Since the legalization of cannabis in Canada, there have been tremendous growing pains within the legal cannabis supply chain. The growing pains have a direct relationship to government mismanagement and controls that were implemented to keep heavy-handed control over the market.
Legal Cannabis in Canada has Meant High-Cost Low-Quality Cannabis Products
The rules and laws that were created to control and regulate the legal cannabis market have developed unexpected consequences that have led to a larger and healthier back-market for cannabis. Why are people resistant to legal marijuana through the approved channels? Several issues come together to create a perfect storm for the legal cannabis market.
- lack of options
- privacy concerns
Why Aren’t Producers Growing Quality Cannabis?
To get high-quality cannabis products, you need a pharmaceutical grade CBD oil producer. Unfortunately for cannabis users, when the government took control of this market, they handed the keys to the kingdom to large corporations. Between backroom bribes and expensive to follow regulations, family-run and small craft growers couldn’t afford the initial cost of setup in the legal market.
In Ontario, for example, users can access legal cannabis online via the Ontario Cannabis Store (ocs.ca) or from licensed, approved local dispensaries. The cannabis available from these options was grown by one of the corporate mega grows shielded from view of its customers.
What happens inside corporate cannabis grows, stays inside the corporate cannabis grow. Growing cannabis indoors in large rooms with limited plant tending leads to a list of issues such as:
- need for pesticides
- need for herbicides
What does corporate cannabis do to improve the quality of their crops? They use options such as radiation to kill mold and mildew that has contaminated the plants, herbicides, and pesticides to control pests and dangerous molds, and who knows what else.
Instead of providing the needed amount of manpower to properly tend to plants, which by the way, is exceptionally time-consuming, they allow their crops to grow in less than acceptable conditions which creates less than adequate cannabis products.
A stranglehold on the market causes less choice for consumers
With so few approved growers providing products to the consumer market, there is no coverage for unique products, or motivation to invest in new products because of the lack of competition. Each of the corporate weed giants provides only a handful of strains, leaving consumers desperate for more options.
Better Options for Cannabis Products Are Available
So, what does the average dedicated cannabis user do when faced with high priced, low-quality cannabis? Pot smokers stick to buying from the black market, which tends to be cheaper, convenient, and provide decent quality cannabis.
While black market weed can be good quality, there isn’t going to be consistency in the product you can access. There is no testing for THC content or contaminants. You may pay much less for your cannabis, but you have no control over what is in your bud. I find that most black-market cannabis is still better overall than corporate weed. When you go see your dealer, he isn’t going to be able to offer you more than a couple of strains and certainly won’t be able to supply safe edibles or concentrates.
The average cost of cannabis on each market:
- CA – 1 ounce of Blue Dream Sativa (stated potency 13% to 27% THC) $260 or $9.28 per gram
- Black Market – 1 ounce of unknown Sativa (no potency estimate provided) $180 or $6.42 per gram.
- My Favorite Online Dispensary – 1 once Blue Dream Sativa (THC content tested at 22%) $200 or $7.15 per gram.
The black market is the cheapest option, but as a customer, you don’t know the potency, the quality, if it contains contaminants such as pesticides, or has multiple product options.
Next, if using my favorite dispensary, I received a reasonable price, measured THC content, detailed descriptions, a large selection, and high-quality product supported by independent user reviews. To me, paying a little more per gram for more product selections, higher-quality, contaminant-free products, and safe and secure ordering online is a no-brainer. The difference between BC online Bud and black-market bud is less than $1.50 per gram.
The most expensive option is ordering from OCS.ca, costing more than $3.00 more per gram. Essentially you are paying a premium for less selection, lower quality cannabis products that may or may not contain contaminants and could have an extensive range of THC concentrations depending on the crop. The OCS store could provide a customer supported quality rating system to help customers, but of course, they don’t accept user reviews because the reviews would be negative.
Why Order Online from British Colombia Dispensaries?
The legal cannabis market has been maturing in British Colombia for over a decade. The right mix of regulation, competition, and product knowledge has evolved over time into a supply chain that encourages product quality and product development.
Growers in British Colombia have already figured out how to scale their business without hurting the quality of their products. There are no product restrictions when buying online from BC, meaning no shortages of edibles and access to concentrates. These factors have built large followings of happy customers all over Canada, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be taking advantage of this mature cannabis market too.
Misconceptions About Buying Weed Products Online
As consumers, you might be resistant to the idea of buying cannabis online. After all, you are sending money to an unknown online site, and the internet is full of scams. You also might be worried that having cannabis sent in the mail is risky or could lead to legal issues, and who wants the police showing up to their door holding your shipment of cannabis? Those worries are mostly unfounded. I’ve been purchasing cannabis online from BC for over 10 years and have never had an issue of an order being confiscated or some sort of legal problem.
What you may perceive as a risky situation, in fact, doesn’t carry any risks if you are dealing with a reputable online dispensary. I know you’re thinking, how do I find a reliable, safe online dispensary? Finding the right online dispensary is easy in 2020, as several websites are testing and reviewing online dispensaries and their products to provide independent, honest reviews of the good bad and ugly of the cannabis mark place.
More Reasons to Use Online Dispensaries from BC
All of the higher-rated online dispensaries provide access to knowledgeable budtenders who can answer most questions you can ask about the cannabis products you are considering. Access to customer service is generally offered by phone, email, or my favorite, instant online chat session. Any issue or question I’ve ever had about a purchase has always been answered or dealt with quickly.
Online dispensaries in Canada have become competitive due to the significant increase in online competition, which forces dispensaries to provide better products, better service, more selection, and better prices to retain customers. You can access just about any strain or product you are looking for and price shop to get even better prices. Sign up to a few newsletters from dispensaries that you like to receive coupon codes for discounts. Most weekends, at least one dispensary I follow has some sort of significant promotion like 20% off or get something for free.
You might be thinking that ordering online takes too much time with shipping. While it does take an average of 2-3 business days for your package to arrive in Ontario from BC, it takes the same amount of time from the Ontario Cannabis Store if you don’t pay the extra $12.17 +HST for fast shipping (available only in large cities).
Good online dispensaries provide free shipping on orders over $99 to $200 depending on the shop, with the average spend requirement being $149.00 for free shipping. At OCS, shipping starts at $5.65 +HST, and no free shipping is available at any spend.
Of course, if you aren’t a planner and need access to cannabis the same day, your black-market dealer can be the same day, most of the time. Of course, dealers are known for not being reliable.
Privacy and Security Concerns
If you have privacy concerns about providing personal information to an online dispensary, you don’t need to worry. Dispensaries always strive to protect customer privacy, and without that commitment, I wouldn’t risk sharing my information either. Dispensaries generally require you to email a picture of your driver’s license to prove that you are of age. As images, your id can’t be entered into a database but remains as a static image in your file. The dispensary will also need your address for the shipment, but that is it.
If you’ve ever tried to make a purchase at OCS, you’ll know that they are collecting all the information about you; they even scan in the data from the image of your driver’s license. OCS is also a large government institution, which means they are targets of hackers. In contrast, small independent dispensaries don’t hold enough customer data to make it worth their while to hack.
If you purchase from a reviewed online dispensary, you won’t run into any security or payment fraud issues. Currently, online dispensaries cannot accept credit cards due to ridiculous banking laws in Canada. Customers shopping online will likely have to make payment via an email bank transfer. This is a straightforward process and has no transaction free. Just order through your selected online dispensary and complete your order.
The last step to your purchase will provide you with the email, order number, and security question answer you’ll need to enter into the E-Transfer form in your online banking account. Just fill in the amount to send and enter the email address, question and answer that was provided to you by the dispensary, that’s it. Send it, and you’ll be notified by the dispensary that payment has been received and that your order is being processed. Once the order is shipped, you’ll be notified and receive your tracking number.
It really is a safe and straightforward process to purchase top-quality cannabis products online of you use a reputable cannabis review site to start your dispensary search.