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Ask Anyone

the neighbor's grass

I’m pretty sure that my next-door neighbor is selling pot. When I say “pretty sure,” I mean I’m as certain as a guy who regularly buys and smokes pot can be. I haven’t asked him or anything, because we don’t know each other beyond friendly greetings.

So here’s my dilemma: I don’t really want a drug dealer on my block. I don’t disapprove of marijuana. I use it myself, and so I buy it too, from some other guy in some other neighborhood. And I don’t care how a person makes a living. And he seems like a nice guy who keeps his house well tended. But people who deal drugs attract people who use drugs, and while most of those people are fine, some are nuts. It worries me.

—Pot Meet Kettle

The Gay Perspective: Butt out. You don’t know anything and it’s none of your business. Also, as a dope smoker yourself, you are rather hypocritical, but that’s not what you asked so I won’t mention it.

The Practical Cogitator says: Here’s what I suggest: Tell the guy next door that you know what’s going on. Then advise him to take the storefront somewhere else, out of the neighborhood. After a few days, if the shop is still up and running, either call the police and end it, or opt make a purchase. I bet you’ll get a discount,

So, pal, what’s it gonna be? Are you going to call the cops on your neighbor? Or call your neighbor and cop?

Cut to the Chaser says: Allentowners love the nearby nightlife, but no one wants a noisy bar full of drunks on the corner of his street. People in Clarence love their rural landscape, but they hate the smell of manure from the farms next door.

And you, dear pothead, think the grass would be greener if in only came from the other side of town.

But, like the Gay Perspective, I’m not going to give you a lecture about hypocrisy. (Okay, one more comparison: Notice that the politicians who complain most about federal taxes tend to come from states that benefit most from federal expenditures?) You seem to have a grip on your self-contradictions.

But, unlike the Practical Cogitator, I’m not going to suggest you either start buying weed from your neighbor or blow him in to the cops. Buying from a neighbor is fraught with possible complications: What if someone else on the block is wise to the goings-on in your neighbor’s house and calls the cops, or complains to the block club, or starts a blog dedicated to outing the drug dealer in the neighborhood and all his customers? In the eyes of that whistleblower, you’d be just another shaggy dope fiend contributing to the degradation of the neighborhood.

And I’m not going to urge you to act against your inclination to live and let live by calling the police. Or gossiping with your other neighbors. Or spraypainting a capital P (as in “pusher”) on his front lawn. In my opinion, you’re right to think it’s none of your business how he makes a living. (If it is, then must you also picket the pharmaceutical representative that moved in on the corner? How about the attorney who represents corporate polluters? How about the guy who sells cigarettes in his corner store?) That’s doubly true since you’re a participant in the industry that keeps his house painted, his lawn cut, his garden prim.

So how to alleviate your concern that drug-dealing, no matter how nice the dealer, might attract a criminal or unstable element to the neighborhood? Well, there’s your answer: In your letter, you say you don’t disapprove of pot or those who sell it. You’re just worried about the safety of you and (if you have one) your family. So keep a look out for that dangerous element, whether it is drawn to your nieghborhood by your grass-dealing neighbor, or by random chance, or by some other, more secret activity transpiring elsewhere on the block that you know nothing about. When you see something or someone disturbing, call the cops about that. If that call leads to your neighbor being busted, it’s his own fault for not controlling his business.

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