I worked dope for fifteen years. Much of my time was spent targeting crack cocaine dealers and organizations. There is a hierarchy to dope dealers, especially crack dealers. At the lowest level are the runners. Read the story, at the link and then the rest of the story below.
Contrary to Hollywood assertions, most dope dealers do not drive Cadillacs, live in mansions or have any dope. No dope?
Dope is about power. The fry cook at the local Micky D’s has no status. The fry cook with a dope connection assumes status out of proportion with his group standing. Suddenly the cool kids want to be his friend and girls fawn over him. All because he can score and they can’t, without him.
The lowest level of crack dealing are the street dealers. They stand around in neighborhoods and hawk crack in much the same manner as a newspaper boy. Some street dealers may not have any dope. These guys are so unreliable their connection won’t trust them to hold any. What they do have is self awareness of a crash dummy. They will deal dope to anybody who asks and has the money, consequences be damned.
They take an order, grab the money and either hand the money over to the connection for a rock of crack or go to a stash spot and then back to the customer. This process is repeated. The runner becomes the public face of the dope dealer. The connection stays in the background. The runner works on a commission, for “X” number of deals the runner gets his very own “20 rock.” The runner can sell it or smoke it.
A runner could make a living, over charging the customers, selling short weight and selling his commission rocks.
I used to ask these street level dealers, we called them “crack monkeys” they were too down and out or green to be called “crack monsters.” One question. “How long would it take them to go from selling “fronted dope” (on consignment) to selling their own ounces?”
Their reply was pretty consistent. Assuming they didn’t “smoke out”, (consume their profits), get busted, get ripped off by fellow dealers, have their girlfriend, wife, mother or siblings rip him off, about three days. This means they would go from pockets empty to having the ability to buy an ounce of crack for cash.
The potential profits for dope dealing are not measured in a linear fashion. They are geometric. Let’s jump from crack to marijuana to be consistent with the article, above.
The first thing to consider is that this isn’t your daddy’s marijuana. For the sake of consistency we will start with the DEA method of measure. Each one of the plants pictured above represents one kilo or 2.2 pounds. For those that are metrically challenged that is 35 ounces.
Here is an example of the new marijuana. This is called Northern Lights. Here is a description: Pure indica. Pungently sweet spicy aromas radiate from crystal coated buds which sometimes reveal themselves in hues of purple. Here are the numbers that count:
Highest Test 33%, Strain Average 27%, Indica Average 12.5%, Wikileaf Average 18%, Wikileaf Highest 35%
Mexican marijuana is rated at 3 to 5% THC.
Mexican weed still sells for $20-30 an ounce. Northern Lights prices vary but $260 an ounce is not unreasonable.
To be sure, there are start up costs. Lighting, irrigation, infrastructure, security but the back end profits more than offset those costs. Going back to the picture of the grow, I’d estimate there are 130 plants. Using the retail value and giving the plant a DEA yield, each plant is worth $9100 or $1,183,000.
Dopers will scream about the DEA weight. So I’ll go with their low ball estimate 100 grams or $918 per plant, 130 plants potential yield $120.714.
There is a third set of numbers. The Federal sentencing guidelines assign a one pound weight per plant. That translates to $4160 per plant. That is 2080 ounces at $260 for total of $540,800.
Check out the Internet for cannabis products. The vendors offer weed, edibles, butter, oil and other related products. For this reason alone, I reject the growers estimate of 100 grams yield per plant. I also reject the DEA estimate. I am more comfortable with the estimate established in the Federal sentencing guidelines.
Keep in mind, not only did the government manage to blow a tremendous profit margin, they had an additional source of income not available to dope dealers. It is likely every transaction incurred an additional tax payment. They still lost money. I can’t think of a better argument that government is not the solution. This could be an indication that we keep sending the wrong people to govern.