Coronavirus pandemic brings a new stoned age for NYC’s cannabis dealers


The absolutely-must-have items in a pandemic: Toilet paper. Hand sanitizer. Bread. And weed.
Hard times lead to high times, and one New York marijuana dealer says city residents are hoarding cannabis just like everything else.
“In every scenario, people are freaking out and buying a lot of stuff," the 34-year-old home delivery man told the Daily News. “I’m sure of that, and that extends to weed.”
While most people self-quarantine at home, fearful of contracting coronavirus, the Brooklyn-based businessman bounces from borough to borough each day, keeping his customers mellow.
Of course, it’s safety first. He is careful about the potential of personal infection: No trips on the subway or city buses.
“I just walk everywhere," said the dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Or I’ll take a cab, because sending a cab is mathematically safer, just because there’s a sort of finite amount of people who’ll get that cab. I don’t trust the MTA at all in this situation.”
Some customers want no face-to-face interaction, and the businessman drops their delivery at the front door — all payments are made via Venmo, the online cash-transfer app. But the affable and extroverted dealer finds others enjoy their rare taste of human interaction.
“A lot of the people I’ve seen in the past couple weeks, I’ve been the first person other than their wife or roommate, or necessarily anyone, that they’ve seen in a week,” he said. And while those folks are eager to chat, the dealer remains a strict adherent of social distancing.
“I’m just like, ‘I’m not going to go into your f--king apartment.’ You know what I mean?" he said. "I’m already trying to reduce [risk] on my end.”
New Yorkers are also taking more weed in their food. Chris Barrett of Stoned Gourmet Cannabis Pizza — which sells THC-infused pizza, brownies, and other goodies — says the COVID-19 crisis has tripled business.
“It’s crazy because now we see it on Mondays and Tuesdays,” said Barrett, 47. “We used to have big days on Fridays and Saturdays and now there’s no difference. Nobody knows what day it is!”
Barrett — aka “The Pizza Pusha” — runs his Brooklyn-based business somewhat out in the open under the assumption that he’s safe under NYPD policy against pursuing many marijuana offenses.
The gamble has paid off: His growing business was boosted by city’s stay-at-home restrictions,in and he’s even hired new employees. One is an “overqualified” chef who took the job out of desperation.
“It’s kind of a perfect storm for me,” he said.
The product isn’t cheap. Barrett won’t deliver his gourmet cannabis pizza and other items unless customers make minimum orders of $100 or more. The minimum depends on a customer’s address.
Like any other business, selling weed can be challenging in these difficult times. One Queens-based pot dealer ran out of product just before the crisis, and restocking her stash is an issue.
“Getting it in this time doesn’t seem like it’s worth the risk,” she explained. “Even if we did have anything, my roommate and I both have day jobs. It’s not worth putting other people at risk.”

Once the lockdown ends, the 36-year-old woman hopes she and her roommate will resume selling — and she commends dealers who are sticking with their businesses.

“Out in California it’s deemed an essential business because there are people who are legitimately using it medically,” she said. “Not to mention the increased anxiety that everyone is feeling right now. People need a reprieve from that."

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