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E. speaking to Ynet from behind a mask to hide his identity
Photo: Hagai Dekel
E. speaking to Ynet from behind a mask to hide his identity

Weed sellers see spike in demand as Israelis deal with coronavirus crisis

Veteran drug dealer 'E.' says sales increased by 30-40% when buyers stocked up as lockdown loomed, warns cannabis will continue to be sold on black market until it is legalized

Attila Somfalvi |
Published: 04.23.20, 17:21
A cannabis dealer who sells his produce through the Telegram encrypted instant messaging app says there has been a significant increase in Israeli demand during the coronavirus crisis.
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  • "There has been a sharp 30-40% increase in sales, especially in the last three weeks," the dealer, who identifies himself by the initial "E," tells Ynet.
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    E. speaking to Ynet from behind a mask to hide his identity
    (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
    "Once people realized there was going to be some kind of prolonged closure and no idea when it would be lifted, we saw something similar to what happened with the egg shortage - customers started buying large amounts and stocking up," he says.
    "There is plenty for everyone. Greenhouses are working at full capacity, and because our chain of production isn't subject to orders and regulations everything carries on as usual."
    E. also points out that dealers have found creative ways to deliver their goods to their customers in days of increased police presence on Israeli roads and social distancing.
    "Whoever could got themselves an essential worker's permit, which is also not that difficult to forge, and you've probably seen many of the dealers moving around in Wolt or 10bis [food delivery services] gear," says E.
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    A drug courier dressed in a Wolt uniform
    "We were actually thinking of using Kickstarter for another start-up that would bringing your munchies [food] together with the green, but the interest wasn't great."
    E. says that as cannabis production is nearly unaffected by travel restrictions and supply remains high, the cost of marijuana has been largely static during the crisis.
    "The prices haven't really changed since there is so much supply nowadays," he says.
    "The prices of premium quality cannabis may have gone up - but most people have started running low on cash. So, what you see is that growers raise prices and the dealers give out discounts that are off set by increased sales."
    E. says he is not afraid to continue working in the job he has had for a decade and that the cannabis black market will continue until the plant is legalized in Israel.
    "I hope we'll have legalization here soon, but until that happens there is demand and there is supply and it will always be that way."
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