Dealing in the dorms: Student reflects on experience drug dealing

Henry Netherland

Editor’s Note: Some subjects who are quoted in this article will remain anonymous due to the illegality of their actions described in the article. 

It’s late at night. You’re walking home, and a man appears out of the shadows, offering you some drugs. You refuse. He offers again. This time, more persistently. Attempting to avoid conflict, you give in and take a puff. 


When most people hear the words “drug dealer,” they imagine a scenario similar to the one above. However, a former drug dealer at Colorado State University says the reality is much different from the nightmare-inducing fantasies created by parents, teachers and popular culture. 

He first smoked marijuana with a friend when he was 15. It was the first time smoking for both of them, and there were a few setbacks.

“We didn’t break anything up,” he said. “We just set the nug on fucking fire. But then we realized that we needed to make a pipe, so we made it out of a can. … Looking back at it now, I’m like, ‘that’s horrible.'”

He began selling drugs almost accidentally. He did not officially begin until November 2016 in Newsom Hall, a dormitory at CSU. Before that, he was acting as an intermediary between a distributor and their customers.

“It started out with me being like, ‘Well, I know this guy, and I can get you this because I know this guy,’” he said. “And so it started out sort of like a middleman business almost. The entire time I was selling drugs, I called myself a professional middleman. I didn’t like the term ‘drug dealer.’”

Once he realized he was taking all of the risk and none of the reward, he decided to capitalize on the situation and started buying high quantities of marijuana and charging customers. He acquired his supply by going down to Denver with a friend who had a medical card. They would purchase mass quantities of weed at a discount.

CSU’s Director of Student Conduct Services, Melissa Emmerson, said this behavior is punishable by the University. 

“Dealing drugs on campus would be considered a serious violation of the Student Conduct Code as it compromises the well-being and safety of the entire residence hall community,” Emmerson said in an email to the Collegian. “A student found responsible for distributing drugs and violating the law would likely be facing a high-level sanction such as suspension from CSU.”

During his time as a dealer on campus, he accepted the risk of being caught and facing harsh consequences. For him, it was worth it. Considering the harsh punishment enacted on drug dealers, especially ones dealing out of a dorm room, it is easily assumed that the job is stressful. He said the experience was just the opposite.

“It was very lax because the way that I went about it was that I didn’t view it as a scary situation,” he said. “You see that shit on TV, and it’s like, ‘Oh, everyone’s out to get everybody,’ but in reality some people are just trying to get high, dude.”


“It was very lax because the way that I went about it was that I didn’t view it as a scary situation,” he said. “You see that shit on TV, and it’s like, ‘Oh, everyone’s out to get everybody,’ but in reality some people are just trying to get high, dude.”

One of his former customers liked that he dealt out of his dorm room.

“I’d say that since I was buying from a friend, it really didn’t feel any different from the exact same experience happening outside of the dorms,” the customer said. “If you keep your stash in the dorms as is, I feel like it’s nothing more than just convenient to sell in the dorms as opposed to walking off campus to do it.”

Although rare, there were moments when he felt he was going to be caught. Once after deciding to germinate some leftover seeds, he had a close encounter with his resident assistant.

“My RA actually knocked on my door one time and was like, ‘Hey man, you growing weed in here?’ and I was like, ‘Uh, no,'” he said. “I was terrified that he knew, but he was just fucking with me. And it scared the living hell out of me.”

He said the main reason he was successful and never got caught was because he exclusively sold to people he already knew he could trust. 

He primarily sold marijuana; however, he also sold various narcotics. When he could access them, he sold dabs, concentrates, molly, psychedelic mushrooms, acid, Adderall, dextromethorphan and promethazine. He only sold marijuana and mushrooms regularly. He got his supply for the other drugs through his connections as a horticulture major.

Before coming to CSU, he only smoked once a month. By the end of his freshman year, he said he was smoking six to seven times a day. Now, he has heavily cut down on smoking to focus more on school.

Looking back on his experience as a dealer, he said he has no regrets. In the seven months he was a dealer, he estimates he made a total profit of around $3,000. He also enjoyed the numerous friendships he made through his business.

“I think that everybody needs to have a really good first year,” he said. “And I think I had a really good first year.” 

According to a study conducted at the University of Michigan, daily use of marijuana by college students is the highest it has been in 30 years. 

Collegian reporter Henry Netherland can be reached at or on Twitter @NetherlandHenry.