Puffing with the plug

2017-04-23 06:00
Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Picture: Tebogo Letsie

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Smokers were overjoyed on March 31 at the news of a law in motion that, in two years’ time, could make it legal to smoke and grow weed in your own home. But despite the legalities, marijuana has been bought and sold since its discovery. For many young people, especially foreign nationals, it’s the only way to make a living.

My encounter begins with the customary street handshake. In my right hand is R60, and in his the product contained in two zips (small zip-lock bags or bankies). Our palms meet and the exchange happens as though we are simply greeting each other.

I step up into his spot and enquire about the police. “They’re are around all the time in their white Golf, like we don’t see them.” He laughs as he begins to mull us up a little sum-sum. Barrington Levy’s Here I Am plays in the background – fitting I would say. Jah Lawd is quite the character; he’s openly proud of his Rasta lifestyle and the benefits of smoking weed. The words Weed Is Truth are written on the brim of his baseball cap. “You know me Jah, I came here from [a neighbouring state] to look for a better life for my son. I don’t got no qualifications so I had to make a plan. This is it,” he says.

His prices are around R30 for two grams of his outdoor strains, which vary based on consignment. He says he gets his stock from over the border, although he doesn’t say where. “We have our ways of getting the product through. You know when you smoking my stuff it’s the good one.” And he isn’t lying. He rolls up some piff in a brown Raw rolling sheet for us to smoke while we chat. He sparks it, takes two to the head, clears his throat and passes me the jet. “This game is dangerous, my king. You remember when I was gone for a while,” he refers to the time he got pinched by the cops because of what he does. “It was hard for me and my family. Snitching can break you out here in this game; people don’t want to see a black king on the rise.”

I pass the fire back to him and ask him how he thinks legal weed will impact him. The strain is starting to make everything appear slower and making me very chatty. “Eish P, this thing for me is no good. Them government them will want big companies to get involved here, and then me? Other soldiers like me? We perish Jah, you don’ know,” and he exhales a cloud of smoke as he finishes. We both cough a bit, this must be a zip from his private stash. The conversation pauses here in a rather solemn way. I imagine he’s thinking about what it would be like to not be able to provide for his kin and I’m contemplating life without my favourite plug.

“I don’t do these other things, khat [methcathinone] and powder [cocaine] and all. No, no, you see that one is killing the customer.”

We laugh at this comment, the spliff still in full effect. I’m aware that the block turned on him once and got him locked up. Surely this is something that plagues Jah Lawd’s mind constantly. “No fear, sire. I don’t sell to schoolkids and my stuff is not laced or nothing. This thing won’t make you jump the people in the street or rob the grannies here in the hood. No, Jah man, we smoke this fire then be ayrie,” smoke streaming out of his nostrils.

Truth be told, it did not look like the plug was even tripping about this whole legality thing. I mean really now, the streets been having trees on the block and we been blazing. “This law won’t stop me. I don’t have a choice, I must sell or I don’t eat. You see my set-up here; I must keep things quiet. Everybody wants to see their family alright, my man.” I ash the joint as he lights a Stuyvesant.

I step out of his spot, mad blown and feeling as though I got to know a little more about the person behind the pusher. “Move them newspapers them, my king. I will be here waiting to register my business with Zuma and his crew,” he jokes as we part ways.

Read more on:    marijuana

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