Author's Note & Preface

Author’s note

This is a work of fiction, inspired by truth.

In real life, there is a person like Huey Carmichael. He keeps rules. I knew this person for a while before I learned about his other life.

The real Huey knows more than a thing or two about the weed business. The part about him always having a square job is also true. There are some employers who would be shocked to learn that one of their own has a hobby this extensive.

I should say, had. Huey is out of the game now.

Many of the observations and thoughts described in here are real. Everything else is fictionalized. We wanted to preserve his voice and point of view without delving too deeply into real events. Any resemblance to real people in this story is coincidental.

– Matt Taibbi 


You gotta have a code.

There has to be stuff you won’t do. Like: I won’t sell anything that doesn’t grow out of the ground. If you make it in a lab or a trailer that might explode, I don’t want shit to do with it.

Most dealers, no joke, learn their jobs from movies. They watch and re-watch Paid in Full or Blow or The Wire or New Jack City or a half-dozen other films. Now with Netflix there’s more, from Ozark to Justified to Narcos. There's some influence from music, too, from songs like "Ten Crack Commandments” by Biggie, to others by the Berner, Young Dolph, Cyhi The Prince, and even Jay-Z.

But when I was younger, there was almost nothing for guidance. And this bothered me. I thought, “There has to be a better way to learn this game.”

So I made it my business to create rules. I kept them all in my head, hundreds of them, but added to and tweaked them over the years.

I’m only writing them down now.

Like: Get your money and get out. Time is not on your side. Sooner or later, your run is going to end. You’ll be dead or in jail, as the cliché goes.

You have to be perfect 100% of the time. The police only have to get lucky once.

They weren’t lucky with me.

I got out.


Chapter One of The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing will be published on April 24. Subscribe to follow the whole series. Subscribe before April 24 for the special rate of $30 a year. The price then increases to $40 a year.

Cover art by Timothy McEvenue.