Of the supposedly 43 million Americans who smoke Marijuana, there is such a small percent of us that are allowed to have safe and easy access to our drug of choice, that to complain seems to be a little elitist and even downright spoiled. Having a Medical Marijuana Card has changed my life for definitely the better and not to be redundant, and it’s made scoring much safer. But if you’re of a certain age and generation, because of the nature of Prohibition, a lot of us had to and still have to, go to someone’s abode in order to score our Pot. As much as I love having a card and going to the Pot Shop, or having it deliver it, I miss the interaction of the old daze.
So…here’s my list of what I miss about seeing my Man (or Woman, as it were) to score.
1) Old School Etiquette.
Believe it or not, there was an incredible set of manners involved to buying Pot in the old daze. Upon arriving at your Dealer’s pad, you’d never mention why you were there, everyone knew. To ask to see the product was totally uncool, you had to wait ‘till your Man pull out his wares. Then he or she would roll one for consumption. If you decided you wanted to buy, after weighing it out, (more later about this) you would then roll one from your newly purchased lid, (yes, that was what it was called) and seal the deal with another joint.
To do otherwise was seen as being a capitalist, possible narc, and worse, maybe a person who wouldn’t be allowed back into the hallow grounds.
2) The Relationship.
When it is my turn at the counter in a dispensary, if I know the Budtender, I trust their judgment or suggestions of what is good and stony, or tasty and stony, and go with that. If I don’t know the person, I go with what looks good. At the finer Pot Shops, there are jeweler’s magnifying loupes and other somewhat high-tech stuff to help you pick out your Durbin Poison.
I have a pretty good relationship with the guys at some of the dispensaries around town but I never forget that after I step away from the counter, they say, “Next,” just like at a deli or the DMV. Dispensaries are great but they are a business.
In the old daze, the relation between you and your dealer was very special and personal. There was an unspoken code not to piss the other off. Not to do anything stupid or say anything outlandish on the phone. And in return, the Dealer made you feel like you were there only customer. It was very one on one.
It was like we all had to be more human in those days because of the precarious nature of the business. There was a symbiotic balance to the relationship, we both needed each other.
That doesn’t exist anymore.
3) The Big Favor
Okay, to be fair, I’ve heard that if you have a MM card, most dispensaries will lay a bud on you if you don’t have the cash and don’t repeatedly do it every day.
And for complete transparency, a couple of times, a divine personality will offer me a little something-something to try, but that is it for freebies. And it is only a gram at the most…
There were many times, many, many times that I was either low on funds or to no fault of my own, a paycheck didn’t come through on a Friday, and I was broke until Monday.
Kidz, before there was a thing called a ‘BFF,’ there was your Dealer. To paraphrase the Freak Brothers, ‘It’s better to have dope in times of no cash, rather than to have cash in times of no dope.’ So to turn that around, there has been many times in the past forty years when the need for WEED was greater than my pocketbook allow and this is where the word, ‘fronted,’ came from.
One of the best aspects of having your own dealer, is that a bond of trust is formed, but unlike your banker, car dealer or your attorney, whom you may also have a long business relationship with, your dealer actually trusts you. If you’ve been a good boy and buyer, they will front you for a week, a month, and every so often you meet that special Dealer who really never expects you to pay them back. You develop a universal tab that even in making payments; you can never hope to pay back in full. Your Dealer knows that too. But in the Old Daze, that was chocked up to doing business with Hippies. It’s true, sometimes it wasn’t about money.
4) The Focus
One of the aspects of having a Dealer that I never realized was the actual time we had together. Even if you saw your Dealer every couple of weeks, or every week, looking at you, Bro, it felt real.
There are bars with bartenders that feel like friends because of your frequency to the bar or your tipping habits, but they probably have a lot of friends just like you. There are restaurants where the wait-staff are like long lost relatives who you party with at the Holidays, just like Uncle Ben, they might forget your name, but they act like they know you.
Certain Dealers became good friends, if not great friends. I go back as much as thirty years with a few Dinosaurs from the Day.
Think as WEED as a bottle of wine. In my life, I’ve kicked backed with some very nice people sampling different vintages and ‘grapes’ through the years. That’s called history.
When you get older, it’s nice to be able to look back at the experiences you’re proud of, to have stories to tell.
Hey, I went to the dispensary today and got some Trainwreck, Romulan, and some very tasty Dragon’s Breath. That’s it. End of story. Hey, I also got a good deal on some milk today.
Doesn’t have the teeth of, “Hey dude, I went to see my Man today, and while I was scoring these guys got busted across the street for unpaid traffic fines. Broham, you should have seen our faces when the cops pulled up with the cherries flashing. I thought they were there for us. It was wild!” (Maybe a true story.)
5) For Good or Bad.
Not everyone is going to understand this but I grew up at a time when there wasn’t any entertainment. True story. Until around Nineteen-eighty-five, the world was lit by candlelight and you had to make your own fun. Once the Internet arrived, it became just a matter of buying the right device that will keep your attention from ever lagging again. Before that, only ten to fifteen movies came out a year, you had to rely mostly on comic books and stories old people told. So you were literally forced to watch crappy movies and shitty TV. Believe if I had the choice, I don’t think I would have watch, ‘The Land of the Lost’ or ‘The Man with Two-Heads,’ two pieces of complete shite, that I could not imagine having not seen as I look back. See, with lack of choice, you’re forced to make due.
In the old daze, your Dealer might only have a half a pound of something. In those times, it may even have been brown and have seeds. I’m not kidding. But you would get it because…it was the only game in town. No choice.
It makes you prize the good shit even more. In a way, I feel sorry for the kids who start at the top and will only know ‘down.’
6) The Weighing out.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes time to weigh out the product, I don’t know where to look. It’s not like I’m at the butcher shop or weighing out veggies to see how much I’m paying per pound. When it comes to Weed, I’m kind of use to my Man throwing in another half of a gram, for either good customer service or the feeling of let’s not squabble over crumbs.
In the dispensaries it is different. It is just like going to the supermarket or feed store, or anywhere else a scale is used for commercial purposes. The guys behind the counter answers to his boss ultimately, not us. The guys at the Pot Shops are good, but there is always someone behind you if you have a problem with the weight.
Having a home-brew Dealer, the weighing out portion of the show is part of the home-spun process. It’s like horse-trading; the haggling over the price is one of the aspects of the business that the old guys like. If your bag looks small, the home dealer might drop a nug in the bag to fluff it out for no reason except to see a smile on the buyer’s face.
In the dispensary, it’s ‘take it or leave it.’ No bitching allowed. I think that’s my point, there’s no bitching allowed. The human interaction is kept to humble state of gratitude that a place that sells Pot legally is open.
7) The Weirdness.
Okay, I’m being honest here…Above I spoke about the kind of queasy feeling I get when the stuff gets weighed out. Embarrassing but true, I try not to scrutinize the guy weighing out the product, but my eyes go to the scale to make sure the weight is correct. Not my proudest pronouncement.
Here’s another one, the lengths I gone to score. I have driven into the deepest darkest spots of strange cities. I have gone to stranger’s home based on a friend of a friend’s okay, to buy an eighth of Mex. I have approached probable heads on the road, musicians, record store workers, and toothless vendors on Venice Beach or in Central Park. Anyone who looked like they got high. Again, embarrassing but true.
If you grew up in a time when there were dope famines, or what we called in the Middle-West, ‘the Summer Bummer.’ Every August and September, before harvest time, it was impossible to get dope until the bales would arrive in October.
I think I even drove to Chicago once.
Am I proud? No. Would I do it again? Yes, unless if I knew there was another way. Back in those days, we didn’t know another way.
8) The Buzz
If you want to know what was happening, your Dealer was in the mix. For some reason, the various dealers I have associated with over the years, their homes became like the great salons of Paris. Dealers knew the skinny on the busts that went down and who was bringing what into town. Dealers got backstage passes before the rest of us even knew the band was coming to play. Sometimes you even found out what the local family-oriented politician is smoking.
Beyond buying the smoke, you felt wired into a community of people who were just like you. Living part of their lives underground hiding from the Man because of the common theme of, “Gosh, I like to get high.”
9) The Shared Experience.
Having a stay-at-home dealer, you knock on a door, the door opened, and you were asked in, just like a Vampire, that’s the only way you’re getting in.
In that small, implicit process, agreements are made without even a word spoken. From that moment on, everyone agrees to be cool. Not to talk over the phone about product or bring strange people without advance notice. There is a set of rules and etiquette that have been laid down years ago by the pioneer freaks that learned how to work the Black Market without it working you. There is a reason things are the way they are.
Dispensaries and legalization will change all that. Life will be better. But as I have mentioned before, we should have a National Pot Dealers Day. We should have a day where we honor the unsung heroes of the movement, the procurers. The people who get us our WEED. Doesn’t it seem a little fair? Say maybe April 18th, before we stock up for our national holiday. Take one day out to honor the people who when busted, pay for all their expensive themselves. Face it, when one dealer goes down, we just find another one. It is time that we give back to those that have been keeping the supply coming all these years.
10) I Like Being a Criminal.
The greatest day in my life was getting my MM card. Those first few weeks were golden. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. To do something legal that had been illegal for my whole life, was just short of amazing. I did day trips and kept records on vintages and strains that I like. I learned the difference between a Sativa and Indica, or should I say, the difference of passing out at noon and not. Those were heady times, if you know what I mean.
There is something so civil about being able to have the medicine delivered or having it at my disposal within blocks from my house, but the truth is, I do miss being a criminal, a little bit.
I can only say this because I have something to base it on. If I had to find a stay-at-home dealer every couple of years, like I have been doing, well…I don’t know what I would do? Quit? I don’t think so. Bitch? Yeah, I do that pretty good on a regular basis. So I don’t think that would change.
See, once you cultivate the identity, it’s hard to give it up. For decades, I learned how to be cool. I learned how to walk with pounds in a duffle bag by the biggest and baddest, on both sides of the law. I moved specifically unnoticed exited buildings and knowing haunts like bandits in the night. I became friends with gangsters and big boys that moved tons when it was all said and done, and sold.
Now, while I am so thankful to have safe access to score, I miss the old days. The crazy shit you do to get high. Isn’t that part of it really? Not getting caught?
Maybe I’m getting old. Y’know when you watch one of your old favorite movies, something that you came upon thinking it was the shit. Then when actually viewing the old flick, you say to yourself, “What the fuck was I thinking? This sucks.” But you remember it as classic.
Maybe it was so much about the movie itself but what you were doing at the time.
That’s what I miss. All the other stuff I was doing at the time when I thought the principal objective was to score. It is really about the chase and the journey.
Luckily, come November, the journey gets better.