I spent part of my recent vacation in Los Angeles. This was nice because it gave me a chance to see a couple friends who I seldom see more than once a year because they live on the other side of our massive, sprawling country. The first thing they wanted to do when I arrived was smoke up. This was because, like most LA people, they enjoy being high all the time and also, I suspect, because they feel sorry for me because I live just outside the great marijuana wasteland that is Washington, D.C.
That isn’t to say weed isn’t available in and around D.C. But it is certainly harder to come by here than a lot of other cities. There are some theories as to why this is and most of them center on the influence of the federal workforce. A couple states may have legalized recreational use of weed, but there’s still a federal ban, so government workers shan’t partake. And because weed is the easiest drug to test for (and test they do), most government employees steer clear. Because there isn’t a great deal of demand from the members of the most prominent employer in the region, there isn’t a ton of supply either.
A few years ago when I was between writing jobs, I applied for a position with a security contractor for various government agencies. We’re not exactly talking high-level stuff. It’s more or less people standing around the lobbies of office buildings. During the application process, they wanted to know any and all drug history for the past five years. Five years!? Jeebus, I’m not guarding the president. I’m just some asshole with his arms crossed in the lobby of the EPA or whatever giving visitors the stink eye. Because it was vaguely government related, I was afraid that if I lied, they’d find out through miniature drones in my pee, so I said I last used weed three years go. I felt like if you admit something far back in the period, you’re okay. But there is no leeway. The interviewer came back and said, “Oh, see this section on drug history? This should be blank. We just include the explanation part to mess with you. If we see anything here, it’s a non-starter. So long and good luck.”
Back to LA: My friends there always want to sympathize with me on the subject of weed. I tried to explain that I had a decent connection for the better part of the past year that only just recently fell apart. That’s when the full force of their LA smugness came out.
“Wow, the fact that you even needed a ‘connection’ is kind of sad.”
“Yeah, if you can’t find weed out here, there’s something wrong with you. It’s everywhere.”
Immediately, I’m thinking, “OOOOHHHHHHH, YOU BASTARDS! I’M SO SORRY THAT WHERE I LIVE THE STREETS AREN’T PAVED WITH THC! YOU’RE LUCKY YOU’RE GIVING ME FREE DRUGS OR SO HELP ME, YOU’D GET THE TONGUE-LASHING OF A LIFETIME!” It only got worse because the LA drug smug inevitably transitioned to LA weather smug. One of them actually complained that it had been – shudder – CLOUDY (CLOUDY!!!) a few days before and that the entire mood of the city seemed affected by it.
Don’t think this condescension is unique to LA people. New Yorkers are just as bad. I can’t tell you how many New Yorkers have boasted to me about how they have delivery service, like they’re ordering a goddamn pizza. “My dealer just drops it off at my place. It’s so easy there.” These are the people who complain that federal legalization is only going to hurt the quality of the bud. I don’t give a shit. At least I’ll be able to get it with better than haphazard frequency.
I know I could be more proactive to solve my problem. There are still open-air drug markets in the area, but I’m too much of a pussy for that. Instead, I’m just gonna sit here and curse everyone who has it better.