Human beings enjoy taking drugs.
We all ingest them, be it a morning shot of caffeine, an hourly hit of nicotine, a nightly swig of alcohol, or a line of cocaine to liven up a Saturday night party. Drugs that are illegal today were once medically prescribed. Other illegal drugs such as MDMA are being proven to have significant medicinal benefits in the treatment of PTSD and other disorders. It’s a grey area.
Drug dealers operate on the fringes of legality. They sell illegal substances mostly to otherwise law abiding citizens. They risk being entrapped by the ‘war on drugs’, a policy that has proven as ineffective as the ‘war on terror’ and the prohibition of alcohol.
AMG sat down with a retail level drug dealer to see how he was coping with life under lockdown.
AMG – How’s business during these unprecedented times?
Michael – Business is very slow. With bars and nightclubs closed the market for recreational class drugs has all but dried up. Not many people take ecstasy and sit in their bedrooms. Coke is also very slow. A lot of my customers there are lawyers, ironically, and they are all stuck at home too.
AMG – Lawyers?
Michael – Yeah, I know plenty of criminal lawyers who take a hit, right before they go to court to defend a client who might be charged with drug offenses.
AMG – Oh the irony. How about other drug classes.
Michael – Weed sales are up, it’s more of a chill drug, and with all this bad news people definitely need to chill. I have a mate that sells bulbs and apparently they are flying off the shelves.
AMG – How about logistics?
Michael – Very difficult at the moment. I ride a motorscooter, normally at night and the streets are empty right now, there are more cops on the beat and it’s very hard to blend in.
AMG – What about supply, have there been issues there?
Michael – There has. With no international flights, one major entry point has been eliminated. The drop in demand has meant that there are no current shortages, but I would say there’ll be a lot of people looking to party when they are allowed back outside. So a spike in demand with a shortage of supply is coming.
AMG – Have you studied economics?
Michael – Yes, I’m very interested in economics, especially macroeconomics. I studied business at university.
AMG – Why sell drugs?
Michael – Yeah, it’s a tough question. I’m not really a user at all these days. I’ve never been a big user in fact. Money, lifestyle, freedom, working my own hours.
AMG – What kind of money are we talking about?
Michael – Ummm, about 4k a week during normal times, so more than I could make working a ‘job’. I have plans to get out. I have a decent chunk of bitcoin, so who knows, I might be able to retire on that one day. If not I might open a bar.
AMG – And sell legal drugs.
Michael – Yeah, taxes, licenses, all that shit.
AMG – How about your suppliers? Are you dealing with heavy people?
Michael – I don’t personally carry a gun, but my suppliers probably do, so heavy enough. I have a good reputation, and that is worth a lot in these circles. I never deal from home, my address is not known by anyone, so I sleep well enough.
AMG – What about limits, or there drugs you wouldn’t sell?
Michael – I’ve never dealt heroin. You are interacting with a whole different level of desperation. It’s pretty much a dead end street, so I’m happy not to go there. There are not many recreational heroin users that I know of. I’m happier selling coke to lawyers in suits. They have something to lose, whereas a junky is up against the wall already.
AMG – So why did you start dealing?
Michael – I got a conviction for something not drug related when I was young, it was just something stupid, but a business degree is pretty much worthless if you have a conviction. My options were limited, you might say.
AMG – Another squandered talent.
At this point in the conversation a couple of fluro wearing cops wandered in our direction, so I put my dictaphone away, shook Michael’s hand and we parted company.
G G Novack – Investigative Journalist, Critic, Political Commentator