Lead photo via iStock Photo
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first legal dispensary while out in Boulder for a friend’s wedding. Keep in mind that I live in Brooklyn and truly love my cannabis, so I was like a kid in a candy store. Well, except I’m on the wrong end of my 20s and all the candy contained THC. I was only there for the weekend, less than 48 hours, and explained to the budtender that I wanted some cannabis soda for the wedding and perhaps some gummies to share — just enough to keep me feeling nice for the duration of my stay. Let’s say the budtender gave me quite a few recommendations. I walked out of there with a six pack of 10 mg cannabis root beer, three boxes of gummies, and a vape pen. it was the morning of the wedding, too.
I drank one root beer and was higher than I had been in years. In Colorado, there were mountains. There were rivers — and in those rivers, were the happiest dogs I had ever seen fetching perfect logs to give to their possibly-stoned owners. On my way back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding, I accidentally walked in the bike lane, and the bikers kept passing me and saying, “Oh, pardon me!” e.g. the opposite of a response you’d get from a New Yorker. Due to the pups, the city’s general kindness, the wedding, and the cannabis root beer, I spent much of Saturday in tears. However, on the following day, just before it it was time to fly back, I realized that I had literally only gone through one root beer, one gummy, and a few puffs of the vape pen. I had no idea what to do with the rest, valued at about $150, so I just gave it away to people. Sure, I might have gone a bit overboard at the dispensary. But, to be real, I specifically told the budtender how short I was staying, and in retrospect I feel a bit hustled or upsold. I didn’t need all that shit, but I was certainly told I did. And seriously, who wouldn’t try and push more product on a first-time weed tourist?
On the spectrum of getting played, being conned into buying those “next-level” gummies and the slick vape isn’t that bad. After all, the shit lived up to the hype I was sold on. This is a much better fate than, say, being offered some “dank” in high school and receiving a bag full of oregano in exchange for your Hamilton. It’s certainly better than buying weed brownies without the weed. After getting upsold in a legal state, I flipped the script and asked some fellow stoners to share their worst experiences of getting hustled by weed dealers. The stories range from funny to plain humiliating, and will likely spark some memories of your first interaction with a delivery guy or that time you tried picking up in a foreign country. All in all, they’ll convince you that we should probably just legalize weed everywhere and cut out all the advantageous dealers. Unwittingly spending too much money at a legal dispensary is and will always be preferable.
*Names have been changed to protect identity, thanks to the Federal Government
I didn't even know weed was supposed to be green or come in nug-form until several years after I started smoking. Turns out, the guy I would buy weed from back then in high school — this was around 2004 or so — would just sell all his old shake to the local high school kids for $20 a gram. I had no idea that weed was not supposed to look like old nasty hamburger meat until a friend visiting from California straight up laughed at me when he saw it. I can't believe I was so dumb. You live and learn.
So, have you ever been to Bonnaroo? You literally just sit by your tent, and people walk by offering to sell you drugs. You don’t have to move or anything. This incident happened in 2009, the year that Phish played with Bruce Springsteen. I was beat because the day before, the first day of the festival, my friends and I had done… let’s just say a bouquet of various substances. It was the second day, and I decided I wanted to chill and take it easy and just stick with a weed brownie. Sure enough, this dealer walks by offering edibles and I buy a brownie for $20 that he’s swearing up and down is going to be so great. It literally did nothing. Like, there was no pot in that thing. I paid $20 for a Betty Crocker brownie. I have to admit it was a pretty good hustle, and not as embarrassing as the time that the same thing happened to me at a festival with LSD, and I paid $10 for like a milligram of fucking printing paper.
A group of friends and I were trying to score some pot, but none of our usual dealers were answering. This girl we're hanging out with, let's call her Tiffany, was a total mess. She was always hanging out with the sketchiest motherfuckers she could find, always getting fucked up. She recommended that we hit up her boyfriend Chad to see if he had any weed to sell. Somehow (probably because we were so desperate at this point) we all bypassed the fact that this all sounded like a horrible idea and decided to reach out to Chad.
Chad says, "I don't have any, but I'm hanging out with Jose, and Jose has some weed he can sell y'all.” Keep in mind Jose is the known burnout from high school. So, we finally set up a meet with Jose and Chad at this sketchy-ass motel. We pulled up to the parking lot and waited for Jose to stumble up to us. I say stumble because he literally could never walk straight. He fumbled into the car and proceeded to hand us the most crinkled-up plastic baggy I have ever seen, full of the weirdest, darkest, hardest "weed" I have ever seen. He swears it's some bomb shit, and is clearly on drugs — a total mess. We're like whatever, let's just get the fuck out of here.
We drove back to my friend's place and were so excited to finally smoke, even if this weed looked weird as fuck. When we go to open the bag of "weed,” we realize that it’s not even weed at all. It wouldn't break up in the grinder, and it didn't even smell like pot. It smelled like hay.
We spend a good 15-20 minutes passing the shit around taking turns trying to figure out what we just paid $40 for, and we come to the realization that this high-ass motherfucker sold us pieces of cork. Cork! Yes, like the thing you use to plug up a wine bottle. We went back to the parking lot to confront him; he was so fucking high he actually thought what he sold us was weed. No doubt in his mind. This motherfucker actually put little bits of cork in the bowl and ripped the shit out of that cork like it was some top shelf dank. He kept on trying to avoid giving us our money back until finally he got tired of being yelled at and caved in. Sure, he played us once, but he still can't unsmoke that nasty old cork! I will take as justice being served.
Photo of dank-ass bag of oregano via Imgur
My friends and I got ripped off in Washington Square Park in 1996 when we skipped school to go skateboarding. We got sold oregano, rolled it up in a gross bathroom, and were so dumb we didn't realize until we smoked it.
The first time I ever bought weed was at the Jersey Shore when I was 16 or so. I made out with this townie (sorry but he was hot) late night on the boardwalk and asked him if he could help me find some weed. I had only smoked once or twice before, and it was always someone else’s, so I had never seen a baggie up close.
The townie — let’s call him Alex — acts like a knight in shining armor ready to help me out and dashes off and comes back with a bag. It was just a little bit, and he only charged me $20. It was all stems and seeds. In retrospect, he probably ran back home, or to his friend’s, and just took the stems and seeds from their shitty weed and threw it in a bag. He probably saw right through me and guessed I wouldn’t know any better. I bought it.
The really embarrassing part is that I brought it back home with me after the weekend trip. Later, I brought it to a house party. I had a huge crush on this older guy named Jake and he was like, “Hey, does anyone have herb?” I proudly said, “I do!” and brought out the bag, thinking he would be super impressed. He took one look at the bag and threw it back at me. “That’s not weed, you got ripped off,” he said. I have never been so humiliated, and that memory is burned into my mind.
Jarvis + Doug Mann, Both 25-Years-Old
I’m a heavy and longtime smoker, and actually prefer shitty weed. I have an arrangement with my dealer where he stores up the shake from his top-shelf flower specifically for me. I let him borrow DVD screeners of movies that are yet to be released (a perk of my job), and in return I get high-grade shake — what an oxymoron! — for $20 an eighth. Everything about it is great: I get more quantity of my preferred marijuana quality at a reduced rate. As a result, I’m somewhat of a shake aficionado, and can immediately pick out a bag filled with the dregs of highly potent marijuana from a bag packed with your average schwag.
The other week, I was working at a friend’s home studio. His girlfriend was casting models for her womenswear brand downstairs, and there was a note on the door that said, “CASTING TODAY: Door’s unlocked. Sit on the couch and wait for your name to be called. Thanks!” A few hours went by, and I hit up my guy to make a green cameo, so to speak. He was busy, so I had to message my backup service. We ping 'em, and are sent a menu featuring strains like “LA Confidential,” “OG Ghost,” and “Girl Scout Cookies,” before being asked to make a pre-order. We pick two strains and the stranger says he’ll be there in 15-20.
About 45 minutes go by, and we realize we haven’t heard anything — no text, no call. We go downstairs, and sitting on the couch is a tatted dude with the tell-tale black backpack. He follows us upstairs, and tells us he’d been sitting there patiently for like 30 minutes because he saw the sign on the door. Pretty funny. We tell him if he had waited another ten he might have been cast in the fashion show. It’s good vibes, no tension, etc. We’re shooting the shit, the guy is being all buddy-buddy, and eventually he opens up his bag, pulls out a lock box, and gives me one bag and my friend the other.
The weed looks like the type of shit your dad would grow after he retires and goes through a crisis, inspiring a trip to the basement to dig up his old Sabbath records and wood-carved bowl. It’s capital-O Outdoor Grown, and doesn’t look like the strain I picked (according to some photos I peeped before pre-ordering). I give my friend a look, and ask to see his bag, which is full of the same crabgrass. I give him another look, and his response seems to signify, Pick your battles. The dealer mumbles some shit about one being an indica and the other a sativa, and the room gets pretty quiet. We hand the guy our cash with a shrug — we knew what was happening, no fast one was being pulled. The dude leaves the house, and we talked it over: better to have shitty weed than no weed at all today.
That said, what killed us was that this guy was all friendly and talkative before he pulled out the snake oil. And then he tried to hype the “distinct” strains! Who are you trying to play? You were lucky we were desperate. Never forget rule one: NO FRONTING. Also, avoid using backup delivery services, regardless of what it is you're ordering. You better know I’m going to tip my regular dude next time, assuming he returns my screener of Arrival…
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