If you’re lucky enough to live in a weed legal state (or other weed legal part of the world), then you don’t really need this article. But the sad truth is that many of us still have to wander off into a dingy alleyway after dark to meet our dealers. If your dealer is the dispensary, consider yourself lucky. For those that have to buy their herb from a dealer, there are some tell tale signs that he’s a good one (or a bad one).
If your dealer is one of your close friends, that’s basically as good as it gets. Having friends as dealers makes things so much… friendlier! If it’s not the case, you should be careful with dealers. There are plenty out there who are less than honest, and you can end up losing more than you gain. So I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of the traits of a good weed dealer. And you can trust me – because I’ve had experience buying from many dealers over the years in many parts of the world. It seems to me that there are threads between good dealers and bad dealers, no matter where you live!
My advice is generally to stay away from bad dealers, even if you’re desperate for a smoke. It’s almost never worth making the trip to your less than trustworthy ganja dealer. So, if he (or she) doesn’t have any of the traits below, count your losses and start looking for a new dealer!
He tells you when it’s bad weed!
Ideally he would never even stock bad weed, but sometimes dealers just get their hands on whatever they can. It’s because most people out there just want to smoke anything, and he wants to please the people. It’s understandable. But he should always tell you if it’s bad weed. A good dealer will always give you the choice of whether or not you want to buy bad weed, and he won’t lie about the quality.
If it is bad weed, he gives you more
If he admits to you that it’s not the best quality weed, a good dealer should make the price a little bit cheaper or should give you more than you paid for. A good dealer understands that honesty and loyalty are important for keeping a regular clientele.
He answers his phone, even if he doesn’t have stock
Only an inconsistent dealer will screen calls just because he doesn’t have any weed on hand. A reliable one will answer the phone and tell you that he doesn’t have any. And of course, he will tell you when he anticipates having more!
He doesn’t keep you waiting
Keeping you waiting is a big no no! If he says he’s going to meet you at 5, and doesn’t get there til 5:30, it’s sketchy. Plus, picking up weed is usually an affair I want to get done quickly. To be kept waiting is frustrating, and a tell-tale sign that he’s a bad dealer.
There’s a variety to choose from
Well, if he only has one strain he isn’t a bad dealer. But you know he’s extra good if he has more than one kind for you to choose from. This is a rare quality in a dealer in non-weed-friendly parts of the world, but it does happen. If your dealer has more than one strain to choose from, you know you’ve found a keeper!
He sells more than just herb/flowers
If it’s a really good dealer, then sometimes you can buy edibles or oils. Smoking isn’t the only way to use marijuana, and some people prefer to take it in other ways. Plus it’s fun to mix it up from time to time!
I remember a time in New York City where I used Grindr (a gay dating app) to look for a weed dealer. I successfully found one, and he came and delivered it to the nearest main intersection on his bicycle! That’s commitment from a weed dealer! If he comes to you, that’s a big tick in my book. Weed on delivery is the best kind of herb!
It really helps to have a weed dealer who lives nearby, especially in emergencies. It’s not ideal to have to travel really far just to pick up herb. It might even be a little bit sketchy to travel long distances with a bag full of weed.
The price is consistent
There’s nothing worse than showing up to your dealer’s place and the buds cost almost twice as much as they did last time! There’s definitely something shady going on if his prices are constantly changing. Especially if you can tell that there isn’t really any difference between the weed you bought last time and the weed you’re buying this time.
You get what you paid for
The best piece of advice I can give to people buying from dealers rather than dispensaries is to buy a scale! Weight that shit! It’s always nice to know if your dealer is ripping you off by weighing your weed before you smoke any of it. If it’s short, you don’t need to go back to that guy!
He throws you a freebie every now and then
A good dealer will also recognize a good customer by throwing them a freebie every now and then. It’s nice when a dealer acknowledges that you bring him a lot of business. If he throws you a free nug from time to time, you should keep him around. Especially if he throws one in on special occasions, such as your birthday!
He smokes you up when you go over
Your weed dealer should also be your friend! Which means he doesn’t just give you a bag and send you on your way. He shouldn’t send you away sober is what I’m saying. If he’s a good dealer, he smokes you up as part of the hospitality. Oh – and he never expects YOU to smoke HIM up with what you just bought!
He lets you sample
A good weed dealer will get excited about the products he stocks, and therefore will let you sample them. Weed dealers can usually afford to spare a couple of grams from time to time, and he should let you sample new strains before you go buying an ounce. The same is true for other marijuana products that he keeps in stock.
He doesn’t lie about what he stocks
If he makes up all kinds of crazy names for the strains he stocks, he’s probably lying. It’s also nice if he admits that he doesn’t really know what strain it is. That’s the trait of an honest dealer! Of course, it pays if he knows the names of the strains, but beware of someone who’s just messing with you!
He gives you free papers or blunt wraps
A trait of a really good dealer is when he sends you away with a packet of rolling papers or blunt wraps. It’s so uncommon for dealers to do this, but the really good ones know that it keeps the business coming. It’s pretty rad to be able to stock up on basically anything from your dealer.
He has other people who conduct business for him
If he has other people to conduct business for him, it means that he is basically always available. Even if he is busy or out of town, there’s someone who will be able to deliver or who will be there for you to pick up. This is how a good dealer never lets down his best customers!
He doesn’t deal publicly
Stay away from dealers that work too publicly. If your dealer posts on his facebook page every time he has new stock, then it is probably risky for you to show up and buy from him. Be wary of dealers who have to basically advertise their business!
He stocks other things that you want
It helps if your dealer stocks other things that you like to buy, whether illegal or legal. I know that some dealers stock cool smoking paraphernalia or even things to mix weed with. Having a dealer that is literally a one stop shop makes life so much easier. If your dealer stocks other legal or illegal products that you love, keep him on speed dial!
He calls you back if he misses your call
It’s not really cool if a dealer misses your call and doesn’t call you back. It’s almost like a sign he doesn’t respect the benjamins in your pocket (or your crazy desire to get some weed). He should care enough about his “business” to call you back, which means you don’t have to call him a bunch of times.
He’s cool to hang out with
If you can turn your weed dealer into your friend, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Ultimately, you want to be able to chill and hang out with your dealer. Take some dabs with your dealer or invite him to weed vaporizer session.
There’s nothing worse than showing up to a dealer who’s kind of a jerk, and experiencing a totally awkward transaction. Buying weed is different to buying hard drugs – it should be way friendlier than that. And in fact, if you can show up to your dealer’s place and never feel like something sketchy is going on, then he’s your man! Your dealer should be someone totally easy to hang out with and smoke with.
Until the future of getting your herbs through a weed subscription box is here, having a reliable dealer is the way to go.
Jay-Z announces new line of cannabis products dubbed Monogram
Rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z is launching his own cannabis brand in partnership with Caliva, the California-based weed company that hired the star as its chief brand strategist last year.
Named Monogram, Jay-Z’s line of marijuana products launched its website and social media accounts on Friday.
“Monogram marks a new chapter in cannabis defined by dignity, care and consistency. It is a collective effort to bring you the best, and a humble pursuit to discover what the best truly means,” Monogram’s website highlights.
No further information on the specific products that will be sold under the Monogram brand has been released yet.
However, according to the website, the flower used in Monogram’s products is grown in small batches, with a board of “cannabis experts” tasked with grading and hand-selecting each flower that goes into the line.
The New York rapper joined Caliva in 2019 as a brand strategist, which entailed overseeing the creative direction of the company. Furthermore, Jay was focused on Caliva’s social equity efforts as he aimed to increase economic participation of people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition in the newly legal industry.
As for when consumers can expect to try Jay-Z new products, a spokesperson told the New York Daily News Monogram still hasn’t set its dispensary release schedule. The line will “definitely be available across all of California,” according to the spokesperson.
In other news, basketball star Shawn Kemp who played for the Seattle SuperSonics is also showing his love of pot. Kemp is set to open Seattle’s first black-owned marijuana dispensary this Friday. The Sonics legend named his dispensary Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis and is hoping to serve as a model for others in the black community who might be interested in foraying into the legal marijuana business in the area.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming Sonics fans on a regular basis, starting with opening day. I hope that Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be an inspiration for people to get involved with the legal cannabis industry, especially people of color,” the Reign Man said in a press release.
Analysis: Legal weed in Texas would generate over $500 million in tax revenue per year
Legalizing marijuana in Texas could generate over half a billion dollars in tax revenue per year and create more than 40,000 new jobs, according to the results of a report released by Vicente Sederberg LLP earlier this month.
Legal cannabis sales in Texas would reach about $2.7 billion annually based on the fact that there are more than 1.5 million residents over the age of 21 that consume pot on a monthly basis, the analysis calculated.
The estimated tax revenue was calculated under the assumption Texas would tax marijuana sales at the same rate as Colorado at 20.6%. This would amount to $1.1 billion in taxes per biennium, while Texas could collect an additional $10 million per year through the issuing of marijuana business licenses.
The report notes Colorado has raised nearly $13 million on average per year just from license and application fees. Furthermore, the report indicated that current taxpayer dollars that go towards marijuana arrests and prosecutions amount to $311 million per year – money that Texas would save should it legalize pot.
“States across the country are seeing the benefits of legalizing and regulating cannabis. It is inspiring lawmakers in prohibition states to reexamine the efficacy and costs of their current policies and take a closer look at the alternatives,” said Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg.
“The goal of this report is to provide a snapshot of the economic benefits Texas would experience if it started treating cannabis more like alcohol for adults 21 years of age and older,” he commented on the new report.
Aside from the tax revenue that legal weed in Texas could generate, the report highlighted marijuana’s job creation potential. An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 new jobs would be available in the newly legal industry, with tens of thousands of additional indirect positions, the report estimated.
Hauser also pointed out the added economic benefits of legalization in Texas given current uncertainties provoked by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Texas is leaving an enormous amount of money on the table by keeping cannabis illegal,” according to him.
Texas was once known for having the strictest drug laws in the U.S., but the state has softened its stance on cannabis in recent years. A very limited medical marijuana program was established in 2015, while, more recently, cannabis possession arrests in the state have been significantly declining after hemp became legal.
Cannabis Businesses Invest in Their Futures with Political Donations
Cannabis companies have been making political donations for years, and in 2020, those donations have continued to grow. In fact, some companies are investing aggressively to shape the future of the cannabis industry either by donating directly to campaigns and politicians or through political action committees (PACs) that support cannabis-friendly candidates and legislation.
So far in 2020, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that the leading cannabis companies, cannabis-related companies, and cannabis trade associations making donations to federal candidates, parties, and outside groups are (in order of 2020 donation amounts to date):
- Canty Ventures
- National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA)
- Have A Heart
- Beyond Broadway LLC
- Sea Hunter Therapeutics
- Cannabis Trade Federation
- Dan Kopp & Co
- Acreage Holdings
Compare that list to the list of large cannabis company donors in 2019, which included Curaleaf, Parallel Brands (formerly Surterra Wellness), Tweed Inc. (part of Canopy Growth Corporation), Canndescent, and Trulieve. Even ancillary cannabis companies like Dama Financial, WeedMaps, and Acreage Holdings donate large sums of money in 2019 according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
State Donations in 2020
There are a number of legalization (adult-use and/or medical use) and decriminalization measures on state ballots in 2020, and cannabis companies, ancillary companies, and professional associations have been actively donating directly to related campaigns and initiatives at the state level.
In Arizona, Harvest is the biggest donor in support of legalization (Prop. 207) followed by Curaleaf, MedMen, Cresco Labs, Copperstate Farms, Arizona Dispensaries Association, Herbal Wellness Center, and Oasis Dispensaries.
Mississippi’s medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot (Initiative 65) has received donations from the CEO of Heritage Properties (George Walker III), Ghost Management Group (which owns Weedmaps), and the owner of ABKO Labs (Robert Lloyde II).
Ghost Management Group and its Weedmaps subsidiary also donated to support Montana’s and New Jersey’s legalization initiatives. In addition, New Jersey’s legalization Question 1 on the November ballot received donations directly from The Scotts Company (the maker of Scotts Miracle Gro), Pashman Stein Walder Hayden (a New Jersey cannabis law firm), and Compassionate Care Research Institute (a New Jersey dispensary).
Keep in mind, these donations don’t include the donations that cannabis companies and ancillary businesses donate to PACs or that they invest in lobbying. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the biggest investments in lobbying from cannabis companies, ancillary companies, and trade associations in 2020 have come from the Cannabis Trade Federation, National Cannabis Roundtable, Canopy Growth Corp, Curaleaf, Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, Parallel Brands, Cronos Group, Charlotte’s Web, NCIA, Acreage Holdings, Dama Financial, Trulieve, California Cannabis Association, and Oregon Cannabis Association.
Political Donations from Cannabis Interests Are Not New
One of the biggest political donation stories happened in California when cannabis businesses donated aggressively to former Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign to become the state’s governor in the 2018 election. According to the Los Angeles Times, he secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from cannabis cultivators, processors, and retailers.
By May 2018, Newsom had raised nearly $500,000 from cannabis companies, but he wasn’t the only politician in California to receive money from cannabis interests. At the time, the state’s Treasurer, John Chiang, and Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, also secured donations from the cannabis industry
And of course, these donation numbers don’t even include the many donations from PACs that businesses and individuals working in the cannabis industry donate to. Many of these funds go directly to specific candidate’s fundraising efforts. For example, the Coastal Pacific Political Action Committee held a fundraiser in June 2017, and six days later, the PAC donated $50,000 to Newsom’s campaign.
Another noteworthy political donation happened in Florida over the course of multiple years. The Miami Herald reported that Surterra donated $1.1 million to Florida political candidates and committees between the summer of 2016 and March 2018. Trulieve donated $564,000 during the same period, and Curaleaf donated $469,000.
In Illinois, the doors for cannabis companies to make political donations opened in March 2017 when a federal judge ruled an Illinois provision that did not allow marijuana companies to make campaign contributions in the state was unconstitutional.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the provision prevented contributions to political committees that were established for the purpose of promoting candidates for public office. Since that decision was made, cannabis companies like PharmaCann and Cresco Labs have donated significant amounts to the state’s political candidates and committees.
Business and individual donations to marijuana-friendly political candidates have also become standard in Nevada and Colorado. During the 2016 elections, dozens of marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries donated $75,000 to Nevada legislators according to the Nevada Independent.
Looking back further in history, Florida Senator Rob Bradley received his first donation from a cannabis company in 2015 when Costa Farms donated $10,000 to his political committee.
Similarly, cannabis businesses have actively contributed to Colorado political campaigns for years, and many of those businesses have been holding political fundraisers to support their preferred candidates. PBS reported back in 2014 that Colorado’s congressional delegation had received $20,000 during the first nine months of 2014 from marijuana businesses. Also in 2014, a fundraiser to support political candidates that was held by Tripp Keber of Denver, Colorado’s Dixie Elixirs & Edibles generated $40,000 in donations.
What’s Next for Political Campaign Donations from Cannabis Businesses?
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and more states legalize medical and/or recreational cannabis, laws will continue to evolve. Cannabis businesses and ancillary businesses should absolutely be concerned about which politicians are making those laws.
With that said, it’s safe to assume that political donations from the cannabis industry will get larger and more frequent in the coming years. Let’s put the donations from cannabis companies to political campaigns into perspective. During the first half of 2019, the cannabis industry gave more than $200,000 to members of Congress, which was up from $248,504 donated throughout all of 2018. Compare that to the $42 million that pharmaceutical companies donated to political campaigns across the United States in 2018.
With those numbers in mind, it’s guaranteed that political donations from cannabis and cannabis-related companies will continue to grow. Savvy businesses are paying attention and getting involved in an attempt to influence the regulations that could make or break their companies’ futures.
Originally published 8/24/17. Updated 10/23/20.
Susan Gunelius, Director of Email Marketing Strategy for Cannabiz Media, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her nearly 30-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business, Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.
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