Christian Vaccaro, sociologist and research associate at the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, together with Vendula Belakova have published their article “‘A Friend with Weed is a Friend Indeed’: Understanding the Relationship between Friendship Identity and Market Relations among Marijuana Users” in the Journal of Drug Issues.
Vaccaro and Belakova’s article is based on recent studies which document the increased role of friendship between marijuana users and retailers in areas with strict drug policies. In the article, Vaccaro and Belakova explore the idea of friendship in this specific drug culture using data from semi-structured interviews with 44 marijuana users and retailers.
According to the data, many participants defined friendship in this drug culture by expressing the expectation that marijuana would be shared among friends and that, at some point, this would be reciprocated. The definitions also included introductions to marijuana dealers, and these marijuana dealers were referred to as “friends” as well. Vaccaro and Belakova point out in the article that the expectations of these friendships serve to sustain the distribution chain as well as provide protection for marijuana users.
The article was published February 11, 2013, and can be found at “A Friend with Weed is a Friend Indeed.”