A bowl of medicinal marijuana is displayed in a booth at The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo April 18, 2010 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.
What is it like to be a dealer of medical marijuana in a state that will soon allow its legal sale?
No worries, according to one dealer who talked with NBC New York anonymously, but whom we named "Pat."
"Maybe out of the 30 [people] I deal with a week, maybe New Jersey will recognize one or two of them as qualifying for this program, just because it's so restrictive," Pat told us in an exclusive interview while describing the drug dealing that is still illegal(and because 'Pat' has no interest in opening an Alternative Treatment Center, will still be illegal after the law takes effect).
Implementation of New Jersey's law was just delayed by 90 days this week, so the first medical marijuana is now expected to go on sale early in 2011.
Besides the half dozen categories of patients who may or may not qualify under the new law, Pat described getting "a lot of migraine sufferers... anxiety disorders... Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, people who served in the Vietnam War or more current wars."
Pat admitted to first selling pot to support a recreational use as a teenager, then evolving to medical marijuana sales roughly a decade ago (all of it illegal under current law).
"It's sad that the people who really need it the most are the people who have the hardest time getting it," Pat said.
Pat claimed to have "easily" more than a hundred customers, seeing about 25-30 of them every week with the kind of house calls that doctors no longer make.
In all, Pat estimated there are thousands of fellow dealers of medical marijuana in New Jersey, tens of thousands in New York--all of it, of course, illegal even if for medicinal use(though 'Pat' did admit that many of them likely sell for recreational use as well, while 'Pat' claims to no longer do that).
Where does the marijuana, as well as hashish come from?
"About 75%" from the Tri-State area, according to Pat.
"A common complaint would be it's too strong or too weak," Pat said.
In fact, Pat retails several varieties of pot and hashish while explaining that different people like different strengths.
Among them, a combination of 'Pineapple Train Wreck' and 'Bubba Kush' that Pat showed us and described as "excellent."
There is a risk to all of this. For Pat, there was an admission to being arrested on both possession and sale charges in the past though never serving any jail time.
So why keep taking the risk, especially when Pat claimed to discount or even give away product to truly needy people?
"I feel bad looking patients in the eye and say 'Yeah, I could get that for you, I know you're sick, I know it would make your life better but I'm not gonna risk my ass about it--sorry, go find somebody else,'" 'Pat' explained.
When they pay full price, how much do Pat's patients spend? By the gram, anywhere from $5 or $6 for mid-grade Mexican up to $25 for the premium brands.
One gram normally is enough to roll one joint.