So you want to score some fresh weed, and you are not fortunate enough to live in one of those states that has made the sensible decision to decriminalize it. Congratulations: You’re cool, and you’ve come to the right place (within the wrong place). It’s not that hard to score bud with the right amount of finesse. Come with me as I guide you on a keef-paved road to sparking up.
First of all, forget any worries you may have about running into undercover law enforcement. It’s not like you’re going to encounter a copper disguised as a degenerate and have to go all 23 skidoo on his ass. Those guys aren’t out to bust random people trying to find a little bit of weed. (Except for the racist ones.) But at the same time, don’t wander around a park asking random people for weed. The following are broad but discreet strategies you can employ, depending on where you are.
This is pretty obvious, but if you’re in your own city, call up those friends of yours who you know smoke. In the spirit of people who enjoy weed, they’ll be glad to help you. I realize I have the luxury of living in New York City, where there are reliable delivery services that’ll come to your house in the agreed-upon time frame, unlike, say, the cable company. It’s a beautiful thing! But if you’re not lucky enough to live in a place like that, you’re not totally shit out of luck. You just have to do a bit more sleuthing.
If your pot-smoking friends are no help (or if you don’t have any friends who are open weed-heads), then refer to your generally sketchiest friends. Everyone has sketchy friends. I have this friend Adam who is sketchy as hell: He always looks like he just sprouted forth from the ground on which he’s standing. He’s like a cross between Johnny Appleseed and a Cabbage Patch Kid that came from a swamp. Sometimes he shows up at my house with a joint because he wants to say hi and smoke a joint. It’s great. But he also has a tendency to lose his phone and recover it in the microwave or the fridge, and he pops up in the most unlikely of places, like on my couch. Anyway, he’s a sketchball, and I mean that lovingly. But Adam knows things about life that some of us just aren’t born knowing. And one of those things is, he knows where to find marijuana.
The thing with pot dealers is they have a tendency to disappear into the ether. They’re reliable so far as someone who likes to get high can be, which means they’re around until they disappear or change their number or find more legal employment. If you smoke weed for long enough, you’re bound to run into this problem. Those are the times I’ve called Adam. Ironically enough, he’s found me the most reliable weed guy I’ve ever used in my life. His name is Rob, he drives a sensible car, he’s nice, and he’s always on time. In other words, your sketchy friends can potentially help you find a consistent source for the gang.
If you’re traveling somewhere and you need to find weed, the simplest thing you can do is think of anyone you may know in that city. If you don’t know anyone directly, chances are you know someone who knows someone. Do a little digging. Someone will be able to lead you in the right direction if you want it bad enough.
If that doesn’t work, all is not lost. Go to a bar. Talk to bartenders. Talk to patrons who look like it isn’t their first time at said bar. Be casual. Strike up a normal conversation, and skirt the topic of weed. If they seem open to marijuana as a concept, you can go a little deeper and start alluding to the fact that you are on a weed hunt. You don’t have to try too hard to sound cool, but at the same time, you don’t want to be completely secretive. It’s weed, not meth, and people—at least the ones you find in bars—are probably at least open to it. There is no script here, but follow conversational cues and look for a doggy door into getting bud. Don’t chicken out, you chicken. (You’re not a chicken, I didn’t mean that.)
People will know. Trust me. For about two years, I bought weed from a tiny blonde girl named Clementine who had a pierced septum and an equally tiny blonde dog. I met her in a bar on New Year’s Day several years ago, and she delivered weed to me on a consistent basis for about a year, until she apparently got hit by a car and sent her friend Mike or something in her stead, which felt weird. And after that she maybe stopped selling weed, because she just stopped responding to texts. I hope she’s okay.
If neither of those things work, just talk to people. Talk to strangers. Strangers, in general, have the best candy. Strike up conversations; feel things out. The natural progression might just Go There. If you’re feeling the vibe, maybe consider bringing up the topic. If things are going well, repeat after me: “Hey, man, do you know where I can find some weed?” The worst he or she could say is no. Other possible responses include, “No, but I have a friend who does” or “That’s illegal,” in which case you could always pretend like you were just joking.
Or you can just hope for the best. Put the vibe out. Life is random. Weird things happen. Once I was in a bodega, and this guy approached me and handed me a card that said, “Call Smiley” and had his phone number on it, exactly like the one in Half Baked. I was so taken aback, because I had actually been looking for a new weedman after my previous weedman, whose name was Philip but went by Bling, had retired. Smiley, whose name was actually Fire, was in fact looking to sell me some marijuana. It took me a minute to collect myself, but he sold me some tree right on the spot. I bought weed from him for awhile until his aspiring music career started taking off. Also, he started hitting on me.
Which brings up an important point: Don’t mix business with pleasure. This is sort of an unspoken rule, one you have seen laid out in such film classics as Grandma’s Boy and Pineapple Express. You don’t have this problem ever if you use a delivery service, but you probably will if you’re sourcing your sticky icky from a random dude or lady. They’re gonna want to smoke up with you. And sure, be polite and take that bong hit, but don’t linger. You don’t want to be friends with your weed dealer. It will always get weird.
So if all those things fail you, just go to your nearest Cypress Hill concert or University of Vermont alumni networking event. Just kidding! Actually, though, either of those things would likely get results. I have some miscellaneous tips as well. I’ve mentioned this before, but chat up your local cab drivers. In New York, this doesn’t work because cab drivers tend to be normal people with homes in Queens and kids in middle school, and they aren’t the men and women about town they once were. But in other places where the cab industry isn’t as robust or formal, this works. Once again, feel things out and gauge the vibe of the conversation before you start talking all things tree. These people are knowledgeable about the ways of the world, and can put you on the straight and narrow and high as hell.
If you’re at a concert, well, good for you: Finding weed just got a hell of a lot easier. When I am at a show or a festival and I’m looking for bud, I employ a few tactics. First, I look for the seedy-looking guy with a backpack of some sort. Those backpacks have treasures inside. If the seedy-looking guy with a backpack has White-Boy Dreads, even better. That’s as good as a dead ringer. Another good source is the people with hula hoops. Hula hoopers get high. There is probably a scientific reason for this. Scope people out. Additionally, gas-station attendants and people wearing T-shirts with the sleeves cut off in an unironic way could work. Or people who look like they spend a lot of time hanging out in front of head shops or progressive bookstores. The people who look like they smoke pot usually smoke pot.
And finally, when in doubt, make like Toucan Sam and follow your nose! First, sniff out the patchouli. Where there is patchouli, there is usually weed to be found. If you’re at a show, people will probably know where to point you to, or they’ll just smoke you out themselves. Pot-smokers are giving like that. They’re the opposite of the amphetamine crowd in that they are all about peace and love and Doritos.
I cannot guarantee success; I can only say that these tactics have worked in my own life of habitual pot-smoking. But if you channel your inner drug dog, your inner wook, your inner Widespread Panic fan—if you get a little sketchy and do some detective work—you should be high in no time, man.
Adequate Man is Deadspin’s new self-improvement blog, dedicated to making you just good enough at everything. Suggestions for future topics are welcome below.
Illustration by Jim Cooke.