New York City is shockingly behind the times with regard to recreational marijuana. Sure, small amounts are decriminalized, and you can catch that sweet, skunky scent on any city block, at any given time, but we’re still trailing Massachusetts, California, Colorado, and a smattering of other locales in terms of cut-and-dried legality.
Still, most folks here are perfectly capable of getting their hands on weed via true medical necessity, a little help from a friendly physician, or good old fashioned street retail. The rules of taking in NYC are still murky, but times are changing and we’re finally poised to remove our finger from the carb of progress and inhale the sweet, pungent air of change.
How Illegal Is It to Smoke One Little Joint in the Park?
As of last September, you’re unlikely to get hauled into jail for smoking weed in public. But think twice before lighting up if you have an open warrant, you’ve been convicted of a violent crime, if your smoking menaces the public, or even if you aren’t carrying ID — all of which could get you a free ride to the nearest precinct. In most other cases, the worst you’ll face is a ticket and a fine of up to $100 on your first offense. The ticket requires you to go to court, so it’s still a pain, but it won’t end up your record because it’s considered a violation rather than a crime.
Selling marijuana, on the other hand, is riskier. Possession with intent to sell (meaning you’re caught with weed packaged in more than one bag as though for distribution, or you’ve got apparent sales paraphernalia like a digital scale) can earn you a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine. That same penalty applies to anyone caught growing any amount of marijuana.
Still Sounds Risky. How Do I Get Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana became legal in NYC in 2016, and dispensaries have popped up all over the city in the intervening years. But they don’t exactly jump out at you. Since smoking marijuana in NYC is still illegal, even for medical patients, most dispensaries specialize in tinctures, vapes, and pills. Buying actual bud (cool people call it “flower” now) is a no-go.
De Blasio has long cited alcohol and tobacco addiction in his family as the basis for his legalization hesitation (although studies have shown that marijuana is less habit-forming than booze or cigarettes). But he pivoted in December, laying out a plan to permit recreational weed in NYC, with caveats: one would have to be 21 years of age to partake, and smoking in public places would be prohibited. The plan also recommended establishing cannabis business zones, establishing product safety standards, and expunging low-level marijuana convictions.
How Do I Buy Recreational Weed in NYC?
Street corner weed dealers still exist. A certain park named after a certain early American president and a certain avenue where people go to buy fake purses is rumored to have such independent pot peddlers. Because the marijuana market is so saturated, your chances of scoring decent product from someone you don’t know are as good as ever, but not great. Word of mouth is always the best way to find a new hook up. If you’re new in town and don’t know anyone yet, there are some alternatives.
Online communities are often the best bet for somebody with absolutely no connections. The internet is rife with forums, chats, and subreddits about marijuana. A few honest posts and comments on a marijuana forum is one way to meet new people in your area who might be able to point you in the right direction. However, don’t go asking for a connection right away because that’s a great way to make everyone think you’re a cop. And be smart: if you do arrange to meet with another weed enthusiast, do it in a safe, public place.
Most recreational weed smokers in NYC have a delivery service they discovered through word of mouth. Many operations use social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat and other self-destructing means of communication. Etiquette typically dictates that you propose a “hang out” with your would be weed purveyor. Then, your new pal will arrive with a small metal suitcase packed with different varieties. The product often comes in jars or small baggies and feature colorful labels that often describe the scent, taste, and effects of the product.
Expect to see strains like Sour Diesel (invigorating) Girl Scout Cookies (relaxing) Headband (euphoria-inducing) Super Lemon Haze (energizing) and Gorilla Glue (super relaxing). Recently, dealer packaging has begun including text indicating that it’s compliant with the recreational legalization laws of other states, meaning that a lot of the product making its way into the NYC weed pipeline is just store-bought bud from Colorado or California.
If you’ve called a weed pro over, you should be prepared to purchase a $50-60 eighth of an ounce. Sending a dealer away without buying anything is considered poor form and could get you banned.…