(Caveat: I’m a fortysomething white guy. I mention that because this week’s column involves women, minorities, and cannabis. This means that two out of the three topics I’m writing about are ones I may not be ideally suited to address.)
From my time in New York City, I learned that weed delivery services were not uncommon, but they were damn expensive. After phoning a dispatch, a bike courier would soon arrive with a backpack of two-gram plastic containers that went for between $75 and $100. (That works out to $37.50-50 per gram, mathletes.) The products they peddled were often potent, but more often than not, they were hydroponically grown and rarely flushed properly, leaving you with cannabis that had a salty, bitter aftertaste. But the Rockefeller drug laws in New York regarding cannabis have always made acquisition of flower—top shelf or otherwise—a risky undertaking, and if anyone ever needed fast access to cannabis, it’s someone living in the five boroughs.
The new GQ has an article, “Queens of the Stoned Age,” about a weed delivery service in New York called the Green Angels. It was started by a Mormon and former model, and she brought on all women as dispatchers and couriers, many former models themselves. (This isn’t the basis for an HBO show, although High Maintenance did have that one webisode about the Cannabitch Collective.)
In the piece, the author spends time with both the proprietor—a woman he gives the eye-rolling alias of “Honey”—and several of the couriers. Honey explains that the Angels are “selling a fantasy of an attractive, well educated, presentable young woman who wants to get you high.” They offer clients eighths of flower for $50, caramel lollipops for $30, bottles of tincture for $80, and vape pens for a whopping $140.
Honey says she has a 100 percent markup on indoor hydro weed that she buys from California growers for more than $3,000 per pound. On a good month she takes home $150,000, tax-free.
The couriers speak about how this has allowed them to make more money than at “soul sucking” straight jobs, with one courier claiming she now makes between $1,000 and $1,300 a week. This is all great, as financial independence for women is something we should all support.
But a few things bothered me.
The couriers don’t seem particularly knowledgeable about cannabis, with one instructing a customer to store her purchase in a double-sealed plastic bag in her fridge. When asked how strong a cannabis-infused edible is, she responds, “It’s pretty strong. You can eat half.” (Idea: Maybe Honey could spend a small fraction of that $150,000 in monthly profit on having them tested at an out-of-state lab.) One of the Angels tells of a box of edibles mistakenly taken by her landlord, who inadvertently shared them with neighborhood kids who ended up “staring at the wall for hours.”
But more disturbing is what I would define as the epitome of white privilege.
As Honey states, they have never been busted in the eight years they have been in operation, giving the explanation: “Good-looking girls don’t get searched.”
I won’t argue that point, but would add good-looking white girls don’t get searched. Only one of the mentioned couriers is a person of color—perhaps there are more that didn’t make it into the article. But stop-and-frisk policies by the NYPD have, until recently, been in place for well over a decade, and they haven’t focused on anyone who is white—attractive woman or not.
And there are lots of people of color doing time in Rikers for performing the same service, which begs the question: Would the Green Angels be as fawned over if it was operated by a group of minorities, including young men? What does it say that no one is attempting to sell the fantasy of having “an attractive, young, well educated, presentable person of color who wants to get you high”?
Minorities are vastly underrepresented in the cannabis industry, and groups such as the excellent Minority Cannabis Business Association are working tirelessly to change that. Until that happens, perhaps GQ would like to focus on knowledgeable industry reps who aren’t pretty young white women.