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Discreetly Dank: ‘Selling weed got me through grad school’

Volume 4

Discreetly Dank is a recurring column dedicated to giving a voice to those who dare to be dank. Each volume will come from a different writer in need of a safe space to document what it’s really like to be a weed lover in a world that still hasn’t normalized cannabis.

It has been years since I finished grad school, and sometimes, I still think I’m getting over it. For two and a half years, my brain played amongst new people, ideas, and passions as I worked towards my master’s degree. From trying to conduct quality research to reading books that upended my previous thinking, I loved being a student of a program that I chose, under people whose teaching and experience I respected.

“One day, it dawned on me. For many people in my circle, I had become the plug.”

I loved it so much that I was willing to both work and go to school full time. It was the only way I could get a grad degree without taking on significant debt – and I was desperate not to give Sallie Mae any other reasons to come calling.

But my full-time email marketing salary was barely covering rent, and I was still broke as soon as my checks hit. I had to start looking for ways to put more change in my pocket.  

A sensible side hustle

School supplies and glass jar with money for education on wooden table against green background

Even at the most broke I have ever been, I still made sure I could get a little weed. And while my financial situation in grad school had rendered severe blows to my ego (like when my car got repo’ed out of my own driveway,) I wasn’t giving up my ganja. I was committed to keeping weed by my side to help balance out my anxiety and help me sleep.

My reputation as a stoner helped me make plenty of friends who were trying to smoke what I smoked or enjoy one of the edibles that I made. At least a few times a week, someone would offer to pay me for edibles since they didn’t know how to make them. People also seemed very trusting and interested in any flower I could spare from my stash.

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After a while, it made more sense for me to purchase half or whole ounces every time I re-upped, because I knew that someone else would ask me for some weed or edibles. Buying in bulk gave me a way to hold on to a little something for my risk and for taking care of the acquisition.

And with overdraft fees sailing out of my checking and new reading lists being assigned each semester, I was always happy to make it work.

Connecting with my community

Closeup of trichomes on marijuana. Small business marijuana dispensary in United States.

The truth is, it made me feel good to help others who also enjoyed and desired weed. I loved (and still love) baking. And the extra funds paid for my books, the used laptop that I wrote my thesis on, and eventually, credit hours.

One day, it dawned on me. For many people in my circle, I had become the plug. Along with my job and studies, I was also baking special cookies and hooking co-workers and classmates up with flower. Some of my professors had even inquired about my edibles and shared with their friends and family who started placing orders.

What had started off as savvy economics helped me buy my hood for graduation, food for long nights of writing, and pay rent after I no longer had a job, but still desperately wanted to finish my program.

I’m proud of everything I did to finish grad school, including my side hustle. The extra money really held me down, and I remember learning so much about people as I figured out what strains and desserts they liked, how often they liked them, and how much it meant to them to have help with their weed needs.

It was nice to have my community’s trust and to share in its desire to feel more joy, find proper rest, and unwind. It was really nice to have money for groceries and bus tickets to see my family when school had me emotionally depleted.

Retiring from the life

A stuffed white piggy bank

Even after I finished grad school and got a new salaried job, I continued with my side hustle for a few more years because I couldn’t get enough of the happiness and relief it would bring people.

There is a vulnerability to doing weed business in a place that intentionally makes it harder, and I was always thankful to safely connect with the many wonderful people seeking a better quality of life.

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It’s been years since I ran a bake sale or weighed out 7g, but I still think fondly of how my community held me down during grad school and how I held them down, too.

Now, my master’s degree proudly hangs on the wall behind me every day, and I still think about all the lessons I learned in grad school.

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Discreetly Dank

Discreetly Dank is a recurring column dedicated to highlighting the stories and perspectives of cannabis enthusiasts navigating the stigma around cannabis in all facets of life. From microaggressions to genuine concerns about health and safety, the Discreetly Dank contributors dare to be dank in a world that hasn't caught up to their elevated lifestyles...yet.

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