The Vermont Cynic

Women dealers change weed culture

Autumn Lee, Staff Writer

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One UVM student is out to change the stoner stereotype from bong-ripping bros to be more friendly towards women.

Olive, a pseudonym, first sold psychedelics when she came to UVM, then began selling weed when she realized she could smoke for free, she said.

She has since stopped smoking because it made her anxious and introspective in social situations. She found she liked the clarity and appreciation that came with being sober, she said.

“It took me out of the present moment, but I still love weed. The smell, the look of it and everything except getting high,” Olive said.

In many ways Olive isn’t a typical drug dealer. She puts stickers on every bag of drugs she sells and asks customers about their day, she said.

“It catches people off guard,” she said.

Her gender also throws people off.

Olive said that people are sometimes surprised to find out she was a woman.

Some look over her shoulder when she is weighing, something that she says probably wouldn’t happen if she was a man.

Sophomore Luke Belleville, who buys weed from Olive, said he sees no difference between his female and male dealers.

“My perception of weed dealers was that they’d be like the ones you saw on TV,” Belleville said. “Tough, kind of twitchy, overall just sketchy people and definitely male.

“I can’t off the top of my head even now think of a female drug dealer on TV.”

But those perceptions were challenged when he came to UVM, he said.

“I’ve recently met a couple of female drug dealers, which I guess didn’t faze me too much,” he said. “[They] have all been the nicest people and care whether you had a good time with their product.”

Olive likes to talk to people about using the drug, especially psychedelics, before selling it to them, she said.

“I honestly care about the people I sell to,” she said.

Once a boy called her on the phone to tell her he was in the hall having a breakdown after he left her room, she said.

Olive sat on the floor and talked with him while he worked through the bad trip, she said.

“I think weed is on its way to being accepted on the same level as alcohol,” Belleville said. “I can only hope that men and women will have equal places in the industry.”

According to the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, 53 percent of cannabis users in 2017 were women and 42 percent were men.

With more states legalizing weed, it seems to be more normalized in the U.S. According to a Jan. 5 Pew Research poll, 61 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

Weed tampons and weed-themed weddings are a part of the growing cannabis culture.

According to a Jan. 31 CNN article, the marijuana industry is worth $11 billion. Nine states in the U.S. allow recreational use, including Vermont.

The law which legalizes use for Vermonters ages 21 and up, will take effect July 1.

Groups like Women Grow encourage the participation of women in the industry.

The for-profit organization works to demonstrate how women in the weed industry are finding empowerment as business leaders, their website states.

On the other hand, as students who are often under 21 at a college with a no-drug policy, buying and smoking weed can be scary business, Belleville said.

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Women dealers change weed culture