How legalization has changed pot culture in Canada

Published Jan 25, 2019 04:59 p.m. ET
Success or a Complete failure?

 Legalization in Canada has been a slow process. From Canada Post strikes, to shortages that forced many dispensaries to close their doors. For a country that has understood legalization was looming. You would think they would have been a bit more prepared. Millions in legal pot orders were sold in the first couple weeks after legalization. However, reports show that most pre-legalization users are still heading to their local dealer instead, with many reasons stated. From wait-times for shipping and non-competitive pricing to completely canceled orders. It’s safe to say that most Canadians looking to partake are disappointed in the current system.

Another thing many Canadians are struggling to understand is where and how exactly it is legal to purchase. A fast google search of “where to buy legal weed in Canada” shows the top three results as websites that are entirely illegal as of today. For many, especially those new to cannabis, websites can be overwhelming and hard to navigate for those who don’t know what they are looking for. So how exactly does one spot a legal dispensary? Below we have defined three different kinds of dispensaries, the legalities surrounding each one and what products or services they offer. We have also included a list of websites that we guarantee are 100% legal to purchase through listed by province.


There are currently three different kinds of dispensaries operating across the country. Some are found online, while others have relatively discrete storefronts. What many people don’t know is that most dispensaries currently in operation are completely illegal.

Medical marijuana dispensary

While medical dispensaries will fall for the most part under the legal category, it’s listed separately because of the services and products that they offer. These dispensaries often help obtaining a medical marijuana card or referrals to an outside source that will. Medical dispensaries are most known for carrying strains with the most medicinal use, and for their compassionate pricing. Legal medical marijuana dispensaries will not sell to anyone who doesn’t currently possess a medical license and tend to offer lower prices. While they may not be of use to everyone, for those who use for medical reasons the information available and their educated staff can make choosing the right strain to treat specific symptoms easier.

Legal marijuana dispensary

Legal dispensaries are licensed to sell for recreational purposes. Every single province except Ontario has legal storefronts in full swing. You can also order marijuana online in every province. Current legislation allows each individual province to set their own rules around dispensaries and to license, so the majority of online vendors that are licensed are the provinces themselves. Only two provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba allow other vendors. For example, in Ontario the only legally licensed online vendor is Any product sold through legal dispensaries is highly regulated so purchasing this way gives the customer more control over what they are getting. With licensed grow facilities being required to test regularly for strength, mold particles, bacteria, THC, CBD, and more. Many people consider legal dispensaries to offer the highest quality and properly labeled products on the market.

Black market marijuana dispensary

Black market dispensaries are everywhere. With some cities like Hamilton Ontario having one for almost every city block. These dispensaries are currently functioning in what is referred to as a grey area. The doors stay open because at least for now, the cities they function in have chosen not to enforce the law. It seems the government was hoping intimidation would shutter the majority after announcing that any dispensary open after legalization day on October 17th, would not be eligible for legal licensing through the government of Canada. Black market dispensaries offer a much broader range of products, some charging $12 a gram without any discounts for bulk orders. Most offer a range of edibles, homemade or otherwise. Edibles are currently illegal to sell in Canada. The government has recognized the demand for edibles and has promised legislation by April 2019, but in the meantime, they will not be carried legally by any vendor.

Order marijuana online Canada

Here is a complete list by province, or where you can order a marijuana card online legally in Canada.

Alberta: Must be at least 18 to purchase


British Columbia: Must at least 19 to purchase

Saskatchewan: Must be at least 19 to purchase ,,, and

Manitoba: Must be at least 19 to purchase,, and

Ontario: Must be at least 19 to purchase

Quebec: Must be at least 18 to purchase

New Brunswick: Must be at least 19 to purchase

Nova Scotia: Must be at least 19 to purchase

Prince Edward Island: Must be at least 19 to purchase

Newfoundland and Labrador: Must be at least 19 to purchase

Yukon: Must be at least 19 to purchase www.tweed.comand

Despite this neatly gathered list that makes it appear as though legal weed is easy to access for all. There really aren’t enough legal vendors in any province to completely serve those who currently use the black market. Therefore, so many illegal dispensaries have been left to run. Hopefully, their days are numbered, and more investors get into the marijuana market. The more that happens, the more  shady dispensaries will disappear. More vendors should also mean more competitive pricing, but for now, most pot smokers are still heading to their local dealer, and despite the long line-ups of the few that really wanted to celebrate the milestone of legalization with a legal purchase, pot culture hasn’t really changed much in Canada just yet.



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