People Are Still Using Cannabis During The Pandemic. How Are They Getting It?
“We’re considered an ‘essential service,’” one dealer told BuzzFeed News. “Which is a mixed blessing because I have to pay for my divorce and rent but I’m immunocompromised.”
Posted on March 30, 2020, at 5:05 p.m. ET
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What better way to deal with a global, economy-shattering, life-altering, seemingly endless pandemic than tucking in at home (as the government has asked you to do for a few weeks now), watching something soothing (may I recommend Tiger King?), and rolling a joint, using some CBD drops, eating an edible, or whatever else is your preferred method of cannabis relaxation? But, of course, it’s not clear how much access to cannabis we’ll have as the shutdown goes on.
In response to a BuzzFeed News callout, hundreds of people across the country and in Canada told us how they were getting their cannabis products, how supply has changed, how their dealers have changed the process of buying, and whether they’re worried about future supply as the quarantine goes on. We also received a number of replies from dealers in different cities who either are ramping up sales due to high demand or have stopped selling entirely because they can’t do so safely. (In fact, thanks to me tweeting repeatedly about this story and looking for dealers who wanted to talk, my inbox now has a number of emails asking for leads on new dealers from people who lost theirs. If any of you know someone “mainly in the Sharon/Stoughton/Canton area” of Massachusetts, I know a guy who needs a guy.)
For people in smaller towns, access to weed feels scarce, and there are a lot of worries that one day, it won’t be available at all. For people in larger cities, they can still access the products they need — just with stringent rules. In cities where weed is legal, only a certain number of customers can enter the dispensary at a time, meaning there are often long lines queued up outside. In cities where it’s illegal, dealers are often refusing cash and only taking Venmo, and not allowing customers to touch any of the product except what they buy. These rules are reasonable — and are likely going to become more and more customary — for the time we’re living in, but they’re not what you usually associate with inviting a stranger over to your home and rummaging through their backpack before choosing a treat for yourself.
What’s clear, at least, is that the shutdown has only made people want to buy even more weed during our collective endless, unwanted staycation. No better time than now, when we have literally nothing to do but sit and wait, to ride out life with a blunt. As one dealer said, “Do you have any idea how many people would hate me if I stopped right now?”
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that smoking weed, especially right now, isn’t a great idea for your health. Smoking has a lot of adverse health effects in general, but, in the time of COVID-19, it’s even more ill-advised because it increases the risk of respiratory illness. The complications that come with coronavirus — tightening in your chest, trouble breathing — could be made worse if you’re a regular smoker.
But coronavirus notwithstanding, some people still need cannabis products for their health during this time. Whether it’s for pain management for cancer treatments, anxiety, depression, PTSD management, or just to while away the seemingly infinite hours that we’re all trapped in our own homes, the demand for weed has skyrocketed in the last few weeks. One cannabis seller in Denver wrote saying that business is busier than ever. “We’re considered an ‘essential service,’” 30-year-old “budtender” Jane (a pseudonym, which I’ve used for all respondents identified by name in this story) said, “which is a mixed blessing because I have to pay for my divorce and rent but I’m immunocompromised so I’m just trying to stay as clean as possible and socially distance.”
Jane confirmed that sales have jumped. “We usually see around $25,000 to $30,000 a day in sales, but we’ve seen that jump by roughly $10,000 daily in the last week,” she wrote, adding that tips have, unfortunately, decreased. “We used to see 350 people a day and now we see about 450.” In Denver, there’s a strict curbside-service-only rule, so the place where she works now sees between 25 and 40 customers in their parking lot every day. Many of them, however, aren’t locals. “We’re still seeing a flow of completely blase tourists. They just want to see Colorado, they don’t care,” she said. “Like the seniors who want to try topicals for the first time because they’re stiff from sitting around and just bored enough to give cannabis a whirl.”
Another seller based in Dallas — where cannabis is not legal — also reported a big jump in their sales. “I normally make $300 per day during the week in profit, and about $2,000 each weekend,” he said. “Well, this past weekend I made $4,000 and $800 each [week]day.” When asked if he’s worried about his supply, he demurred: “Not at all. I run with the wolves.”
What’s really affecting sales right now, however, is unemployment. So far, thanks to the pandemic’s disruption of the economy (and everything else, while we’re at it), more than 3 million unemployment claims have been filed nationally. “My customer base is very small,” said another cannabis seller based in Greensboro, North Carolina, where weed isn’t legal. “Even losing one person can really have an effect on the entire business.”
On the other hand, people who still have discretionary income are buying twice as much as they normally do, and some dealers are only selling entire ounces in order to avoid leaving their houses more frequently than they have to. For frequent-ish users, there seems to be a minor panic about getting access to weed. “Some people are scared they’ll run out, just like with booze and toilet paper,” Jane said. “Some people need more now for the stress and chronic conditions exacerbated by that stress. Some need their medicine desperately as at any other time, like my medical patients who are sequestered because they have compromised immune systems from chemo.
“Some are just preppers. Coloradans are stockpiling cannabis and guns like crazy. Some people even think they’ll never see legal weed again, that if we eventually shut down, that it’ll be the end of all of this,” Jane said. “They’re panic shopping, just like with everything else.”
For customers who smoke or consume weed for medical purposes, they are indeed panic shopping, but there’s a real fear behind their anxiety. Karen is mostly worried about access for the sake of her 18-year-old son, who has autism. She gives him edibles, which help him sleep along with calming his behavioral issues and his OCD, instead of the costly pharmaceuticals he used to be on, which also caused a host of unpleasant side effects.
“He was on Risperdal and it caused him to grow breasts,” she said. “I think he has the emotional and mental maturity of maybe a four year old. Here he was, 14 or 15, and he was growing breasts, and that was really confusing for him. We had to pull him off that medication but a lot of that dealt with a lot of OCD-type things and harmful behavior-type things.”
Medicating her son with weed has helped mitigate the symptoms of his autism, but has also allowed her to take him off pharmaceutical medication altogether. Karen also smokes weed herself to help with her anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and PTSD. As with her son, she also had a series of bad side effects with her pharmaceutical medications. “I used to take Xanax and have terrible, terrible side effects on that and go to scary places,” she said. “I haven’t had to deal with any of that for years. There’s a fear of going back to that.”
The results from our callout show a pretty anxious group of people from around the country and in Canada, all with their own worries about getting the cannabis they want or need. “I’m worried for my friends who get it locally to help their pain and anxiety,” wrote one person from Kansas. “I’m afraid it will make their conditions worse and they won’t have anything to help.” Many users are unable to work right now because they weren’t working for an essential service, and are no longer making any money. “If I don’t work,” wrote one, “I can’t buy.”
“My dealer said he could barely find me any for a last sale and to watch what I use,” wrote one person who said they were from the Midwest. “The price started at $300 for an ounce but he found some for $230 today, thank god.” Many replies came from people who stocked up when state-by-state shutdowns first started being announced, mostly buying large quantities of buds to tide them over until, hopefully, we can all go back outside. They were also aware that dealers who offer pickup in their homes or delivery are risking their own health. “I worry about the health of my dealer,” wrote one person. “They are a nice person.”
If you’re medicating with weed right now, losing access to it is a scary proposition. The fallout (and misinformation) of this virus is making it harder for people to get their prescriptions filled, and pharmacies are now completely overrun. For Jennifer, 39, from Austin, Texas, smoking weed helps with her psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. “Smoking helps regulate my anxiety to where I have less seizures. The more I’m anxious, the more seizures I have. It also helps with the pain of seizures, because my body is so out of whack, I’m almost like a pretzel after them,” she said. “It’s a little bit scary. I’m trying to be as sparse as I can with it.” Worse, maybe, is that Jennifer’s seizures are even more frequent now thanks to the added stress of worrying about the world ending. “You have these thoughts, can I pick up my UPS box sitting there on the front door? Can I go to my mailbox? Was the mailman sick? The more I think about it, the more I stir about it, the more it gets me going.”
For now, Jennifer’s dealer is still delivering, but she’s also worried her dealer will have to stop going outside. “I told her she needs to come to my house and lock down. Come quarantine with me.” For now, the risk for users isn’t necessarily whether there’s enough weed to go around, or whether that weed will be affordable — though, some people are reporting that their dealers are selling ounces for $300 and up, nonnegotiable. The concern is that eventually, people who sell cannabis products (namely ones in states where weed isn’t considered essential) will just stop offering pickup and drop-off. “As soon as I get my next check, I have a whole set-up ready to start growing my own,” Karen said. “I’m trying to get six plants growing [if] the stores shut down or the price of weed jump back up.”
Sarah uses weed to manage her symptoms from borderline personality disorder. “If I don’t have weed and we go on a LEGIT quarantine, I seriously might go crazy,” she wrote, adding that she’s concerned about how she might self-harm if she stopped using. But, of course, insofar as coronavirus-based fears go, this is tempered by one undeniably true fact about drugs — legal or not — that Sarah knows for sure: “Drugs keep going, no matter what’s happening.” ●
“We’re considered an 'essential service,'” one dealer told BuzzFeed News. “Which is a mixed blessing because I have to pay for my divorce and rent but I’m immunocompromised.”
Where to Find Weed Near You ANYWHERE in 2020 (Yes, Really!)
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably typed “how to find a weed dealer near me,” in your browser, so we guess you’re not lucky enough to live in a state that recently legalized cannabis.
Some countries, like Portugal, have decriminalized almost all substances, so it’s virtually impossible to walk down the streets as a tourist without being asked if you want to try some quality greens. In California, for example, buying weed is easy as a walk to the beach — there’s no need to look for a dealer.
But for those of you torn between buying a swisher from a random guy and not buying cannabis at all, finding a weed dealer seems like the only option.
So, how to find a dealer near me? At WeBeHigh.com, we don’t want to encourage any illegal activities, so we won’t tell you how to find one. Instead, we’ll talk about how people scored their weed in 2019.
Read on and educate yourself about finding weed dealers in different places and how to take care of the necessary caution before approaching your guy.
Legal Status of Cannabis in the United States
Cannabis is still classified as Schedule I substance on the federal level. However, states have the right to implement their own regulations around the herb.
Currently, 11 states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, including:
- Washington (and the District of Columbia)
26 out of the 50 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized cannabis possession. As for now, 47 of the 50 states allow for some form of medical cannabis. The only three states where weed is completely illegal are South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho.
Many states that have legalized cannabis have also made it possible for residents to grow their own plants. If you live in a state with medical marijuana laws, you may also consider applying for a medical cannabis card so that you can access your weed through a medical dispensary.
But if you don’t feel like growing your own stuff and don’t want to go through the bureaucracy involved in obtaining a medical cannabis card, continue reading to find out how to spot your street supplier.
Things You Need Before You Start Looking For a Weed Dealer Locally
The safest way to obtain weed from a dealer is to live in a state that has decriminalized marijuana possession. Once you’ve made your transactions, you won’t be charged with an offense as long as you have the legal amount of weed.
However, there are certain safety measures you should take if you want your purchases to remain low profile.
Make sure to do the following:
- Cover your tracks using tools like TOR browser or I2P
- Consider apps like Burner which give you a temporary phone number that you can get rid of once you’re done using it
- Stay away from mail-order deals especially if the product is crossing state lines. You’ll risk being charged with a federal offense.
- Simply type 420 in the search bar. It will return hundreds of results, but you’ll need to do a background check on your prospect. Never jump right into a deal at face value.
- Check Instagram accounts tagged #420 #notforsale #weedin[name of country / town]. Instagram has recently become a good place for local growers to communicate with people interested in their crops.
- Use communicators like Wickr me or Signal for encrypted communication. This is to ensure that no 3rd-party app can read your messages.
- Familiarize yourself with slang substitutes for weed, but make sure they don’t come from the weed slang itself. There are other items and activities you can relate to when talking about your, hm, groceries.
- Check different online communities and forums for cannabis aficionados. This way, you’ll be able to make yourself a network of contacts should one of your weed guys be out of reach. LeafedIn is a great source for people seeking a weed supplier. It’s a cannabis social network with an all-important list of scammers
Okay, that’s enough prep work. Let’s get down to the real business
How to Find a Weed Dealer Near Me
Whether you’re on vacay out of town, abroad, or you’re just alone in the city and all your contacts are out of reach, below we cover every possible scenario to help you make sure you always score your weed regardless of your location.
1. Finding a Weed Dealer in Your City
This may sound obvious, but if you’re in your own city, call up those friends of yours who you usually smoke with. In the spirit of people who enjoy cannabis, they will be happy to lend their hands. You know how it works, there are people who know people who know how to help you out.
Sometimes, when your weed-smoking friends are no help, then you can turn to your generally sketchiest friends. Everybody has that person in their circle of friends who’s always up to something and they always know where to look for when others do not. Chances are they’ll know where to find cannabis.
Once you get into a business relationship with your dealer, don’t be afraid to ask them if they know someone from their “branch”. It’s not like they’re going to be extremely happy about your question, but weed dealers tend to disappear into the ether for no reason. They do, however, have alternative contacts to redirect their clients should they be unable to do the favor.
2. Finding a Weed Dealer in a New Place
The only guaranteed way to find a dealer near you when you’re in a new place is to be social and spark some new connections. You can go to a pot event and meet people who know where to look for when it comes to high-quality weed. Consider the 420 Event List as a good starting point. However, if you don’t have time for socializing or you’re more of an introvert, then it’s best if you visit typical stoner destinations: the parks, beaches, the town’s nightlife scene. And in some parts of the world, people even ask the taxi drivers for weed dealers.
Alternatively, you can think of the closest person you could know in a foreign town. Whatever option you choose, just be open about cannabis — but in a discreet fashion — and it will have positive results.
3. Finding a Weed Dealer Abroad
Similar to finding a weed dealer in a new town, dosing so abroad is all about making connections. But since your time abroad is usually limited to a few weeks, it can be difficult to make strong bonds with people there. Given this, your best bet will be to visit typical stoner places or look for destinations crowded with tourists. In many countries, especially where weed has been decriminalized, incognito street dealers are like an element of the local folklore — just like guys painting caricatures.
This is true especially for countries like Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.
Do’s and Don’ts of Looking for a Weed Dealer Near Me
Now that you know where to look for a weed dealer depending on your location, here’s a list of things to follow if you want to stay trouble-free during your endeavor.
- Identify and avoid scammers. The weed community receives a large number of scammers who offer weed at suspiciously low prices on top of other substances. These can be seen all over social media platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter and Disqus. It’s important that you never buy marijuana online from someone you don’t know.
- Use websites like Reddit, Craigslist, and HuluandChill to find your weed dealer. These anonymous communities are perfect if you want to maintain privacy.
- Be nice to your dealer. Weed dealers are usually regular people who just happen to have an illicit source of income. Considering there are states where such guys run legal weed businesses, don’t treat them as if they were some kind of creepy lurkers from around the corner. Many people make good friends with dealers, so just act like you’re just hanging around as buddies.
- Buy in bulk. The best deal for you and your weed dealer is to meet as rarely as possible, so instead of buying 3 grams every few days, save some money for larger quantities and meet up once a month.
- Don’t blatantly advertise that you’re looking for weed. Instead, look for people. And when you get in touch with them, gently direct the conversation on the right track.
- Don’t take your weed for granted. Don’t be afraid to smell or touch the buds. You may also want to eye-check their weight. Some weed dealers aren’t the most honest people out there, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.
- Don’t use official web browsers. We’ve mentioned social media and other online sources to search for a weed dealer, but make sure that you do it from a dark web browser or, at least, use a decent VPN to protect your privacy.
- Don’t name things. Saying “hello, I’d like to buy some weed because my friend told me you’re dealing” isn’t the best way to spark a friendship with your dealer. Instead, use everyday language to help them understand what you mean without using weed terms.
- Don’t be fussy. If you want a wide product selection available at hand, you’ll need to move to a state with legal adult-use dispensaries. Don’t look down on your dealer when they have only one strain available at a time, or if the quality of their weed isn’t close to what you’ve tried in LA.
Looking for a Weed Dealer Online: Why It’s a Better Alternative to Finding One Locally
Finding a weed dealer locally can be difficult, especially in countries where weed isn’t a popular substance. There’s also a risk of stumbling upon an undercover cop who will bust you for even trying to purchase cannabis. In some places, punishments for weed can be as high as several years in prison — not to mention some Asian countries where weed can grant you a capital punishment.
The best and safest way to find a weed dealer is to look for one online. The Internet provides you with enough privacy protection to avoid triggering the attention of the authorities. There are special browsers, communicators, and even social apps that connect weed users with their delivery guys — you just need to know where to look for.
Speaking of which, THIS GUIDE contains everything you need to know about finding a weed dealer online. You can read it once your local search comes to no avail, or if you want to skip the old-school way and make your purchase happen faster.
Can't find a local dispensary, weed dealer, and stuck searching Google for "weed near me" to score some cannabis goods? It's 2020 – here's a better way.