The ubiquitous stench of marijuana makes NYC’s streets stink to high heaven.
And with NYC’s first legal recreational marijuana dispensary opening late last month — and more to come — the haze is no longer confined to neighborhoods popular with night owls. Now it’s ubiquitous on Midtown sidewalks during the morning commute — and annoying 9-to-5’ers.
Matt, 39, a communications manager, said an attack of marijuana smoke followed him as he got off the subway and walked to his office near the Empire State Building just after 9 a.m. Tuesday.
“I was like, ‘What the hell f–k. Nobody has to work today?’ It’s wild … I thought I might see Cheech & Chong,” the Upper East Sider told the Post, declining to give his last name for professional reasons.
The skunky smell also made him unsure that his boss or co-workers would assume he was the one lighting up a joint before work.
“I am aware of that. I don’t need the aroma lingering on my body,” he said. “It feels like all of New York is waking up and baking!”
A police officer stationed near Grand Central Terminal also observed a noticeable upward trend in high-rise buildings and anonymously told the Post, “It’s [coming from] People who go to work, maybe on their way to deal with a terrible boss – smoke a little bit and do the job,” he told the Post.
According to the NYC Department of Health, “Adults may smoke or vape cannabis anywhere tobacco smoking is permitted under smoke-free air laws, with limited exceptions.” Meanwhile, a 2020 survey by the New York City Department of Health found that ” an estimated 6% of adults use cannabis daily or almost daily (20 or more days per month).”
So who do people light up on their way to the office — and are they actually getting their jobs done? The morning rush of pot smokers encountered by The Post said smoking unsupervised helped them ease their work day and allowed them to stay focused and relaxed at work.
“A joint is therapeutic,” Samir, 32, an assistant at a real estate law firm in Midtown near Bryant Park, told The Post before promptly flinging the joint he’d been smoking on Tuesday morning.
He said his day-to-day duties consisted of processing legal documents and assisting the firm’s attorneys.
“It makes me really concentrate. Anything I do, I’ll do right because I’m thinking clearly — I’m not thinking about anything else,” he said.
Similarly, Skye Lorenzo, 21, who handles packages for UPS in Midtown West, said she was more productive if she smoked before starting her busy morning shift.
“It’s a high volume. It can be stressful but we’re getting through it,” Lorenzo, whose job is to sort parcels, scan them and get them into the right trucks before they leave for delivery, told The Post.
She said she lights up as early as 3 a.m. before her shift starts and again at 9 a.m. when she takes a break. However, she never smokes while at work.
“When you’re high, you still go about your work with a calm demeanor,” she said, noting that she made more mistakes on the shifts she’d gone stone-free.
According to the New York Department of Labor, an employer can take action against an employee who uses cannabis in the workplace if he or she “exhibits specific articulate symptoms of impairment” that interfere with their performance or interfere with the “company’s obligation to provide a safe.” and healthy workplace.”
Adam Giladi — who writes creative copy at a marketing startup in the mornings with a hot cup of coffee and a puff from his weed pen — said that nobody in his office seems bothered to oversee Pot at work.
“If I walk in smelling like marijuana, nobody’s going to say anything,” Giladi, 30, from Soho, told The Post last week as he took a few hits before heading to his office, which is conveniently located in the Located near the first state licensed pot store, Housing Works Cannabis Co. at 750 Broadway in NoHo.
But many New Yorkers are fed up with smoking on the streets.
Jeffrey, 38, who lives in Brooklyn and works at a startup, said he’s concerned about the dangers of inhaling secondhand smoke.
“It’s unhealthy, it smells bad and it interrupts what would otherwise be a pleasant experience of being outside,” said Jeffrey, who declined to give his last name to The Post.
But commuters blowing away plumes of smoke didn’t stop Jermaine Hill, 34, a home nurse by day and a security guard by night, who had a leisurely early-morning smoking session outside the Herald Square tube station on Tuesday.
“I’m a wake-and-bake guy,” Hill said. “It’s a wake up call. I work better when I smoke.”
To critics of the practice, he said: “Everything is good for you until you abuse it. If it weren’t useful, we wouldn’t be using it.”