When it comes to buying marijuana, for the longest time – and still today, for many people – it meant going to your dealer. Someone who sells out of their house, apartment or even their car, rather than a storefront dispensary. Interestingly, all over the U.S. people are starting to try – and in many cases, succeed – to buy their cannabis online. In fact, according to a recent study posted in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the number of people who look to buy their marijuana from online retailers has risen by 300 percent from 2005 to 2017.
Considering the fact that over half of the U.S. allows medical marijuana now – and an ever-increasing number of states is legalizing recreational cannabis – it might seem like a normal advancement. After all, the internet has streamlined our lives; things like our calendars, social media and Amazon purchases all happen online. You can order dinner, set an appointment with your physician or find a new place to live. Just about everything we do these days revolves around the internet – but is it really legal to buy cannabis online?
The answer to that is somewhat complicated. There are legitimate licensed dispensaries that give you a way to buy cannabis and cannabis products online, but in most cases, the websites themselves are not completely legal. Numerous websites that freely sell marijuana have been taken down and this is likely to continue to happen, even though new sites will creep up faster than the unseen internet authorities can take them down. Most of these sites can be found through combinations of search terms like “cannabis”, “marijuana”, and “weed” combined with words like “order”, “shop”, and “buy.”
Unfortunately, for the legal cannabis market that is trying to prove that legalization and regulation is the safest and smartest policy, this might make things more difficult. According to researcher John W. Ayers of San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health, anyone, regardless of age and location, can purchase marijuana via the internet. This facilitates underage use – which is something that the legal market doesn’t allow, just like with alcohol. The point continues to stand that only in a legal and regulated market can we truly ensure that adult consumption stays “adult” consumption.
So how can we combat websites that are selling marijuana illegally to anyone and everyone? The best course of action is to keep your cannabis buying to in-person transactions at your local dispensary. Only if your dispensary advertises online ordering and/or delivery should you ever purchase cannabis online – otherwise be aware that even if it is legal in your state, these websites are not licensed retailers and that sale remains illegal. Eventually, buying cannabis will be as simple as point-and-click for all of us, but until then, be wary of where you purchase your bud.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for information and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.