Despite the fact that Canada’s now-legalized sales of cannabis-related products are highly regulated, “grey market” online cannabis shops continue to operate. Why are they still operating and in-fact flourishing?
The Online Cannabis Marketplace in Canada
It’s hard to know precisely how many grey market online cannabis operations are out there, but a quick Google search sums it up – there are a lot. Try it yourself, and you’ll find page after page of online dispensaries who operate under none of the regulations put in place by the Canadian government yet their sale of marijuana and cannabis-related products is typically higher that most local dispensaries. They seem to be getting away with thumbing their nose at the system and operating wild-west style – and customers are purchasing from them.
So why are Grey Market Cannabis stores doing so well? It comes down to better product!
The reason these operations are successful is primarily one thing – the product. They have craft cannabis growers or grow it themselves instead of more factory farmed weed. Additionally, they can do this at a lower expense. Obviously, by flouting the rules and regulations, they have a significant advantage over the legal competition when it comes to expenses but that is secondary to that fact that online dispensaries offer better cannabis. Try it yourself, do a comparison, you will see why many customers go back to grey market dispensaries. When it comes to finding a better deal, many customers are simply seeking out some cheap weed or budget buds. They’ll buy from a grey market source, much like they used to only a few years ago when it was the only option for recreational use – only these operations let them purchase online and offer weed delivery, just like the official online dispensaries like OCS.
They can also offer a wider variety of products, whether it passes federal muster or not because they don’t play by the federal rules pertaining to the sale of marijuana. So folks can still buy weed online from these shops, pay a lower price, and get a more comprehensive selection – an excellent combination, that makes it really hard for the above-board online dispensary to compete.
Legal Cannabis Stores are at a Further Disadvantage
This may surprise you, but some licensed cannabis stores (it depends on province) – the retail shops for walk-in traffic – are prohibited from selling their products online in any way. This includes third-party promotions on the internet. They’re also not allowed to offer delivery services, drive-through service, and their product cannot be visible from the street.
Grey Market cannabis shops have never had to deal with this, and so it’s business as usual for them.
The Grey Market Operators have Willing Customers
The statistics show it – about 40% of users surveyed revealed that they buy from online dispensaries. It’s a significant figure, considering the myriad legal ways you can buy weed online these days or even walk to 1 of 4 dispensaries on every corner (looking at you Ontario).
The Risk of Purchasing Online Cannabis from a Grey Market Dispensary
Grey market online cannabis is subject to no strict controls that the legal operations abide by. As a result, purchasing weed from mail order marijuana sites means you cannot be 100% sure of the quality, uniformity, or safety of any of the products they offer. In truth, this can also be said about legal shops, as some licensed growers have had whistleblowers show how terrible the conditions are in the factory farmed growers warehouses. One staffer even posted a picture of extremely moldy plants that would likely make anyone very sick.
There could also be issues with age restrictions, something the regulations are stringent on. Packaging, delivery – all the details are at the discretion of the grey market operator, and you can be pretty sure a lot of them out there are sub-standard.
While you have endless options of convenience between legal dispensaries and online dispensaries, our recommendation is to find a shop that has well reviewed products (legitimate customer reviews) and to stick with them regardless of Grey Market or licensed operation. Do a search on your favourite search engine, ask a friend for a referral, or perhaps check on reddit.
Browse MOM’s online dispensary here. All of our products are reviewed by you, our customers. And we make sure to check and test all of our products to ensure quality. We at MOM’s dispensary are passionate about the cannabis industry and more particularly focus on providing great quality weed across Canada.