Lessons From a Young Drug Dealer


By Hanna Brooks Olsen


I was poor and couldn’t pay rent, so I started selling weed

When I was in college, everyone really liked Weeds. It had just come out and it was kind of groundbreaking — a suburban widow, complete with perfectly imperfect hair and a seemingly endless closet full of Going Out tops, driving a Range Rover and selling pot.

Whenever someone in class talked about it, I rolled my eyes. I knew there was no way she was making a living — in a posh suburb, no less — on dimebags sold to PTA moms.

I knew exactly how much money you could make selling weed because I had been doing it. And, frankly, it wasn’t a lot. But, hoo boy, was it a lot of trouble.

The first time I sold a $20 of Vancouver’s finest hay-stinking pot, I went to some guy’s apartment. A friend had texted the guy my number. Then, the guy called to give me his address.

“You can just text me next time,” I said.

“I don’t want to get arrested,” he said.

“Well, don’t text ‘HEY I NEED POT.’ Like, be normal about it,” I said.

“Okay,” he said. And gave me his address.

I walked over to his place. My boyfriend had told me not to carry the digital scale because if I got stopped, I could get an additional charge for intent to distribute. No shit, I thought. I knew a kid who got popped for intent when we were in the eighth grade. Just like every other aspect of life, selling pot was an opportunity for men to talk to me like I didn’t know what I was doing.

Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, I learned about pot pretty early. My mom and dad both still called it “dope” and, even though everyone assumed my mom probably smoked a lot (she drove a Volkswagen and burned a lot of incense), my parents said dope made you stupid. I remain certain that, now that it’s legal, my dad would actually really enjoy it. But that’s a different essay altogether.

A lot of my parents’ friends smoked, and downtown Eugene pretty much always had that faint odor of sweet burning grass and sweaty human bodies. So by the time I got to college, I knew my way around a bud.

Just like every other aspect of life, selling pot was an opportunity for men to talk to me like I didn’t know what I was doing.

I also knew that the weed the kids in my dorm were smoking was hot garbage, so I felt comfortable pinching the bag a little bit — which is to say, it was on the light side. I tucked it next to my tampons in my purse, which is where literally all people with periods put something they’re trying to hide. If you ever want to find drugs or something else belonging to a person who menstruates, look in the tampon pouch.

Walking along the off-campus path, already a little stoned on the stash that would soon belong to this other kid, I felt strange. It had happened quickly, this leap into doing something pretty damn illegal, and yet every little step I took seemed so benign.

Earlier that year, I’d learned that a friend of a friend was going to pick up a brick of something a little less grotesque than what was floating around campus. They were driving about an hour south, and there was an extra seat in the car, and if I had $40 I could get in on it. I had nothing else to do, so I donated some plasma, got the cash, and went for a ride.

It all became a little too real as I stood in a terrifying bedroom in an even more terrifying apartment complex. Within my line of vision, I could see no fewer than three — probably unlicensed — firearms and some exotic animals. One bare lightbulb in the ceiling blasted down on all of us while the guy pulled out a literal garbage bag full of cannabis.

And, suddenly, we were in business. Iwas in business.

I hadn’t realized the amount of weight we were picking up or the fact that it would be way more than we could burn through ourselves (even though some of those guys could really put it away). Apparently, that had been the plan all along.

I feel the need to be quite clear at this part of the story. The boys (and I use that word on purpose) who became my business partners were bored, wealthy, white kids from the suburbs who thought it was cool and fun to play baddie. They were in college because they didn’t know what else to do with their lives. They were into weed and all of its trappings (video games, eating cereal for dinner) as a hobby. I was poor as hell and putting myself through school by doing just about any odd job I could get. But we all lived in the dorms, so we were de facto friends. Because that’s how college is, I guess.

Because I was poor and couldn’t pay rent, suddenly I became the sentinel. The Nancy Botwin of the college.

On the drive back, they made plans, shouting over Jack Johnson and Coheed and Cambria.

We would move just enough to pay for our own supply — just little bags here and there. We could smoke all the crumbs and it would be cool and we’d never need to pay for our own pot again. A quick drive down once a week on the weekends would re-up the stash and we’d use the money we made to buy the next batch. No crossing state lines, no big sales. So easy!

And it was easy for a while. I didn’t have to do anything; I was just around, getting smoked out sometimes and kicking it. Occasionally, I went for the car ride, but not often, if I could help it.

But then the boys moved off-campus spring quarter, and because I was poor and couldn’t pay rent, suddenly I became the sentinel. The Nancy Botwin of the college. I would be the boots (okay, Birkenstocks) on the ground.

It was decided, for me but not by me, that I would now be in charge of distribution. I would be dropping bags all over the place like a little pixie of pot.

They gave me a lockbox containing Kirkland Signature fold-over sandwich bags. They showed me how to weigh out a bag, as though I hadn’t been sitting right next to them all quarter, watching them do it. They went over all the measurements, as though I hadn’t been party to all of it already.

workplace, on the bus, while volunteering — but it became explicitly clear when I brought that first sad little bag of weed to a stranger in an apartment down the street.

I went to his door and knocked. He let me in, introducing himself.

I don’t care, I thought. He brought me into his room. His roommate wasn’t home, he said, but he didn’t want him to come back because he didn’t “want to share.”

I assumed he meant the weed, but, honestly, I can’t be sure.

He laid down on the bed, propping his head up in his hand.

“So, what kind of stuff do you like to do?” he asked.

Oh god, I thought, he thinks this is a date.

At first, I tried to appease him. Being friendly had always worked well in my service jobs. After he started droning on about going to a festival or something — “You should come with some time! Do you like live music?” — I had to put an end to it. I pulled out the bag.

“That’s it?” he asked, looking at the nugget.

“Yup,” I said.

“Is it okay if I weigh it?” he asked, reaching under his bed.

Ah, fuck, I thought. Now I have to go through this whole thing.

“I really don’t care,” I answered, watching him pull out a gas station scale.

He weighed the whole thing. Bag and all. And he nodded. I stifled a smile.

“Okay,” he said. “$20?”

“Yup,” I said.

He pulled out crisp, fresh-from-the-ATM bill. I wondered if his parents knew how their darling boy was spending their money while he was away at school. I would get to keep half. It hardly seemed worth it.

Even if I could sell him nothing but seeds and stems, it wasn’t worth another afternoon pretending to care about his CD collection.

“Want to stay and smoke a little?” he asked, gesturing at plastic bong, crusted with residue.

“Sorry, I have other drops to make,” I lied.

“Cool, well…” he began as he sat forward on a bed covered in flannel sheets that I’m positive had not been washed all year, “I’ve got your number. So… can I call you some time? Maybe we can go out?”

“I’m a lesbian,” I halfway lied.

“Oh, sorry,” he said. “Well, thanks!”

Leaving his apartment, I texted my friend who’d set up the deal.

“He hit on me,” I told him.

“Really?” he asked. “That’s never happened to me.”

No shit.

I saw the kid around campus many times, at least twice at parties with my boyfriend. I always acted as though I didn’t know him, and whenever he texted me for a bag, I would say I was dry. Even if I could sell him nothing but seeds and stems, it wasn’t worth another afternoon pretending to care about his CD collection.

That was another lesson I learned from my first time selling weed: some things aren’t worth the money.


This article was first published at www.medium.com


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2Face tasks Nigerian youth on nation building

The fun city of Jos was thrown into huge fun party when the 3rd edition of 2Face’s Jos Chillin’ Mega Fiesta train came calling penultimate Saturday.

In its third Season, the concert came complete with a fresh dimension as it showcased the on-going social re-engineering campaign, tagged ‘Power of 1’; a campaign championed by afro-pop music legend, 2Face idibia, challenging young Nigerians to embrace the responsibility of fixing Nigeria one challenge at a time.

Highpoints of the concert was 2Face’s’s inspiring Power of 1 message urging the crowd to take their destinies in their own hands.

Headline acts, 2Face, Falz, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Alexx Ekubo, Mr Real and Osama leading a host of J-City acts added colour to the concert which took place at Mees Palace.

Supported by the 2Baba Foundation, One Voice Nigeria, Enough is Enough, and Vote Not Fight, ‘Power of 1’ is driven through concerts, road shows and a movie of the same title directed by Izu Ojukwu starring Ramsey Nouah, Alexx Ekubo, Annie Idibia, Jibola Dabo, Jide Kosoko, Racheal Oniga, Michelle Dede, Padita Agu and many more.

Proceedings began with opening acts, Lucky Stars Band, Richy Roo, Mad Dragon All-stars, Lyrical Dr Smith and Classiq whose set created uproar when MI Abaga made a surprise appearance.

Source Vanguard Nigeria

Support SA youth to launch their tech careers

By Darryl Linington

In December 2018 at the CapaCiTi campus in Salt River, Cape Town, 340 young South Africans completed their technical training and received their certificates. They are now ready to be placed within tech internships in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

CapaCiTi, the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi)’s Tech Career Accelerator, has been preparing young people for the tech sector for 8 years. The organisation’s aim is to support both youth and business in the hubs of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Now, CapaCiTi is inviting SA businesses to interview these ambitious future tech professionals for an internship – to begin work as soon as possible.

With SA’s youth unemployment skyrocketing, CapaCiTi seeks to leverage growing opportunities in the tech sector by providing key technology skills. Indeed, CapaCiTi’s programmes are essentially accelerated career pathways for previously unemployed youth. Key to the initiative’s success, however, is the commitment by SA businesses to create internship opportunities for youth. Such opportunities are urgently required in order for young professionals to apply and grow their technical skills and confidence in the workplace. In turn, organisations are able to access temporary tech support for their teams and projects, which is particularly valuable at the start of a year.

“This year, CapaCiTi is proud to have equipped several hundred SA youth with the relevant training and coaching they need to accelerate their careers into the tech sector. We’re calling on South African businesses to support our future talent on the next six months of their journey, helping them to apply and build their skills and confidence and contribute to the digital economy. They’re ambitious, tenacious, and will add huge value to your teams as you kick off 2019. These young people are the future of South Africa’s tech sector, let’s all join together to help them start their journey towards a successful career that will be life-changing,” states Fiona Tabraham, Acting Head of Skills Development, CiTi.

Since 2010, CapaCiTi has partnered with close to 150 leading organisations to hire interns and graduates. Corporates such as Media24, BCX and Absa have been strong supporters of interns and grads from the Accelerator, as well as a growing list of SAAS businesses and digital agencies.

“Absa has had tremendous success with the talented young people from CapaCiTi’s programmes. Since 2016, we’ve taken on 55 talented interns, and 16 going on to full-time employment with Absa, which we are looking to scale up significantly with CapaCiTi over the next few years. Their aptitude, attitude and aspiration has blown us away! They are hard-working, passionate about technology and creative, with the maturity to negotiate the trickiness of working in teams, as well as rise to the challenge when we put them in leadership positions,” states Alwyn van Wyk, Head of Cape Town Dev Shop, Absa.

The Interns:

CapaCiTi had a large group of youth completing programmes in December 2018, who are ready to join business teams in January. These young people were all unemployed or under-employed when entering the programmes, and have now completed an intensive programme in a technical discipline relevant to skills in-demand in the tech sector. Importantly, they received coaching and skills training to prepare them for the 2019 workplace – critical and creative thinking, collaboration, presentation, etc.

These ambitious young people are now ready to apply and amplify their knowledge during a 6-month internship, to gain the experience they need to land a tech job.

What they’ve learnt:

CapaCiTi’s programmes run from 9 to 12 months and are designed for matrics and graduates looking to start a career in IT.

  • The interns available to start in January 2019 in Cape Town and Johannesburg have completed an intensive training programme in the following:
  • Software Engineering – Trained in Java, Python [CPT & JHB]
  • Full-Stack Development – Trained in Full Stack Mobile Dev, Net, JavaScript, PHP, Android [CPT]
  • Java Development – Trained in Java, JavaScript [CPT & JHB]
  • Software Development (postgrad) – Trained Post Graduates with Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP and MY SQL Databases [CPT]
  • CISCO Security –Trained and certified as a Cisco Network Security Associate [JHB]
  • ICT Infrastructure – Trained in IT Essentials, Routing and Switching, Linux Fundamentals, CCNA [CPT]

Company Hosts:

As a host, you will help cement the youth of South Africa’s futures in the business world.

Hosts will accommodate the trainees in their respective offices with access to a computer and involve them in work that allows them to grow their technical experience.

Hosts are required to pay a stipend to support their interns with transport and living costs.

Company Benefit:

Interns can support your teams with existing or new projects with data capture, database management, analysis, software testing, software development to administration, help-desk management. What’s important is that they are exposed to technical projects, team-work and ways of working that build their confidence and knowledge.

Join CiTi in supporting young South Africans to positively shape their future:

As a company partner to CiTi, allow these ambitious, motivated interns to contribute to your teams, and projects, where you need it most.

Help support South Africa’s youth to change their future by hiring talented tech interns for your team.

To register your company’s interest in interviewing CapaCiTi interns or grads, please visit http://www.citi.org.za or email hire@capaciti.org.za. Please indicate whether you are in Johannesburg or Cape Town, and the focus of your business.

Source It News Africa

SA: Work experience shouldn’t be required for youth employment – Ramaphosa

By African News Agency

Ramaphosa also called the ANC Youth League a ‘defensive shield’ for the governing party, adding they must be ‘storm troopers for non-racialism and non-sexism’.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told a crowd of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) members today that work experience should not be a requirement for young people when applying for employment.

“Experience must not be a requirement that is used for young people to get jobs. I use the argument, which is quite logical, if we say you must have experience, where are you going to get that experience?” said Ramaphosa.

He said he would “do away with” the notion that experience was essential in the public sector and would push the private sector to follow suit.

Ramaphosa was speaking in Durban at a youth rally in honour of Peter Mokaba, who was the first youth league president after the unbanning of the ANC. Mokaba would have celebrated his 60th birthday on January 7, had he lived. He died in 2002 when he was 43 years old.

Mokaba gained international notoriety for using the slogan “kill the boer, kill the farmer” and for denying the existence of HIV.

He was appointed a deputy minister of environmental affairs and tourism by former president Nelson Mandela and was thrice voted a member of the ANC’s national executive committee. He is widely regarded as a national hero amongst many of the country’s youth for his militant stance against apartheid, for which he was imprisoned.

Ramaphosa said Mokaba embodied the values that the youth should espouse. Mokaba was a hero of his generation because he “immersed himself heart and soul into the struggle for the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa”.

Mokaba should also be used as a mirror for the youth, said Ramaphosa, as he was not scared to raise difficult questions about the direction in which the ANC and youth league were moving.

Ramaphosa said that while the youth league was autonomous, it was still part of the mother body and should be radical in generating new ideas.

“It must be militant in terms of agitating for those ideas and must always remain true to the principles of the ANC. You as the youth league must have the courage to defend the principles of the ANC at all times and advance its principles even when the environment seems hostile,” he said.

Ramaphosa called the youth league a “defensive shield” for the governing party.

“The youth league should be the storm troopers for non-racialism and non-sexism as we continue with the building of a national democratic society.”

He lauded the league for “raising the land question early on” and for fighting for free education.

“The government has had to follow behind you and say ‘yes, we will find the means’”, said Ramaphosa, adding that it had been difficult to source the money to fund free education for those from poor families.

He also commended the league for fighting for economic emancipation and said that 20 percent of those nominated onto party lists for the upcoming national election were youth.

“We have made sure young people will have 20 percent representation in parliament and legislature. It’s a start and it will keep rising,” he said.

Source ANA

A Message For Those Feeling Lost In Their 20s

By Gary Vaynerchuk

Society puts a lot of pressure on people in their 20s to “figure out” their lives.

The reality is, most 57-year-olds don’t even have their lives figured out. There’s no reason to put pressure on yourself so early in the process.

Here are a few things to remember as you’re navigating life in your 20s:

1. Take The Biggest Risks Of Your Life.

Going “conservative” in your 20s is something you really, really should debate. Especially if you aren’t in debt.

When you’re this young, the number one thing you should focus on is executing on the most high risk behaviors of your life.

The biggest reason that so many people become unhappy is that they play life in “reverse.” They go for the safe and practical job right out of school, and they buy expensive stuff to impress their parents and friends. Then, it becomes less practical to quit their job because they’re “chained down” with expenses.

Instead, make high risk moves around the thing that will make you the happiest.

This is exactly when you should go live in Bali for a year. This is exactly when you should try and become Beyonce.

This is exactly when you go on the “offense.”

2. Don’t be Afraid to Take a $12 / Hour Job Over a $25k / Year Job.

I’m a big believer in working for cheap (or free) for the person you want to try and become.

Getting “closest to the sun” is where all the leverage is.

Here’s what I mean by that:

If you go and work for someone you admire and do an incredible job, they could “put you on” and change the course of your entire career. For example… if you admire Alex Rodriguez or Chance the Rapper and you had the chance to run their social media for $12 / hour, there’s no question that would be be better than a job that pays $52,000.

Imagine what it would be like to be known as the guy or girl behind A-Rod’s social or Chance the Rapper’s videos.

Be humble, patient, strategic, and stop caring what your living situation looks like to people “on the outside.” You’ll set yourself up for an incredible future.

3. Do it Because You Enjoy the Process Not Because You’re Chasing Results.

When I look for talent, I’m obsessed with finding people who love the process — not the stuff that the game “buys” you.

If you’re focused on the cars, the shoes, and “posturing” to your friends, you’re finished. If you’re building a business or navigating your career based on what’s going to get you the off-whites, private planes, spa treatments, or jewelry, you’re not going to have a long career.

So many people in their 20s are taking jobs that pay a few thousand dollars more just so they can buy more stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have empathy for people in debt. But a lot of people are taking these jobs because they’re trying to live up to the expectations of their parents and friends.

I look for people who “can’t breathe” if they’re not doing their art because those are the people who are going to win long term. For me, business is my art. For you, it might be design, performing on stage, or something else.

Whatever it is, be that person who’s obsessed with their craft and would be doing it for “free” no matter what.

4. Don’t Stress About Finding the Answer “What Should I Do With My Life?”

If you don’t know what that “craft” is yet, that’s okay.

It blows me away how much pressure we put on people in their 20s and early 30s to have their entire lives figured out.

Of course you don’t know what you want to do yet — you haven’t even lived yet!

Now’s the time to be massively risk-oriented and try everything you want to try. There’s no “wrong” move you can make. If you genuinely want to spend every minute working like I did, great. If you want to travel to Bali or work in a vineyard in Tasmania, great.

Now is the time to go have different experiences and try different jobs until you find one you like.

5. Stand Up to the People You Love and Have Tough Conversations.

If there’s one piece of advice you take away from this article, it would be this:

Have the conversations you need to have with the people you’re closest to.

Tell them the truth. Tell them how you feel about everything — about what you want to do, where you want to work, your insecurities, how you feel about their expectations, and everything else.

It will absolutely change your life. Even if they get angry and react poorly, their level of respect for you will be enormous.

It saddens me that so many people allow the opinions of their parents and their friends to hold them back in their careers, or worse, push them to make decisions that have terrible long term consequences (like taking on massive debt).

If you don’t have the tough conversation with them now, you’ll resent them in the long term because you lived your life for them and not yourself.

6. Stop Debating. Start Executing.

I implore you to not worry about the current judgement being deployed on you.

One of the biggest reasons I’m happy and can navigate my life so quickly is because I believe in one thing more than anything else:

The truth will play out in the end.

It’s not that I’m right or will be right, it’s that the truth plays out regardless. It’s pointless try to prove those around you wrong with your words.

Stay patient, and do it with your actions.

Wish more people in their 20s understood this message. Share this article on Twitter if you got value from it!

This article was first published on Medium

You Can’t Be Normal, My Advice To African Youths.

By Jumanne Rajabu

Is it 99th or 100th? A question coming from the World Champion during his routine exercise. The trainer asked him, does it matter? It’s just one extra push-up you can always do it the next day. The World Champion look at the trainer and told him, that is the difference between World Champion and a normal fighter.

The lessons from this short story;

  1. Pushing to the limits, you have to break yourself before you start making yourself. If you can’t reach the breaking point, you haven’t reached anywhere. That extra push-up equals to; that extra research you do, that extra risk you take. that extra time you put, that extra sacrifice your offer etc. We are always ready to offer some of it or most of it but not ready to offer all. Champions offer all, they don’t shake, they don’t brink. They stay focused and determined. They wear it, they eat it and they live it.
  2. You can’t be normal, normal is for everyone, normal is for good ones, normal is for better but you always need to be at your best. You need to put your “A” game every time you have to; pitch your product; present your company, close an important deal or creating a first impression. Successful people are not normal, they don’t enjoy normal; They work double the time of opponents, they invest twice smarter and they spent time developing extraordinary abilities in their own fields; think of greatest footballers, musicians, leaders, and parents. They are not normal. They have that extra push-up.

If you live for the action you don’t settle for anything less. Most people are okay with the initial success. They relaxed and lose focus. They either remain at the same stage for years or they die. Those are the only options for “Normals”. You can’t afford to be normal if you want to be the best at what you do.

Normals are not innovative, normals are not leaders, normals are okay with the current situation and don’t want to improve. Normal hates when other people improve because they are normals. You have to push it, push it to the limit, with discipline and commitment and pray for luck. Luck doesn’t come to normals, it comes to those who are moving to become the best.

Why was I motivated to write this article? I’m coming from reviewing 54 startup companies submitted their business for an opportunity to receive investment. Going through the applications you see a lot of normals. Some have great business ideas without business models, some have great products without proper branding strategy, some have great pitch without the actual businesses. 95 percent of them couldn’t put that extra push-up to get themselves to be the best. You can’t be the best if you want to be normal. You can’t be the best if you are not prepared to be.

You always provide excuses and promise yourself to do the extra push up tomorrow. Tomorrow is for normals.

Appreciation

  • Brian Paul | Four years ago you told me the story of the World Champion.
  • My Team | For pushing yourself to the limits.

This article was first published on Medium