Buying Cannabis – What You Need To Know
Even though cannabis is regulated in Canada, it doesn't mean all cannabis is legal and safe. If you meet the legal age requirement set by your province or territory and choose to consume it, you're responsible for knowing what is legal and what is not.
The Authorized Retailers List helps make this easier. It connects you to legal cannabis products, seeds and plants in the province or territory in which you live or are visiting.
Risks of illegal cannabis
- Consuming illegal products could lead to adverse effects and other serious harms. Testing of illegal cannabis has found contaminants like pesticides and unacceptable levels of bacteria, lead and arsenic.
- There is no guarantee the products you buy through illegal online retailers will arrive (i.e. the retailer may not ship them or they could be interdicted).
- You expose yourself to fraud, identity theft or other financial crimes when you purchase from illegal online retailers because you're putting your personal information in the hands of criminals.
- Organized crime groups use profits from illegal cannabis sales to support other criminal activities that harm our communities.
Know what to look for
- Age verification is mandatory.
- All cannabis products sold have:
- the standard cannabis symbol;
- mandatory health warnings;
- plain, child-resistant packaging; and
- an excise stamp, which is a standard maple symbol, coloured differently for each province and territory.
- The excise stamp is your guarantee that the product is produced according to the highest health and safety standards, reflects accurate THC levels, and is free from other substances that could cause serious harm.
- Major credit cards and debit are the only form of payment accepted when you make your purchase through an online retailer.
- No age verification
- Offers products in appealing packaging or products (i.e. may mimic popular candy)
- Payment is requested by e-transfer or in a cryptocurrency
- Shipping is available anywhere in Canada
- Uses a generic email address (i.e., Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail)
Signs of untrustworthy websites
- Poorly designed and unprofessional looking
- Links and buttons are broken or disabled
- No contact information provided (i.e. phone number, email, address)
- Return policies or privacy policies are either unclear or not stated
- Credit card credentials are requested for reasons other than your purchase
- Prices are incredibly low (i.e. unbelievable deals)
- Shipping, duties, or extra charges seem abnormal
If you're concerned or have a complaint about a possible illegal cannabis activity whether online or in your community contact your local law enforcement or nearest Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment.
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