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How to Deal Pot in Prison

ChapSticks play an important role in distributing weed behind bars, prisoners tell The Fix.


"That'll be one sweatsuit and a watch."
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By Seth Ferranti


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Smoking pot is one way many prisoners pass the time. "I like to get stoned every day," an inmate tells The Fix. "It makes my day go by and mellows me out so I don't feel like killing one of these motherfuckers." Prisoners use all kinds of creative tactics to get the drug inside, but that's just the first step: It then needs to be distributed to consumers. Dealers often use caps from ChapStick containers as ideal tools for measuring out the weed. "A cap makes about four skinny joints—and I mean super-skinny," the inmate explains. "Each joint lasts for about four or five hits." After it's measured out, the weed is deposited in a folded up and taped in a piece of paper—usually from the corner of an envelope. "If you got an ounce of marijuana you can get like 60 caps of weed out of it," he tells us. "They sell for $25 each or five caps for a $100 send-in. The way it breaks down is you can get at least $1,200 for an ounce. But if you do get send-outs to cover your people's expenses for the cost of the weed and the visit, you can get a lot more in commissary and keep your locker stocked while smoking the bud up and staying stoned. It’s a good move."

To pay for their goods, cash-strapped prisoners will often barter with items bought from the commissary (prison store), like books of stamps (valued at $6 for 20), shoes, watches, mp3 players, radios, sweatsuits and more. "Everything is currency in prison," says the inmate. "I get my girl to bring me something on the VI once every couple of months and it pays for the weed and her visit, and keeps me high and prison-rich."

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