Look for these red flags before buying weed online

Published Aug 11, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
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Buying weed online is a luxury that helps millions of enthusiasts to access safe, dependable, and affordable products. It’s convenient, and for many the only way to get the items they truly need, but like all purchases made in this digital space, these transactions are not without a few risks. Luckily, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to avoid the possibility of being left disappointed.

1. Overwhelmingly positive reviews

This is something every conscious shopper should keep an eye out for, as many websites all over the internet will use this tactic to deceive potential buyers. Of course, good stores will have plenty of positive reviews, but when there is absolutely no negative feedback, there might be a reason to be concerned. It could be that they’re using completely fake reviews or filtering out those that don’t look good, and both are often indications of a problem that’s being hidden.

2. Negative reviews

It might sound like the opposite advice but hear us out. Much like how an overwhelming majority of 5-star reviews might hint at an issue, a large number of negative reviews might give you a good reason (or several) to steer clear. It’s a rare sight to see on a company website, while more transparent platforms like Google tend to reveal a more realistic view of the quality of a business's customer service.

3. Unrecognizable product names

Trying new cannabis brands is never a bad thing. However, if you’re browsing through the selection of your local online store, and don’t recognize any of the brand names, then you might be shopping on a black market website. To find out, head to Google to search the official titles, and then you’ll know for certain whether or not this is somewhere you want to shop.

4. Knock offs

In Canada at least, it is entirely illegal for cannabis stores to sell edibles or any other products that are knock-offs. In some cases, like with edibles, it’s easy to see, especially if there’s a wide selection of weed Doritos or THC nerd ropes, but with others, like concentrates or even flower, it's more difficult to distinguish the difference between what’s real and what is fake. Sadly, there isn’t often a way to tell for certain until after the products arrive without appropriate logos, stickers, spelling, and other important details that would never be missed by the real brand. Still, it’s a good thing to know, especially if there are real product photos that might reveal something.

5. Shipping fees

Sending a package, big or small, is never a cheap feat, but at the same time, you don’t want to go through the process of shopping, deciding on a purchase, and then getting all the way to the checkout before realizing that it’s going to cost a small fortune to ship it to you. Weed delivery is only convenient if it’s also affordable, so be sure to check it out before adding anything to your cart.

6. Request for ID before shipping


It is illegal for underage persons to buy cannabis products, but when it comes to verifying age there is no reason to do so before the product is shipped, as it cannot be left with an underage individual once it arrives. By all means, have your ID ready when it comes time to accept the purchase, but it’s never a good idea to give out this information over the internet, through a photo, or any other copy that might be misused or abused by private parties.

7. No product descriptions

Buying weed online is difficult enough with the information you might need to make an informed decision, and when that essential data is missing, it’s almost never worth taking the risk. Legitimate vendors have access to all of the facts you might need, from third-party testing to genetics and terpenes, so if that information isn’t given to you the consumer, then it’s best to beware.

8. No photos

One of the first things new start-ups do is get all of their inventory online, including photos because being able to see your product is important. How else are you supposed to know whether or not you’ll get the right one? If the images are missing, then you probably don’t want to know what this particular vendor has for sale.

9. Unrealistic promises

Did you end up here, shopping for weed online, because of an ad that promised an ounce for an unrealistic price? Perhaps the draw was $0.50 joints, or $20.00 concentrates, something you’d never see in real life. Of course, it’s nice to dream, but it’s important to be realistic, and if a pot shop is promising the world in exchange for a nominal fee, then it’s probably not a legitimate store, and it’s best to run the other way.

10. Shipping times

Last but not least on our list of red flags is shipping times, which are often difficult to rely on at the best of times, and depending on the company, could range anywhere from an hour or two to several weeks or longer. The last thing you want to do is place an order that you’ll need by tomorrow, only to be stuck waiting in limbo with nothing, and it happens a lot more than you think. Save yourself the stress, and check before hitting purchase instead.

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