For many Canadians, online shopping is quickly becoming their method of choice for purchasing everything from toilet paper, to clothing, groceries and even medicine. There’s almost no limit to what you can find online, and with the current cannabis craze in Canada many people are turning to online shopping carts for their weed. We can already hear mouthing the words… But is it safe to get your cannabis from an online dispensary? Let’s look at the landscape for cannabis e-commerce, and learn how to be a savvy online marijuana shopper in Canada.
Buying weed online in Canada… Where to begin? Well first, you need to understand what cannabis is, why you want to consume it, and then figure out how you’re going to get it. There’s a lot of public knowledge, cultural significance and societal stigmas surrounding cannabis in Canada. Anyone who remembers the “reefer madness” propaganda days, or the evolution of cannabis as medicine throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s will understand that this plant is fraught with controversy. Ultimately, it is legalized in Canada at the Federal level, so the questions of its validity as medicine are now only limited by the pace of research data accumulation.
If you’re reading this article, you probably are already familiar with cannabis and its many uses & benefits. Nonetheless, it’s important to know the basics of cannabis, how it works, and why it’s become such a cultural, political and medical phenomenon, especially in this land we call home.
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT:
What Is Cannabis?
Cannabis is known to many, and by many names: marijuana, ganja, weed, pot, chronic, dope, electric lettuce, and the list only gets more ridiculous the more it goes on. But what is this plant and why do we consume it? What are its benefits? What are the risks? Cannabis’ history is full of ups and downs, but the important thing you need to know today is that it is legal in Canada, for both recreational and medical use. Whether you like to light up to relax, mow down on an edible before bed, or rely on high doses of cannabis concentrates for personal injury or illness, cannabis is a very prevalent part of many Canadians’ lives.
The cannabis plant is part of a species known as “Cannabaceae” – hops, hemp and even some species of trees referred to as hackberries. It is globally prevalent, however due to international stigmas and policies it is considered illegal by most countries. Canada is the first G7 country to Federally legalize cannabis both recreationally and medically. Cannabis has been used by hundreds of cultures, typically for its medicinal properties like easing pain, inflammation, or its ability to treat serious conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, PTSD and even assist with the symptoms of cancer.
When we’re talking about buying cannabis online, we’re usually focusing on the two major cannabinoids (active compounds) for which cannabis and hemp are known for: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC, as many of us know all too well, has psychoactive effects on our minds (the “high” you feel when you consume it); whereas, CBD is very popular specifically because it is is non-psychoactive. Both cannabinoids have similar positive influences on our health, but they interact differently with our bodies & minds.
What’s your relationship to cannabis? Are you looking to try some exciting new strains? Did you used to consume it all the time, but now that it’s legal you want to get back into the lifestyle? Maybe you’re looking for information, either for yourself or a loved one who could really use it? Regardless of your motivations, shopping online for cannabis to smoke, cannabis edibles, or cannabis concentrates can be difficult. Just like there’s more than one way to consume cannabis, there’s hundreds of varieties of products all at your fingertips.
How do you determine what method, what dose, and what frequency works for you? That’s the easy part: you gotta try ’em all! All jokes aside, experimentation, mixing-and-matching, and being adaptable are all key things to consider when looking online for your marijuana. Have you tried all the different kinds of cannabis (Sativa, Indica, Hybrids)? What’s your preferred cannabinoid concentration? THC? CBD? You can see just by the amount of questions we’re listing that you really need to test the waters of the marijuana industry to truly know what you want vs. what you need.
The #1 step to any cannabis journey should always start with one simple concept: information. Do your research, ask your friends & family, check with your doctor, look online for useful blogs (just like this one you’re reading right now!), and always stay current. Knowledge is power, and if you’re going to add the powerful healing properties of cannabis to your life, you need to accumulate as much information as you can.
It can seem overwhelming… We know… Take a deep breath (maybe even a quick puff of a joint), and try not to worry; we’re here to guide you through the vortex that is internet shopping, and hopefully teach you a thing or two about how to be a pro cannabis shopper.
SHOPPING FOR WEED ON THE WEB
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of cannabis and why/how you should use it, it’s time to get shopping! Buying cannabis online in Canada is a unique experience, in that companies in this country have had a lot of time to develop their online stores, their promotions, and most importantly to grow the huge varieties of strains. This has created a vast market of many quality cannabis products, not to mention competitive prices.
THE PRICE IS… RIGHT?
Some old-school cannabis users have voiced their opinions on the lack of pricing power since legalization, but there’s many factors at play to consider. In 2019, the average price per gram of cannabis has hovered around $7.75 CAD; it recently fell by 6.5% to reach the lowest it’s been since October 17, currently at $7.35 per gram. This is to be expected as the industry takes shape and more producers & retailers of cannabis continue to crop up, (slowly) but surely balancing supply-demand.
As consumers demand more choices, better prices and more consistency in their marijuana, industry professionals will do their best to keep up with market trends. It is important to note that prices today are difficult to compare to traditional costs in decades past, there was no market controls, no data to collect, no economic analysis of the cannabis market pre-legalization. The price for weed has indeed gone up since Federal legalization: 17-18 % increases across the country, on average. Nonetheless, these price hikes are in direct relation to things like research & development, testing/inspection, quality control, regulation costs, taxation and more.
It is understandable if someone is dissatisfied with higher prices when you also consider the lack of quality, variety and customer service at many local retailers or dispensaries. The stall of marijuana stock hitting the shelves at retail stores was a definite stumbling point for the industry, and it drove many people back to their old sources for cannabis. But that’s why you’re online, right? We live in a world of convenience at the ‘click of a button’ – Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, and thousands of traditionally big-box stores are now focusing their efforts on e-commerce. Nobody ever has to leave their home to get what they need (they even delivery your groceries to your door now!), so there’s no reason to hit the streets to get your hands on some weed.
Price tags of online weed are significantly more variable – obviously your delivery location can affect the overall costs – but on average online cannabis can be $1-5 per gram cheaper than in stores! That’s significant savings, and more of those hard earned dollars & cents can go to the Tim Horton’s fund (or heck, buy even more cannabis!).
Price is one thing to haggle about, but what about product quality? Product variety? It’s a common problem at the local retail level: very few strains, limited stock, supply problems, yada yada yada. The industry has definitely had its issues with keeping steady stock – not to mention consistent quality buds – and it has driven many people to return to their dealers or look to the web. Online weed dispensaries have worked hard to keep their flow of Mary J consistent. Their cannabis products have the benefit of up-to-date reviews, daily deals and the ability to offer a wider offering of products (flowers, edibles, concentrates, even wholesale).
To avoid paying too steep of a price for your medicine, to steer clear of limited choices, and to save gas-$ and time physically going to the stores, order your cannabis online. The sheer number of loyal customers who have made the permanent switch to buying online cannabis makes the advantages of online marijuana shopping very apparent. Money is an obvious consideration when making your cannabis purchases, but we haven’t even discussed the elephant in the room yet… customer service.
Customer service? Online? What are we talking about here… robots?! It might seem a little counter intuitive, but the average customer experience at online cannabis outlets can actually be much more satisfying than at your average brick-and-mortar purveyor of weed.
The problem with retail locations for cannabis is twofold, and it mirrors a lot of the current supply issues across Canada: lack of product, and a lapse in marketability of their cannabis. Anyone who has gone to a retail cannabis store has probably experienced this frustration; a few Indicas, a couple Sativa, handful of Hybrids and not much information about when/where/how much new stock will be available. We have to give the retail employees a break here, because it’s not their fault that supply shortages are rampaging the industry. Nevertheless, it’s tough to get hyped for a trip to the local weed shop when you don’t know (and neither do the stores!) what cannabis products will be on the shelves week-to-week.
The other conundrum with buying retail cannabis is the limitations on what they’re allowed to promote. Again, we feel for the customer service reps that are limited in what they’re legally allowed to talk about with cannabis, but it’s created this strange atmosphere for customers: “I’d love to tell you more… but there’s not enough official research to make product claims at this time“.
Cannabis consumers require a lot of information, regardless if they’re newbies or potheads. Some local weed stores are good at explaining the terpenes, the flavor profiles, maybe even the kind of high you can experience, but more often than not consumers are left wanting more from their trip to the cannabis shop. Why shop online? Well for one there’s a dedicated community of passionate reviewers, detailed testimonials, and millions of pages of articles, research and in-depth information on cannabis. When you need to know something in the moment, you don’t go down to the library… do you? Most of us make use of the search databases, phone apps and a host of credible, up-to-date online resources that are just a web address and a click away.
So, when you shop online, you’re not only getting a much more community oriented experience than at retail stores, but you’re also encouraged to contribute your voice, your knowledge to the collective experience. Buy some weed online, post your experience, spread the word! (and sometimes you can even be rewarded for sharing). Suffice to say, the wealth of information available online, combined with the far superior price flexibility of online cannabis sites, make the weed-commerce experience fulfilling, informative and guaranteed to help consumers find the right products that fit their needs.
A PRODUCT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
When it comes down to it, nothing is as important as the actual product itself. You can talk shop about price, convenience and customer experience all you want, but if you don’t have a good cannabis product then your time on the market will be short. There’s so many cannabis strains, so many ways to consume marijuana, and even more consumers with individual cannabis needs and wants. What’s the common variable in all this?
The seven letter word you see on many press releases from licensed producers: quality control, quality assurance, focus on quality, etc. Without quality – be it desirable flavors, a potent high, or those beautiful colors – a cannabis product will not have a long life in this ultra-competitive market. The “skunk weeds” of the world do make a living for their growers/sellers, but in the long run only the people who spend the time, money, and effort will continue to succeed. Cannabis users are notoriously opinionated, and for good reason! Weed isn’t just something you can consume for fun, it’s medicine.
What does a quality bud look, taste, feel like? Who sets the bar for quality cannabis products? That’s simple: you do. The consumers have the power to shape the market, and they often wield that power effectively, but it’s not as simple as calling up your local cannabis hotline and requesting “more Kush varieties” or “stronger THC concentrates, please”. Consumers have very unique and personal needs, tastes and opinions. Shopping online for your weed needs means you can get the product you need, at the potency you’re used to, and usually at a better price than you can get at a retail store.
MEET YOUR WEED NEEDS WITH HAUTE
When you need another batch of medicine, you’re just looking to try a fun looking new edible, or your family is hoping you can help them get started on the wonderful world of weed, Haute.health has all your cannabis products covered. The best prices online ($3-$8 per grams) can be found at Haute, and they’re always stocked with the best buds, the tastiest edibles, and all the potent concentrates. Haute.health even has a wholesale option for the bulk shoppers of the weed world: Shatters, Resins, Hash, even Phoenix Tears, it’s all online with Haute.
Haute also has a great rewards system (because who doesn’t like to build points towards free stuff?!). Haute.health is known for its incredibly fast shipping, and they often have promotions for FREE SHIPPING all across Canada. Haute is the perfect example of why buying weed online in Canada is so much better than relying on other sources of cannabis.
Experience the Haute life yourself, and try their lineup of quality flowers, edibles and concentrates… all five scentses, like your tastebuds, will thank you.