set on the supply and demand scale. In short: there is a lot of demand, there is rarely any supply. To really make it worse it’s illegal which means if your township isn’t riddled with other time consuming, lethal, more costly crimes, then busting teenagers or young adults for possession is a really easy way to print some tickets.

These scales vary greatly. I grew up near a major metropolitan American city on the East Coast where the usual  pot buying experience was essentially pleading with someone to allow you to pay them money for an illegal substance in a transaction that was awash in duly-earned paranoia. If you live in some pot mecca like Portland they apparently just dole it out on the streets like Planed Parenthood gives away free condoms. “Please, take this. Think about society.”

Finding someone to deal you weed–to take on the risk of selling you weed–is a tough road to walk. There are only about three people in any given town who know the guy who knows the guy who knows the guy who can sell from his or her ounce of overpriced, stepped-on weed that you’ll be grateful to acquire. And that first guy will be incredibly selective about who he gives his phone number out to because, as with a finite supply, your fellow fiends are also your competition. This does not allow for a lot of hugs and trading of phone numbers.

A good, solid connection is worth its weight in overpriced weed. Because of the risk involved it’s best to deal with people you can trust and, in turn, can trust you back. The easiest way to get some weed is to go to a party and get to know the people who smoke. Like nearly everything in life, things are a lot easier once you act like a person to another person and treat them with a smile and some genuine conversation. Once they know you’re cool and you feel like you’re on solid footing, you can ask where they get from. Because they really have little incentive to help you (the profit margins are fairly low) you’re either going to get that number because you seem like a normal, chill person or because you’re not worth the risk.

This makes acquisition in a small town that you just show up in difficult because, well, who the hell are you? It is polite, all things considered, that you come to help Grandma rehab her new hip with your own bag and not try to press on the small town economics that goes on around you.

What If They Sell Me Shit?

Here’s the bad news: they are absolutely, positively going to sell you shit weed because they can. There is no incentive for a dealer to really be polite to you. Even if it’s the kid in your macro economics class. Even if it’s the girl in that photo of the Kindergarten Winter Festival play that you see on the screen in a slide show at your ten-year reunion. Without many options you have to be unfailingly polite because they have no reason to actually sell you anything. This means that you cannot overreach or overstep and are essentially at their mercy. This sucks. Have I mentioned that this sucks yet? It sucks. Move.

When Is It Polite To Call?

Since the product is so scarce and the demand so high, people will never get enough weed and they’ll want it all the god damn time. And, because the dealer has a high volume of people wanting her or his product, you’re at their mercy. This means that it’s not about when you call, or how polite you are over the phone when you absolutely have to leave a message. It means that you have to be polite when they call you back. You’d be shocked how many times the phrase “Hey man, no worries” can be uttered. In this situation, your politeness has to be registered in how flexible you can be.

I know of people calling up a friend at 2 AM, walking in the back door of their house, going in to their bedroom, quietly walking past the dealer and his sleeping girlfriend, taking the bag and dropping the money, and then quietly exiting the premises. I know of people who have to connect by walking through the back woods and finding a place to deal that is fifteen minutes away from town. I know of people who are much older who have to wait for their connect to decide that she needs to go down the shore to visit a college friend and then wants to transport that large amount of weed back up the interstate for little personal profit.

If you want to have weed in the burbs, you can’t not be polite, and you can’t not be willing to go the distance with a smile on your face.

How Do I Get Weed In College/When I Don’t Live With My Parents?

College is a completely different story. Because the market is larger, and the rules a bit looser since you’ll be able to smoke in an establishment that isn’t shared by the people who birthed you and are probably none too pleased with your illegal activity, there is more room for marijuana. That makes things better for you, the customer. Hurrah, American competition!

Finding it is considerably easier as well. The dealers come to the mercy of the market, which means they’re actually looking for customers. Isn’t that nice? This means that if you talk to someone at a party who has weed, you can ask him or her where they got it from, and they’ll more than likely tell you, with an add-on “has that good shit.” It’s nice.

I have watched kids walk down the halls in the dorm room and go “hey, you smoke? You want?” I know of kids who smelled weed in their off-campus apartment building and went down stairs only to find that heeyy their downstairs neighbors sell weed, alright! I’ve known of friends who don’t even smoke weed go “hey, if you want, my friend just got an ounce and is selling.” The market is so crazy in college people who don’t even want the product can offer it to you! It even looks like those old PSAs you’d used to watch during Duck Tales when ‘junkies’ on the corners of grey concrete buildings would harass kids and make them take drugs. But this is real!

What If They Sell Me Shit?

This depends on your relationship with the dealer. If you know the person well then they’re more likely to literally up and tell you that this product just isn’t that good, oh well. Sometimes if you’re a loyal customer prices can be negotiated. Other times there might be a pricing system where you can pay less for lower quality and pay more for higher quality. Because weed is essentially smoked by “chill” people it’s rare to get in to a screaming match over the sale. If you look at the weed and say “man, this doesn’t look good” or smell it and go “meh” or actually smoke it with the dealer and go “this is some bogus shit” they’ll usually take care of you. If they don’t? They lose a customer.

Buyer’s remorse is tough, though. If you go home and smoke you can call back, but don’t be angry unless you got legitimately ripped off, like paying $130 and getting a bag full of oregano. Because there’s no good legal recourse (you’re not calling the Better Business Bureau any time soon) you can just bad mouth the fuck out of that gal or guy and make sure that no one buys from them again.

When Should I Call?

So how industrious is your dealer? Usually you still have to make a trek out to the abode of the person you’re buying from as weed is somewhat bulky and, if it’s good, just absolutely reeks. If you have a stable relationship you should be able to actually figure out a schedule that works for them and that works for you, usually needing the dealer to be home. Some people never leave their house, and hey, that works better for the seller. Be sure to bring over some sunlight in a mason jar for them.

Some people are home over variable times, so call up, ask if you can come over, and then they’ll say “yeah, come through” or give you a time to “come through.” (Everyone always “comes through” which is probably a good way of saying “you’re going to come by but you’re sure as shit not going to stay.”) One person I knew would bring a mobile, fire proof briefcase like they were transporting state secrets over a train in a black and white 1940s movie. You’d call up, he’d tell you where the poker game was that he was playing at, you’d “come through” and then leave without him ever putting down his cards.

However, like anything that can be gone in an instant, there is still high demand. It’s possible that you’re going to have to wait for your dealer to get more supply in and it’s also possible that they’re going to be busy enjoying college (or studying) and that you will have to be patient. It’s okay. You can wait. You won’t die without weed. And if you really need it that badly? Plan ahead and purchase in more bulk. This helps out you as well as the dealer.

What If I’m Shorted?

Rarely if ever are you just handed a bag. There is usually a tared Solo cup involved before the transaction so you can see in real time what’s going on. Again, with competition comes responsibility to the customer. This way everyone leaves with the fair deal they agreed upon. Yaaaay!

How Do I Get Weed In A City?

Congratulations! You have now stepped up your weed-purchasing game simply because you’re in a large city. The odds are that police are much more concerned with stopping murders and car thievery giving you not exactly carte blanche but enough room to safely and comfortably smoke weed. Unless you’re a minority, then you’re kind of fucked, but you knew that already. Sorry.

The cards are almost completely flipped in this setting as the amount of demand can be met with supply which means that people are now making bank. Real bank. The margins are still relatively small per purchase but there are a fuck load more purchases. Now dealers are polite to you, going so far in New York City to drive up to your god damn apartment building, take the elevator up like they’re delivering Thai, and show off a briefcase full of options for you like a traveling sommelier. Some services go so far as to text their users as weekends come up to offer deals or incoming strains (types) of weed. It’s fucking nuts.

Remember those PSAs during Sunday morning cartoons? Some guys will also come up to you as you walk the streets at night in certain areas of the city and offer you drugs. Unless you’re really in a bind, that seems like a real old school way of purchasing your illegals and doesn’t seem safe in the least. I would suggest politely declining and wishing the ma’am or sir a nice evening before returning to your home and having something ordered.

When Should I Call?

Unfortunately, this begins to hew more closely to the ‘burbs than college, as there are now roughly business hours. If you’re trying to get at 1 AM on a Friday night, it’s more than likely that the person you’d buy from is also out enjoying a Friday night at 1 AM. Call usually from noon through 11 PM with a high volume area of 6 PM – 10 PM for that nice after work shift. It’s possible that your dealer might have differing hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a specific Nite Owl shift.

Because of the high demand, you’re probably going to have to wait. Some times friends of mine have waited for fifteen minutes, others for an hour thirty. You can imagine what it’s like leading up to 4/20 in Brooklyn: some times ending in a three hour wait. Again, you won’t starve without THC so plan ahead accordingly in times of need.

Should I Tip The Delivery Guy?

Fucking OF COURSE you should. A person is bringing an illegal narcotic to your doorstep and you don’t tip? But you’ll tip the pizza guy because…? A friend of mine who uses a service doesn’t tip because it “never occurred to him” and because he’ll sometimes have to wait for an hour. It’s not going to get cold! I asked a dealer once if he gets tipped and he said “rarely.” Jesus Christ guys do I have to remind you again what the fucking burbs were like?! TIP! Tip 20% at least.

What If I Get Shorted?

I can’t imagine that a delivery service would short you on purpose because they will absolutely never get your business again. By all means check and complain and, like any good service provider, they should be able to take care of you on the next go ‘round.

Now that you have acquired weed in a reasonable and polite manner, we’ll tell you how to conscientiously smoke it in Part II.

Part II

M. Anton is fascinated by rituals. He’s also pretty sure the UC ladies really need to revisit the “Should I Put The Toilet Seat Up In A Public Bathroom?” question, cause they’re fucking wrong.


8 thoughts on “The Etiquette of Weed Pt. 1: Acquisition

  1. I lived in Portland for several years and I can confirm that they basically do just hand out weed on the sidewalk. (I was once out with a friend when a stranger passed us on a bicycle and gave the sales pitch “Joints, 10 dollars.” (Fairly quietly, but still! This seems like an unreasonably risky way to sell!) My friend chased him down and made a purchase on the spot. PORTLAND.)

  2. Pingback: The Etiquette of Weed Pt. 2: Enjoyment | Uncommon Courtesy

  3. Pingback: Does Pot Have A Place In Weddings? | Uncommon Courtesy

  4. Pingback: The Etiquette of Weed Pt. 3: A Rebuttal | Uncommon Courtesy

  5. Im from ireland and alot of times i have spoken to people from around the world and they are quite edger to know prices from my little island so i thought i would let you guyws know normally in ireland the weed is mostly from the asian community the chinese orange bud is normally what you get but if your lucky like me you know your dealer well and your dealer knows the grower and you can get better strains ok so prices differ depending on the weed orange bud is 10 per gram but if you want quality its 12.50 per gram if you buy in bulk you will get a better deal half ounce 100 1 ounce 180 to 200 and a brick is normally 1200 but can go as high as 1600 strange that ireland is quite cheap for weed but we also have asshole who fiddle with the weed for a beeter wieght eg. Sugar and water sprayed on bud or powderd glass have to go guys byeeee

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