Legal dispensaries will appear in their store locator and must have an “Ontario authorized” seal on display.
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) wants to help customers find the real deal.
Pointing out that it isn’t always easy to tell if the person selling you pot is legit, the provincial cannabis retailer is offering up some tips on its website to help confused consumers keep on the straight and narrow.
While it may not seem overly difficult to tell the difference now, Ontario plans to start authorizing 20 new stores a month beginning in April, meaning there could be close to 250 new dispensaries up and running by the end of this year. The oncoming wave of outlets means consumers in regions with no stores will finally be able to get their hands on product for the first time.
“It’s not you, it’s them,” the OCS said of black market operators on Twitter Monday. “It can be really hard to tell if a cannabis store is legal. Learn how to spot the signs here.”
Because the illicit market is evolving right alongside legal channels, it’s easy to get fooled, the retailer noted in the blog post. “It can feel a lot like shopping in your favourite store or on your favourite website. Luckily, there are a few ways you can make sure you’re buying legal cannabis, in store and online.”
Turning to the black market is just asking for trouble, the OCS noted, and the biggest reason is quality control. “All of our products and the places they’re grown and processed go through strict testing and cleanliness checks to ensure your cannabis is free of unapproved pesticides and harmful bacteria like E. coli, and contains the amount of THC it claims to.”
So how do you know you’re shopping at the real deal? According to the OCS, one way to be sure is to look for the “Ontario authorized” seal that all legal stores are required to display in a prominent position in their window.
And don’t rely on Google to find a strain or store, the OCS recommended, because the results will invariably include black market options. Instead, customers can use the OCS’s store locator as it filters out illicit alternatives.
The OCS is the only website legally allowed to sell recreational cannabis in Ontario, so if a consumer is buying from somewhere else online, there’s simply no guarantee you’re getting what you think you purchased. And if a consumer gets stiffed by an illicit operation, don’t expect the Better Business Bureau to be able to solve the situation. Seriously, don’t call them.
The Twitterverse responded to the OCS tweet with its trademark sarcasm. “If it’s good and priced fair — it ain’t from the OCS,” one poster said.
Others expressed concern about how easy it would be to produce and display a counterfeit version of the Ontario authorized seal. “Funny thing. You shouldn’t have released a scalable vector image of the ‘seal’ when it was announced. I wonder how many have been printed off.”
Written by David Yasvinski