Canada is home to one of the world’s most sophisticated and mature markets for cannabis consumption. Years before cannabis was legalized and partially-decriminalized on October 17, 2018, black and grey market products were easily accessible through numerous illegal storefronts and online dispensaries. Even today, a quick google search for “buy weed online” will reveal many websites that promise to deliver cannabis in various forms and formats. These sites are professionally-designed, offer a number of incentives and discounts, and even promise the sale of products that are not-yet regulated for use in Canada, including distillate pens, concentrates, and edibles. So how does one tell which sites are licensed and which ones are not? Here are a few tips that will help adults purchase legal cannabis, for medical or recreational purposes, no matter where you live in Canada:
Online access is restricted, varies by province
While it was The Cannabis Act that legalized adult-use cannabis at a federal level, it was left to each province and territory to control the sale and distribution of non-medical products within its own borders. Each jurisdiction had to come up with its own rules and regulations that would determine, among other things, how and where cannabis would be sold.
Most provinces offer legal non-medical cannabis sales through government-run online portals, the majority of which are overseen by the provincial liquor boards. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the only two provinces that allow private retailers to operate their own approved websites.
In each province or territory, cannabis can only be purchased by adults over the age of 19, except in Alberta and Quebec, where the minimum age is 18.
There are number of limitations to this model. One restriction is that selection varies by province and is limited to the suppliers that have entered into formal agreements with each government body. Unfortunately, high bureaucratic barriers will prevent small, craft growers from entering into such agreements. Regulations also restrict delivery to within that specific province or territory. Customers in Ontario can therefore only purchase legal online cannabis from one provincially-run website. Another limitation is that the online stores are staffed by people who may have little-to-no experience with cannabis use or product selection.
Regulations restrict delivery to
within a specific province or territory
Medical cannabis ships across Canada, provides selection & expertise
Customers looking to buy legal cannabis for medical purposes may, in fact, have more options in terms of shipping, selection, and access to expert knowledge.
After receiving a recommendation for medical cannabis, easily achieved through a visit to one’s health practitioner, or through an easy online telehealth portal such as NamasteMD, approved adults may purchase products from the comfort of their own home, delivered safely and discreetly to their front door.
One option for approved patients is to register directly with one of nearly 150 licensed producers. The downside is that product selection is limited to what that producer has available at any given time. Some producers may only offer a handful of products that might not suit a patient’s unique medical needs.
Another option is to register with a legal online medical portal such as CannMart, Buds2Go (powered by CannMart) or Shoppers Drug Mart, who each offer medical cannabis from a variety of federally-licensed producers. CannMart was the recipient of Health Canada’s first-ever sales only (no cultivation) license, allowing it to offer a wide variety of dried flower, pre-rolls and accessories from a number of Canadian producers, many of which are unavailable through non-medical channels. More importantly, customers can order and receive product anywhere in Canada, sometimes with same-day or expedited delivery options, depending on where they live. Additionally, the CannMart and Buds2Go teams are comprised of industry experts and cannabis enthusiasts, with a mandate to provide accurate product information and excellent customer service. The just-launched Medical Cannabis by Shoppers Drug Mart website currently offers service only to residents of Ontario and does not provide same-day delivery.
What kinds of products can I buy now?
Canada currently allows the legal sale of cannabis in the form of dried flower (buds), pre-rolled joints, oils, capsules, seeds and seedlings. Edibles (candies, cookies, beverages), topicals, concentrates and tinctures (cannabis in an alcohol base) will not be regulated for adult use until late 2019. These regulations are important to protect the health and safety of Canadians by guaranteeing that all approved cannabis products are lab-tested to be free of mold, mildew, pesticides, or other harmful contaminants.
The best choice is to purchase cannabis, medical or otherwise, only from approved online retailers.
- This is the Buds2Go Staff Account. We work really hard to provide information and news about marijuana legalization, product information and promotional events going on across Canada. We are fanatics and experts on strains and utilizing medical cannabis for the treatment of common ailments.
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