NEWS
NYC Restaurant Employee Says He’s Turned to Weed Dealing Due to Coronavirus
Even with the economy put on pause, bills are still due for millions of Americans. And some say they’re starting to embrace the underground cannabis trade when other work is running dry.
Published on March 23, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life around the globe and push citizens inside — and in many cases, out of the job — countless Americans are already worrying about upcoming bills and impending rent payments. In New York City, where the Big Apple’s robust service industry essentially shut down overnight, at least one former restaurant worker is turning to weed to make ends meet. 

According to a new first-person account published in the New York Post, an anonymous bar/restaurant employee said that after his hours were cut drastically due to emergency social distancing protocols, his only option has been to purchase a bulk quantity of cannabis and hit the deserted streets to sell the bud.

“I obtained what I’ll say is a good amount of marijuana,” the newly-minted dealer wrote. “Normally I would have met potential customers at bars and asked them to spread the word. Instead, I’m sending discreet texts to people I know, and I plan on doing ­deliveries with multiple helpers.”

New York does have a medical marijuana program that will remain open amidst the shut-downs, but with strict barriers-to-entry and limited product options, the vast majority of NYC cannabis users still rely on black market sellers, most of whom bike or drive around the five boroughs to meet their customers. And while officials have shut down schools, bars, clubs, and clothing stores, it’s hard to stand in the way of entrepreneurial pot dealers and their insatiable customers.

“If all goes well and everything gets sold, I can make two to three times the money I put in,” the nameless new delivery dealer wrote in the Post. “Hopefully by then, things will rev back up and I’ll return to my full-time job.”

But just like emergency workers at grocery stores, pharmacies, and legal dispensaries, New York’s delivery drivers are still focused on safety. A number of pot buyers recently told New York Magazine that their dealers have begun denying cash payments in favor of app transfers and pushing customers to look — but not touch — before they buy.

Of course, with so many people currently out of work, it is yet to be seen if the underground cannabis trade will continue booming for the weeks or months that we are all stuck inside. But at least for New York’s latest part time pot dealer, there’s always a contingency plan.

“If sales do not proceed as anticipated, I’ll revert to Plan B: Whatever is left over when the corona ban lifts, I’ll just smoke it myself.”

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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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