How to Buy Weed Online Legally
Friday August 7, 2020
W e live in a world where we can get almost anything a heart desires by simply ordering it online and having it delivered straight to our doors. Not so much for the legal cannabis industry, who – through no fault of their own – have had to engage in some workarounds to make purchasing a simpler and more convenient process for consumers.
For example, in legal states, many dispensaries will allow consumers to place orders online, then have it delivered by a third-party service like Eaze or Nugg. How consumers order and pick up cannabis is evolving every day, especially given the new reality of Covid-19. For the time being at least, dispensaries are being granted a little more latitude to keep consumers and workers safe by allowing people to order online or over the phone and pick up curbside. In the midst of such expansion, illegal delivery options (often with dangerous consequences) have expanded as well. How can you find legitimate delivery options? Read on as we explore buying weed online in the changing landscape.
Illegal Online Delivery Is on the Rise
Despite the fact that cannabis is legal for adults to consume in 11 states and Washington D.C., federal prohibition has kept canna-businesses from shipping weed through services like FedEx and UPS. Many people falsely believe that oversight is only enforced through the official United States Postal Service.
Be aware regardless of which service is used, it remains 100% illegal to ship cannabis in the mail.
Nonetheless, consumers continue to seek out and purchase cannabis online. In fact, a 2018 study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine delved into consumers and their online hunt for pot. Using Google, they looked at searches from 2005-2017 containing keywords like “marijuana” and “weed” combined with “buy,” and “order.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, researchers learned that during the 12 years covered by the study, web searches to purchase weed online grew by 199%. They also found that of those combined keywords, 41% of the Google search links led to online retailers.
Issues with Illegal Weed Delivery
In the spirit of research, I did some Google searching of my own to see how easily I could order marijuana online (I do not have access to legal cannabis). The good news is, there are many sites and helpful pop-up chat agents named Tommy Chong ready and willing to answer my questions and help me select my cannabis goods. The bad news? I have no idea who runs these sites, where the cannabis is from, or if I will even get what I order.
Even if some these sites actually shipped cannabis to a non-legal state like mine (which would be illegal and subject to heavy fines and/or incarceration), there are a lot of scammers in the illicit drug market who would be more than happy to take my money and not actually send anything, leaving me with an empty wallet and no weed. For every friend-of-a-friend who claims that it works, the web is full of a dozen more scam stories.
The Right Way to Make Online Cannabis Purchases
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself from getting ripped off – and buying from an anonymous website that will ship questionable products worldwide isn’t one of them. If you live in a legal state and want to order weed online, check your local dispensaries first.
Numerous dispensaries on PotGuide allow you to order online right from their profile. Another great option is to use PotGuide’s delivery directory so you can make sure that the business is the real deal and legally compliant (we take great care vet all the businesses that list on PotGuide). However you find a delivery option, you should always try your best to verify that a business is legally compliant.
Warning Signs and of an Illegal Online Delivery Service
There are some giveaways that will clue you in as to whether a company selling weed online is legit. For example, beware of amateur-looking websites. A quality and legitimate website should have a professional appearance and should be free of rookie mistakes like typos or incongruent language. A licensed service should have a listed (and verifiable) license number. Cost is another factor. Does it seem like it costs a lot more than legal products, or even much less? Will they ship anywhere, even to non-legal states?
The golden rule in these circumstances always comes down to, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
The larger issue about buying weed online is related to your health and well-being. In 2019, vape carts from the illicit market killed 42 people and sickened more than 2,100. With Covid-19 quite literally in the air, knowing where your weed comes from and how you get it is more important than ever.
And last but not least, buying weed online from legal businesses, and not from some stranger you “met” on Facebook or Instagram, protects you from getting tangled up with law enforcement. Be safe out there. As always, consume – and buy – thoughtfully.
What’s your opinion on the rise in illegal delivery services? Let us know in the comments.How consumers order and pick up cannabis is evolving every day. In the midst of such expansion, illegal delivery options have expanded as well. How can you find legitimate delivery options? Read on as we explore buying weed online in the changing landscape.
What you need to know about legally ordering marijuana online
Answers from the RCMP, Canada Post and Health Canada about getting your cannabis through the mail
As of Oct. 17, each person of legal age in their province can legally purchase and possess 30 grams of marijuana.
But in many communities, retail cannabis stores won’t be open right away. That could push people to online sales.
- Many Sask. pot stores won’t be ready to open on legalization day
Canada Post, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Health Canada all declined interviews on the topic, but did provide statements to CBC News about online shopping for cannabis.
How will online cannabis orders and delivery be policed?
From the RCMP: Canada Post has standard operating procedures in place related to the inspection of mail while in transit.
- Meet your e-dealer: Shopify confident its online tech can handle cannabis demand
- Ontario’s online weed store will ship with Canada Post with a $5 delivery fee
From Canada Post: Canada Post has been delivering medical cannabis safely since 2013. Canada Post will follow the law, regulations and any guidelines from the federal government and also from the provincial and territorial governments, which will oversee the sale and distribution in their respective provinces and territories.
Once recreational cannabis is legalized, it will be the responsibility of licensed distributors to ensure their shipments, including packaging and labelling, follow the laws and regulations of the federal and provincial governments.
Is there a concern from police that this will lead to an increase of other drugs moving through the mail?
From the RCMP: The RCMP’s federal policing program investigates the most severe threats to the safety and security of Canada. The majority of ongoing organized crime investigations are related to drug trafficking and are linked directly or indirectly to transnational criminal organizations.
The RCMP will continue to monitor, track and assess the evolution of criminal organizations’ methods and tactics, including the use of the mail system to delivery illicit materials.
We cannot predict what will happen with the illicit cannabis market when cannabis becomes legal. Fentanyl has been an issue, though.
In response, the RCMP has implemented a national investigative strategy to be completed in partnership with [the Canada Border Services Agency], Canada Post, Health Canada and law enforcement partners (municipal, provincial and international).
Key activities include:
- Gathering information and data to identify shipping and manufacturing trends, international exporters, domestic distributors, clandestine labs and criminal networks.
- Raising awareness among law enforcement agencies and the public.
- Collaborating with international partners to combat illegal drug trafficking networks and disrupt the flow of fentanyl into Canada.
- Co-ordinate information sharing between partners.
In addition, the RCMP-led Joint Operations Centre (JOC), a partnership with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Canada Post Corporation, leverages each agency’s investigative tools to supply intelligence on both domestic and international fentanyl shipments.
In particular, the JOC focuses on synthetic opioid seizures from mail sorting facilities in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Will the RCMP and Canada Post be monitoring drug activity via mail?
From the RCMP: Canada Post has standard operating procedures in place related to the inspection of mail while in transit. The RCMP will continue to provide assistance to Canada Post, when required.
For instance, Canada Post may request the assistance of the RCMP when recovering and identifying suspected illegal contraband found in packaged mail.
Also, the RCMP may seek a judicial authorization to search mail as part of a criminal investigation.
From Canada Post: We will work with licensed distributors to ensure they are fully aware of the expectations and requirements.
Most of our procedures are in place for medicinal marijuana and we continue to enhance our approach.… As is the case today, if a parcel in our delivery network is emitting a strong odour due to improper packaging, the item will be removed from our delivery network to reduce safety concerns.
If we intercept an item or deem it to be suspicious, our postal inspectors will work with local law enforcement as we do today.
Some online sites sell edibles, even though they can’t be legally sold (for now). Can I order them anyway?
Health Canada: Edibles will remain illegal until regulations are developed and brought forward as noted here.
According to the Cannabis Act … you are allowed to make your own, “legal cannabis-containing products at home, such as food and drinks, provided that dangerous organic solvents are not used in making them.”
If you’ve ordered a significant amount of cannabis and it has been stolen, should you report it?
From the RCMP: If you feel you have been the victim of a crime, you can report it to your police of jurisdiction.
How will people know they will be buying from a safe, licensed source?
From Health Canada: The only safe sources are from the licensed producers listed on our site and the provincial and territorial sources that have been communicated by those jurisdictions.
- Lawyers predict ‘significant period of transition’ as justice system faces legal cannabis
- Mind your marijuana manners: Navigating the social norms of legal cannabis
Any problems with products should be reported to the licensed producer or provincial/territorial authority they were purchased from.
How is marijuana ordered online delivered to ensure it is going to someone of legal age?
From Canada Post: For all shipments of recreational cannabis from a licensed seller that we deliver or [are] picked up at a postal outlet, proof of age will be mandatory, as it is for other regulated products. The required minimum age to receive recreational cannabis is defined by each province and territory.
If the receiver appears to be younger than 25 years old, our trained delivery agent will require an acceptable photo ID … before handing the parcel to the individual. The proof of age requirement means we must also record the name and signature of the receiver.
All cannabis shipments will continue to require the use of a trackable service. Therefore, the sender, the receiver and Canada Post can track the package as it works its way through our processing and delivery network.
Detailed commercial and packaging guidelines based on federal and provincial requirements will be made available to licensed distributors, ensuring the parcel can be safely processed through the delivery network once inducted to a Canada Post facility.For people who want to buy legal cannabis but won't have access to marijuana stores, purchasing online will be the best option. CBC News asked the RCMP, Canada Post and Health Canada for answers on the legalities. ]]>