A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Neighborhood Weed Messenger

Jeremy Eaton
Desmond* has been a weed courier on and off for almost four years. He's in his mid-twenties now, but he was still in college when he heard about the opportunity through a classmate. He works three days a week, and makes, on average, 15 deliveries a day. If he makes more than 20, he gets a free bag. Usually he'll give it away or resell it — he used to be a big stoner, but he doesn't smoke much any more; certain strains make him anxious.

The work helps him pay off his student loans and subsidizes his creative pursuits (he's in two bands and does photography on his days off). When he's working, he looks like any one of the hundreds of bike messengers who speed around New York City, clad in shorts, perched on a single-speed bike, with a bag and a couple of delivery tubes slung over one shoulder. And like any other messenger, he can be at your door in 20 minutes or less.

*Not his real name.

I remember I met him at a Dunkin' Donuts on, like, 60th and Second Avenue.

There was really no interview — he was like, "So, you can ride?" I was like, "Yes, I can ride." He was like, "You got a bike?" And I showed him my bike outside. He said, "That's shit. We can take care of that."

(A month or two months later, he put in $800 and I put in $400 — it was like a $1,200 Bianchi.)

At the end he was like, "All right, man, get yourself another coffee." He threw me a $50 bill and just walked out.

And then I started up. I was the highest-paid rider, at $220 a day. Starting salary is $300 now. There was five or six of us. He would only send us to Williamsburg, and it was only if the customer was buying more than one piece, and mainly he'd be like, "No, sorry, we don't do Brooklyn." Now we do all of Brooklyn. We do all of Manhattan. There are about 25, 26 of us.

Back in the day, you just needed a normal old phone. Now, you have to have a Blackberry. It's a must, 'cause we use BBM — you know, the whole Blackberry messenger — so it can't be traced. We're just like dirty politicians.

I check in in the morning between 8:30 and 10 o'clock, just write, "checking in." Somewhere before 11:30, whenever he wakes up, he will hit you back with a meeting spot, which is usually somewhere in midtown. He'll be like, "All right, 34th and whatever, 1 p.m." You always meet at 1 p.m.

You go to the meeting spot, and you get loaded up by one of your superiors. You get this black Pelican case. You know Pelican cases? They're used for film, or — what are they called? Things you put on top of your gun? Scopes.

They can either try to sneak it under the table, which a lot of the time a lot of them will do, to be safe, but, honestly, you can just hand it right over the table because it's just a black box. And it has a lock on it, too.

Cops in New York have a lot of things to deal with. They have to worry about 9-11s and Times Square. When it comes to drugs, they're looking for the suppliers. They're not even looking for my boss, they're looking for the people who supply to my boss. They're looking for the coke lords, who's making all the fucking meth and crack in what apartment in what part of New York. It's just weed, you know? Even if you do get caught — we've had one guy who got caught last summer — you pay like $300 in fines, which is one day of work for us. Not a big fucking deal.

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