The evolution of the black market cannabis in Canada

Published Mar 15, 2019 12:06 p.m. ET
Canadian Press, Cindi Phelps

Legalization of marijuana was supposed to eradicate black market dealers and make access to cannabis safer for Canadians. Instead, it seems that the government licensed dispensaries have merely become competition for the black market. While we are now seeing dispensary doors close daily, as landlords pull out of contracts for fear of looming charges forcing black market marijuana dealers to find another way to make a money off customers, a safer way.

Online black market marijuana

Illegal cannabis markets have moved online where there is less oversight and manpower to shut them down as forcibly as they could when they had raid-able storefronts. Transactions for black market marijuana are done in the form of e-transfers which are incredibly difficult to track. Websites are hosted by owners who are nameless, untraceable and even when forced to close up shop, they will pop right back up again. A quick google search for online cannabis store will show hundreds of websites that sell black market marijuana out in the open with seemingly no end in sight.

Why has the black market flourished?

For the most part, Canadians got were shocked when they first visited the government approved dispensaries and websites. With the price gap between legal weed and black market marijuana being close to 30% and the illegal product being the cheapest, it isn’t hard to see why so many have chosen to support the online cannabis store of their choice regardless of the legalities surrounding it. Orders seem to come on time and the selection offered is vast in comparison to province websites like OCS that only carry dry herb and very limited tinctures while the illegal competition carries everything including oil, shatter, concentrates, skin products, feminine hygiene products, edibles, teas, and more.

Risks of ordering from an unlicensed online cannabis store

The main reason these black market dispensaries have flourished is that thereis are minimal repercussions for those who are difficult to track down that are soliciting prohibited sales. While the owners of online cannabis stores may not have too much to worry about, those buying from them are taking a huge risk. Almost every single website you find will require an e-transfer as payment for an order before it’s even shipped. What this means is that there is no way for you to get your money back if for some reason your package never shows up. The bank won’t be able to reverse the charges and since the purchase is illegal and the owner is impossible to serve there is no real way to recover your losses. If the financial risk isn’t enough, then consider the lack of regulation governing black market marijuana. How it’s grown, the truthfulness of claims such as THC content, and the potential for contaminants like mold are all difficult to guarantee when ordering through an online cannabis store that isn’t licensed.

List of legal websites to purchase legal marijuana in canada

Below is a list of the leading websites that cover each region of Canada. Remember, they will not ship out of province so you must order from one that services your area.

British Columbia-






New Brunswick-


Nova Scotia-

Newfoundland and Labrador-




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