Grinding for Weed

Illustrations by Morgan McMullen

Everyone celebrates April 20th in their own way. Joints, bongs, edibles: take your pick (or don’t at all, we won’t judge!). No matter your fancy, while weed is decriminalized in NYC, it’s still not always the most straightforward to get your hands on. In honor of the 4/20 holiday, we’re sharing a personal essay from one of our community members.



Sitting in a bar in Park Slope the first week I moved here, I was scrolling through my Grindr feed to see who was around (and, depending on the mood, who to meet up with). As I flipped through the profiles – blank, blank, headless torso, hot guy, blank – I slowed and tapped on a name that caught me: “Green Kween.”

“Hey, what’s going on?” I messaged him (sue me for not being creative).

“Good here man – you looking?” was the reply a few minutes later.

“Definitely – what do you have?”

A few messages later, I was paying my tab and heading to a restaurant a few blocks down. I briefly joined Green Kween and his (I presume) boyfriend, shook hands, and was back on my way. Within 20 minutes of starting a conversation, I had the weed I was looking for, in a city where I didn’t know anyone.

Grindr has a spotty reputation both in the gay and straight communities as just a hookup app, and to be fair, it mostly is. Also to be fair, I’ve started all of my longest relationships through Grindr – though those started as hookups, so I’m not sure if that proves my point.

What draws people to Grindr is the anonymity – you can share as much or as little information as you want, allowing your hookups to be as nameless as you want. Unlike Tinder or whatever dating app people are using, Grindr doesn’t require names, photos, real emails, or any other verification. For closeted guys (or other people with reason to hide), not having to share any information — particularly your name — makes anonymity more than just intriguing. As Rebecca Bunch would say, “Why won’t we just call each other baby? It would be simpler.”

The same goes when looking for green – generally, the less you and the dealer know about each other, the better it is for both parties. When in a new city, it can be difficult to find a connect. Similarly, for dealers, it can be difficult to build a customer base without putting yourself way out there. For gay guys (or ‘straight’ guys), finding everything is a bit simpler with Grindr – sex, drugs, and, if you’re lucky, a companion. But mostly drugs.

The Green Kween ended up living on the Upper East Side and was just in Park Slope for dinner. I don’t mind traveling, but that distance feels like an adventure, so he wouldn’t work out as a regular connect.

Late one Saturday a few weeks later, I was scrolling through Grindr at Union Pool looking for my next stop, and saw a profile with the familiar green “🌿🍁💨” emojis. I wasn’t looking for weed, but you’ve got to take the opportunity when it’s there. This one was incredibly accommodating; when I messaged him he was already headed to Carroll Gardens, he turned around and came back just to deliver a gram. Where can you get service like that in any legal enterprise?

On my third experience buying weed from Grindr (this one having a conspicuous name and hidden language in his bio to let on), I met who would become my regular dealer. I’ve also met someone kinda special, and made a few friends, and become much more acclimated to the city.

Allowing a space for gay men to discover who they are and that they’re not alone is important. That being said, I’m not here to advocate using Grindr to find drugs, or to find sex, or to find anything else. Most gay men will agree Grindr can have a pretty damaging impact on its users’ self-esteem, and endless pointless conversations, ghosting, and not-message-backs end up being a time suck to feel bad about yourself.

Whenever I start to feel that, I just light up another one. Thanks, ‘4/20 on Deck.’


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