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.
How Tourists Can Buy Marijuana in Colorado
Hey, it’s perfectly legal. Colorado doesn’t require a medical reason to purchase pot—and tourists can partake as well. But there are still rules. Here’s what you need to know to buy a high.
To find a business that will sell to visitors, search for “recreational cannabis dispensary.”
Some dispensaries only serve medical clients, but retail dispensaries are open to the public. Use PotGuide or Weedmaps to locate a facility and call ahead or check the website of the business to verify that it is open to public sales.
Bring I.D. and cash . . .
The eternal tussle between states’ rights and federal law puts the burden on you. Credit card companies are wary of running afoul of federal law, which still classifies marijuana sales as illegal, so most credit card issuers are unwilling to risk prosecution (unlikely as it would be) by facilitating sales.
Because of this, nearly all dispensaries have an ATM on the premises. Debit card usage may also be permitted.
Dispensaries generally take their licenses seriously and are extraordinarily careful about adhering to state standards, so your identification will be checked by a security guard before you are admitted into the main sales area.
. but you don’t need tons of cash.
How much should you bring? A gram of “bud” or “flower,” the terms for smokeable leaf, will average between $10 and $15.
Customers are technically permitted to buy only 1 ounce at a time (there are about 28 grams in an ounce, so you’d have to spend a lot before getting into the danger zone), but that ounce can be accumulated from multiple dispensaries. Marijuana leaf is light, so an ounce is way more than you’ll need on a casual visit to the state.
Dispensaries may sell you up to 8 grams of concentrates or edibles containing no more than 800 milligrams of THC.
You don’t need to know exactly what you want.
After your I.D. passes muster, you’ll be shown to the sales floor, where a clerk stands behind a glass case full of the dispensary’s products. Staff members may handle the product, but you can’t.
There may also be a binder or a menu that explains the various strains and blends. They tend to have names reminiscent of racehorses—Dairy Queen, Cheesequake, Kandy Apple, Gorilla Glue, Ghost Train Haze, and that old stoner’s standby, Sour Diesel.
Dispensaries are locked in an arms race over the best merchandise, the names of which will probably strike you as funny but not very useful. That’s why every dispensary worth its salt employs staff that can tell you exactly what each strain will do to you.
But this isn’t a winery—you cannot sample the goods.
Some basic cannabis knowledge helps.
Being familiar with the main varieties helps you know what to buy. Sativa (cerebrally focused effects), indica (body-focused effects), and a hybrid of the two are the three main schools. Your clerk will tell you how strong each one is.
If you’re a novice, don’t jump into the deep end—that means none of the wax, shatter, or other cannabis forms for advanced users—and stick to low dosages, measured in milligrams, unless you want to spend your entire visit to Colorado in a useless haze. Once you pick what you want, the clerk might hand your selection to another staffer, who will fill your order in another area and return the product to you right before you exit.
Keep a lid on it.
Clerks will give you the product in sealed, carefully marked containers. Think of the contents like booze: You’re not allowed to have an open container in the car with you.
Keep everything wrapped until you are able to use it in a “private, personal” (the state’s wording) place.
Know the difference between THC and CBD.
THC is the compound that makes you high, and it’s what the government is most interested in controlling. CBD, another chemical found in cannabis products, does not provide a high so it’s often considered harmless.
There are still rules.
No giving your purchase to minors—minors can’t even accompany you when you shop.
No driving under the influence, either, which means you shouldn’t partake of the dispensaries’ infused candies and brownies (otherwise known as edibles, which generally require a few hours to take effect and have longer-lasting results for some people) unless you have no intention of going anywhere for a day. The same issues in the federal law over cannabis that affect paying with credit cards have also made it hard for anyone to develop a reliable roadside test for THC, so it’s possible to get hauled in for not much more than suspicion.
Colorado’s legal limit for driving is 5 nanograms or less of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of blood—but since you probably left your nanogram meter at home, best not to partake at all before driving.
To read the official warnings and rules about marijuana use in Colorado, check out the state’s FAQ page by clicking here.
Don’t let anyone smell it.
No displaying your purchase or using it in public (although you will see people doing that) unless you want to risk 15 days in jail. Some locals might argue that those rules are theoretical and that officers ignore pot use all the time, but the fact is that you can be penalized.
Some businesses, particularly in cities, have special permits allowing designated areas for pot smoking, but don’t dare try bringing a stash onto federal lands. Those include military bases and national parks, so don’t attempt a Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain high unless you want to be convicted of a federal crime, which leaves a mark on your background that can affect your life for years.
Don’t take it out of state.
Sheriffs from some other states are miffed about Colorado’s law, and not just because they’re jealous of the tax revenue. (Colorado’s weed regulation has been so successful that taxes it has raised have proved to be a boon for state services.)
Many people are driving over the border into Colorado, hitting dispensaries, and taking the goods back home. I was told at one Denver dispensary I visited that if a car looks like a mess, the driver risks being pulled over, but if the vehicle looks neat and professional, there probably won’t be a problem.
But the best strategy would be to avoid breaking the law in the first place.
Be careful if you smoke in a hotel.
If your hotel room has a no-smoking policy and you light a joint, you’ll face a fine from the owners. If you go on your balcony and light up, you theoretically face a fine for public use.
The trouble and stink of smoking is why many people are turning to vaporizers, which are often mostly odorless. Dispensaries usually sell those, too.
For our story on buying recreational cannabis in the state of California, click here.
How Tourists Can Buy Marijuana in Colorado Hey, it’s perfectly legal. Colorado doesn’t require a medical reason to purchase pot—and tourists can partake as well. But there are still rules. Here’s