Reefer MadnessbyD.B. Metallo©
I had taken to wholesaling sinsemilla for a couple of Mexican-American smuggler friends of mine. They were also law students. I had started moving weight in law school to supplement my income, and eventually started moving some of the weight to the East Coast, which tended to net a very good profit margin. I was pretty tight with my smuggler chums, and I think it had something to do with the fact that I had sort of a Cheech Marin moustache at the time. I think I kept them amused with my sense of humor as well. I was the editor of this "underground"(meaning we said ‘fuck’ in print) humor/satire rag called Rat Sass. It also probably didn't hurt that they trusted me enough not to rat them out, or "eat the cheese", as we termed it, if I got popped. And I wouldn't have either. I guess it was sort an "honor among thieves" sort of thing, although we weren't thieves in any sense of the word. We were simply "wholesalers of illicit commodities". Granted, it doesn't look that hot on a resume, but it sounds much better than "dope pusher". It's a matter of perspective.
Marijuana wholesaling wasn't an easy occupation. Sure, it had its perks, such as more or less working your own hours, and of course, there was a tendency to always have some reefer on hand, which was a luxury most people didn't have. It also seemed like there were more than a few beautiful women drawn to the "outlaw" persona, but I was of the opinion that women and selling reefer didn't really mix. You let a woman get close, and she wants to know what you are doing. All of the time. And she would be the first person the police would lean on while threatening her with a conspiracy charge. I guess an accurate way of describing it is that you could have "relations", but would politely decline "relationships".
The drawbacks at least equaled the benefits. From where I sit, the negatives far exceeded the positives. In addition to the threat of getting arrested every single hour of the day, you eventually came to a point where you essentially trusted no one. At least not completely. You were always looking over your shoulder... if you were smart, anyway. There was always the possibility of one of your customers getting busted and "giving you up", in hopes of a lighter sentence or the charges dropped completely. Think about it: when confronted with the choice of keeping your mouth shut and spending 15 years in prison, hell, even one year in jail, or to supply the police with the name of the person who sold you the reefer after they promised you probation, the majority of people chose the latter. I remember the term that persons in the "game", as it were, most often used was "droppin' dime", although phone calls certainly weren't ten cents anymore. It must have evolved from an earlier time of criminal activity and snitches.
There was the constant responsibility of carrying a gun. A big gun (I wore a military-issue .45 automatic). And I should mention here that in the three years I carried the gun on my side(it was legal in Arizona), I never once fired it in anger. Not once. The mere presence of a weapon in your possession, especially as one as powerful as a .45(you could stop a car with the right ammunition), could usually avert any notion of foul play that might arise. It wasn't so much the fear of interacting with your "superiors", that is, the persons who supplied you, although that was also a consideration. It was the simple fact that you carried large sums of money on you. Many people, including some of your "loyal" customers, considered the possibility of liberating you of, say, ten thousand dollars, with one blow to the back of the head, to be another sad fact of "life in the big city". So much for honor.
And there's always the image thing. People have the image of drug dealers preying on children and hawking their wares to people who didn't want them. I imagine some of them do, but the reputable ones don't do any such thing. And yes, there is such a thing as a "reputable" marijuana dealer. And we provided a service by supplying a product at a reasonable price. If there wasn't a demand, there wouldn't be people supplying the product. Supply and demand is one of the most fundamental economic principles. In a true market economy, it determines the cost of a given product or service. This was especially true with marijuana, which happens to be illegal, and a shortage in supply (a major bust, for example) could produce an excess of demand, and you'd pay accordingly. There are reefer dealers that have a conscience, meaning honest weight and fair prices. They were rare enough, to be sure, but if you were diligent, you could find one.
The moral of this story? I don’t think there is a moral. If you see one, let me know.