The pros and cons of buying weed online

Published Nov 8, 2020 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / stefanamer

In this day and age, it's becoming the norm to buy as many things as we can online, and the COVID-19 pandemic truly cemented this idea. It's of course, something that we were working our way towards anyway, but now that we must spend as little time in close contact with other people, more people than ever before have turned to online shopping.

This can be a great thing, and even a health benefit, as it can save us time and help us to minimize contact with other people when we need more things, but buying weed online isn't quite the same thing as buying groceries or bulk packs of toilet paper. There are certainly perks to purchasing an online dispensary, but there are also some drawbacks to consider before making the switch.

1. It's convenient

It might be hard to match the in-person experience that your local dispensary has to offer, but when you're buying weed from an online dispensary, there is nothing that could be more convenient. In most cases, it's as easy as a few clocks, entering your payment information, and then waiting for your package to arrive, and not once will you have to change out of your PJs or leave that comfy chair you love along the way.

2. It can be more expensive

An online dispensary has to get it's products out somehow. In most cases, consumers can take advantage of marijuana delivery, rather than having to make the trek to the store to pick up an order in person. This is excellent because it offers a level of convenience that feels great, but that extra luxury often comes at a cost. As a driver, gas, and vehicle to move cannabis products, all must be paid for it to happen. It's not usually a massive hike in price, but for some consumers, every penny counts.

3. It's safer

We're all getting tired of the restrictions that have been implemented to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases as our expert's race to find a vaccine that will release us from this prison. Still, for the moment, most of us are more than happy to stay home and reduce our chances of coming down with the illness. Buying weed online can help with that by minimizing your contact to a brief interaction between you and your mail person, rather than waiting in line with hundreds of other eager customers.

4. It doesn't allow you to interact with the products

Buying weed online sounds simple enough, but it's tough to know what you're getting yourself into until long after you've made an initial investment, and even then, the details can be hazy. Through a website, you can't smell fresh buds or visually inspect them for signs of maturity, and it's far too easy for pot shops to use stock photos that look nothing like what you're about to buy. The unknown can be exciting, or it can be disappointing if you don't like what you chose, and that's a risk that comes with all online shopping.

5. It's less stressful

If you have anxiety when you think of leaving the house, be it from the pandemic or some other preexisting mental health issue, then buying weed online can be a huge lifesaver. You won't have to interact with customers, hop the bus with strangers to get there or make awkward small talk with the budtender just to stock back up on cannabis. You also won't have anyone pressuring you to make a purchase or hovering while you decide, and for many, that's a perk worth taking advantage of.

6. It can be hard to tell if you're ordering from a legitimate source

The black market is bursting at the seams both online and in physical locations, but it's much easier to make a business look official on the internet than it is to pull off the charade in person. Buying weed online from unregulated sources could have you getting bags from some random person basement, with no guarantee for either health or safety, and that's not a good thing. Unfortunately, it's also hard to avoid, which makes shopping online a terrifying prospect for some.

7. It's easy

Cannabis websites aren't like Amazon where you can get lost in the pages upon pages of random ads and products that seem to steer you further from what you originally came for with each passing minute. They are there for one thing, and one thing only, and that's to please consumers with the most direct experience possible. If you can browse a menu at your local restaurant, then shopping through an online dispensary should be a breeze.

8. It does require some basic knowledge of computers

Of course, ordering online requires a few things that not everyone has safe access to, like a computer or reliable internet connection. Since most online dispensary purchases will require sensitive payment information, it's best if this is done through a completely secure device. This means you'll need a device or a friend that you trust to take advantage of this service, and unfortunately, not everyone has that kind of luxury in their life.

9. It's fast

Exactly how long it will take for your cannabis order to come in will depend on the online dispensary you choose, but many offer fast, easy shipping that can arrive in as little as 2 hours after you've placed an order. Some might need a bit more notice, with next day services available, but either way, that's pretty fast, if it means that you don't have to put the time and effort into getting it for yourself.

10. It might be hard to get advice before a purchase

Buying weed through a storefront typically includes the guidance of a highly skilled and knowledgeable budtender, and they have a whole lot to offer when you aren't quite sure where to start. Of course, if you always know exactly what you want and how you want it, then it might not matter in the end, but losing the benefit of a budtender is a downside that keeps many consumers away from online dispensary options.

So, is it worth it?

Like with most things in life, there are both benefits and drawbacks to buying weed online, and only you can determine which method of shopping is right for you, and the very best way to do that is to go over these ten pros and cons and decide which benefits are the most helpful for you.

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