Published on July 25, 2005
Some New York executives unwind in the evening with a glass of wine. Others go out for a beer. And some take the edge off in a way they rarely discuss with their colleagues. Particularly in the summer, when children are at camp, these Gothamites are kicking back in a fashion reminiscent of their college days. "When my son's away, I keep my bong and my bag out on the dining room table," says Jim, co-owner of a furniture manufacturing company, who, like every other pot smoker interviewed in this article, asked not to be identified. "It makes me feel young again.
Despite the ongoing war on drugs and the stigma surrounding any illegal activity, a certain portion of the New York business community never turned in its rolling papers. For many of these otherwise law-abiding citizens, taking a few tokes of their favorite illicit substance is simply their preferred way to decompress. Though they might conceal their after-hours smoking from their co-workers, they insist that, used in moderation, the evil weed doesn't have to hurt job performance.
In the marijuana underground, New York has a reputation not only for widespread use but for the buying habits of its upscale users. City dwellers fork over as much as $600 an ounce for top-quality product, while dealers brag about selling strains grown from winners of the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup.
The city is also famous for its efficient delivery services.
"It's the only place in the country where you can get cannabis delivered, uptown and downtown, faster than pizza or Chinese food," says Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, based in Washington.
"Alcohol dulls everything," says Abe, a litigator at a Manhattan law firm who says he would rather toke than imbibe. "Pot sharpens certain things, like creativity."
Marijuana is also the one illicit substance that appears to enjoy widespread appeal across social and economic lines.
"Lawyers, accountants, actors, cooks ... I deal with people across the board," says Jason, who has been selling marijuana full time in New York since 1996. "From people living in hellholes who can't really afford it, to people whose secretaries I have to talk to before I can talk to them."