Buying cannabis flower (“weed”, “marijuana”, “giggle bush” &c.) can be daunting to new consumers in New York City; this guide will break down the different channels by which to acquire it and the associated prices and advantages of each.
The following are excerpts from the personal diary or our founder, Josiah Lamp, and are for entertainment and historical purposes only; all consumers should thoroughly inspect the business licenses of establishments they patronize and obey all local laws and regulations
Convenience vs. Price
As is the case with most consumer products, the ease with which one can buy cannabis flower in New York City usually translates into a paying a premium for a rather commodified product. Quality, of course, typically increases with price as well. The overall consumer cost accounts for many factors; some, like economies of scale, are similar to other industries, others, primarily discretion, are unique to the present-day cannabis space.
This plot and guide is chiefly concerned with the Devil’s Lettuce itself, although other consumables such as edibles, oils, & waxes, follow a similar, parallel, spectrum.
Most Convenient: Street Vendor
The easiest way to acquire cannabis in New York City is to just go up to a guy on the street and buy it. Since legalization, the “brick weed” dealers have decamped the two primary locations, Union and Washington Square Parks, and have been replaced by regular vendor tables. Operating typically noon to dusk, they have a small variety of flower products, but consumers shouldn’t expect quality bud or great prices. Much more useful for buying a $10 pre-roll to enjoy in the park than to stock up for the week; however, some street vendors will have more options available for delivery.
Brick & Mortar
Looking to jump the gun on dispensary sales, these permanent locations can be found from the LES to the Village to Chelsea. Typically they use some gimmick, “daily memberships” or “free” flower with purchase of rolling papers, to avoid too much government scrutiny. Most attractive to new cannabis users, who wouldn’t otherwise purchase from a guy on the street, these establishments will have bud-tenders to assist/upsell naive customers. Also great places to acquire a wide range of smoking accoutrement, such as genuine Smoking Lamps; beware, some shops ONLY sell Delta-8 or CBD products.
Like the others that require and promise high discretion, you’ll need some time shopping before finding the right service, or the right service finds you. Most can be found by direct contact on Instagram, or secure chats like Telegram or Signal, and will offer the widest variety and selection of products, strains, and weight options. Obviously, the quality of the flower you buy may not be what you expected, so be sure you trust these providers. Unlike almost every other channel, online sellers typically accept digital payments (Venmo, PayPal) or cryptocurrency instead of cash. Also, you have to wait like AT LEAST 24 hours to get your purchase in the mail.
Probably the most common channel in New York City; delivery services are emerging with unparalleled speed and there are dozens of options at any given time. Their contact information can be found on stickers on streetlamp and trashcans throughout the city. These services usually operate over Instagram or secure chat to push weekly strain menus and sales; some prefer drop offs be contacted when needed, and can have wait time of 15min to a few hours, depending on the service and time of day, while others will make you reserve a delivery window in advance; some will make you select your order when you contact them, others will bring a small smorgasbord of samples to peruse. Obviously, some have a wider selection than others, but almost every one will let you smell and see the bud during purchase.
Very similar to the delivery options above, but some services will have pick-up spots on the street or car or sometimes apartment that can be pre-arranged. This involves more walking than other channels, but usually quicker than waiting for a bike messenger.
While these might seems very similar to the Brick & Mortar stores, the speakeasys of New York are more akin to Amsterdam coffee houses than dispensaries. Requiring sponsorship and annual memberships from $50 to $500, in addition to product prices, speakeasys offer more than cannabis flower — interested patrons come for the experience, a place to unwind with friends or watch pay-per-view boxing, in a laid-back environment. Prices per eighth at speakeasys reflect the same markup you’d find on a bottle of beer at a bar compared to buying a six-pack at home. Also related are “infused kitchens”, offering full dining experiences from gourmet pizza to five course meals (all cannabis-infused) that require reservations made far in advance.
In short, farmers’ markets oriented to cannabis-related products. Organized by local collectives and startups to pool resources and attract clientele, these are fantastic places to meet find new vendors and products. Often, they will either operate in a parking lot or open-air venue for large day-long events or for only a few hours indoors before an underground comedy show or art gallery. These markets will advertise heavily on Instagram and will provide the location electronically after a cover charge is paid, usually through eventbrite.
Lowest Price/lb: "Sesh" Night Markets
Typically for local farmers and cross-coast distributors to provide wholesale products and flower to retailers. Although held at a different, regular location everyday of the week throughout the Manhattan/Brooklyn/Jersey area, security is very high and entry requires a personal invitation from a vendor to attend (plus a nominal cover charge). However, there is no better place to buy very large quantities of flower, discover/acquire diverse products (edibles, quality pre-rolls, &c) than at a “Night Sesh”.
BONUS OPTION: Ask your Cooler Friends
Good friends will always be down to smoke you out and they know where to get bud, obviously.