Online retailers are saving patients thousands of dollars on
medicinal cannabis products.
March 7, 2018, Edmonton AB – The black market has taken on a new moniker. It is now known as the grey market. This lighter version of the original black market is an unusual place, where businesses run in a virtual purgatory, and limited in their ability to scale up because of a lack of federal licensing that would give them some classification. This is a place where the dealers happen to be your first cousins or people you know and trust and may have procured your cannabis from for decades, and not the criminals, and organized crime gang members the government would choose you to believe runs the cannabis underworld. This is a world of otherwise law-abiding folks you want to pay their share of taxes like everyone else, but cannot because the government has chosen only to legalize a few Licensed Producers so far, many of which are now run by ex-Liberals and former RCMP members. The criminalization of cannabis may very well be the centuries worst tragedy, and at the grassroots level, many are referring to this as Criminalization Part 2. In speaking with members of the medical cannabis community, one is quick to note that most are disappointed in the way the government has overtaken the industry and cut out the ma and pa farms that provided medical cannabis illegally for so many years.
How did Canadians allow so much harm, to come to so many people, for so long?
The answer is complex to be sure. However, the ramifications are so massive that they put the country behind in cannabinoid research by decades. The criminalization of cannabis took away 100 years of modern medical studies on the miracle plant. Pharmaceutical companies ran a smear campaign against cannabis in the first few decades of the 20th century that reached millions of uninformed Canadians and left them without legal access to the worlds most widely used medicine.
However, the times they are a-changing.’
In 2000 the Canadian government legalized medical cannabis on a limited scale. Since then the plant has made a comeback and will be legalized recreationally this year.
However, what has happened to the medical patients? It turns out the government has set up a network of Licensed Producers, from whom all medical cannabis must purchase, and who have had open season for almost two years signing these patients up, sometimes locking them into purchasing from them only for up to a year.
Veterans, who have some insurance coverage, can claim their cannabis, but it is shown that in at least one instance, the Licensed Producers were inflating their prices to veterans and even ran a separate website just so that they would not see the real prices.
However, since 2000, in Canada, cannabis has been storming back into the forefront of our culture. It is a defining quality for more than 10 million Canadians. Moreover, soon it will be sold in retail…err…government-run monopolies, except in Alberta and BC. The latter two provinces have chosen to have private retail as well.
One thing missing in this picture
The internet today boasts thousands of online cannabis sites from all over the world. In Canada, at least, it seems like anyone with a bag of weed has their storefront. Last year we counted about 60 sites. This year we stopped at 600. That is a huge increase in stores. All are using Email Interac to conduct transactions and Canada Post for delivery services.
The difference between the newly established regulated market, and the unregulated, privately owned and operated online dispensaries, is that one of them has lower overhead and therefore lower prices. Let’s do the math. Most Licensed Producers charge around $6- $8/gram for medical-grade cannabis. However, online, right now, anyone can buy much higher quality medical cannabis for about a third of the price charged by Licensed Producers. We found many sites like BLAZ as well as many others that boast prices as low as $2/gram, and that includes delivery too. Medical patients on fixed incomes have no choice but to find more economical solutions when it comes to acquiring their medicines. The market dictates the existence of private online retailers and dispensaries. Their costs are lower, so the patient’s costs are too.
What about the patients?
So, what is occurring, is that patients are signing up for their medical card from a Licensed Producer. They place one order (to get their actual card that shows they are legal) and then they spend their money online afterwards where prices and quality and selection are far better than the LP’s menu.
The government intends to shut down these online retailers but how they will do that has yet to be determined. Most of these shops are cleverly hidden via VPM’s and hidden IP’s. They rarely disclose their true names and addresses, and even if their site got shut down, it would take them seconds to open a new one, with even more security. This is how it went with the Silk Road and the dark web markets. The US federal government shut down the Silk Road in 2013, and a month later there were 40 new markets up and running. Governing the internet is a huge undertaking and whether the Canadian government will direct resources to this futile endeavour is yet to be known.
Take out one and forty take its place
By taking out the king daddy, they opened the market for everyone else to get into the game and get their share of the Silk Roads market. The same thing will happen in Canada if the government tries to crack down on online cannabis retailers, shut one down, and ten more take its place. This may be the biggest hole in the government’s plan to monopolize the cannabis market. The steady recreational users are already used to same-hour delivery in most cities, and they already have access to thousands of unique cannabis products through the online stores. It is doubtful that plopping up a few government retail outlets and a website is going to affect the grey market at all. It did not work in the US. Moreover, it probably won’t here for many years. Certainly, on a long enough timeline, everyone will fall in line and use government-controlled dispensaries, but that will be years away.
More things change – the more they stay the same
Truer words there are not, than this referencing cannabis legalization. The people of the land are going to notice the less actual cash rolling around as the industry is now heavily taxed and that is creating a shortage of money at ground level, which is where most Canadians live. If you have three garages, you probably don’t smoke much pot. Not enough for sure to impact the countries expected 10-Billion-dollar cannabis industry.
It is most interesting for sure since not much is going to change as far as government involvement is concerned. The stakes are high in this one, and they have no choice but to monopolize it to their advantage. Every industry with insane profits, the government puppeteers like a pro. Buy at what cost though does it happen? The claims the government uses to push their mandate forward are the common ones, like protecting our children and wiping out the black market, when in fact no children have ever been hurt by cannabis but rather by cannabis criminalization. Moreover, the only reason there is a black market is because the government kept the archaic laws in place for so long.
5000 years of cannabis use cannot be wrong
For over 5000 years it has been shown that humanity had used cannabis for its health-giving properties and to manage pain organically. Then 100 years ago that changed. The result of that decision is why we are at this point today.
Canadians are more than able to govern their cannabis usage and growing on their own. One plant in the garden would be more than enough for a whole family’s needs for months. Just like an aloe vera plant, cannabis could have been a staple in every home, with children being brought up around the plant and taught how to respect it properly. However, instead, we end up with cannabis factories, giant behemoths of agricultural output, that are now supplying the medical community with claims of safety and compliance to protect us. When in reality, the plant grows nicely with a little water and sunshine, just like every other plant on earth.
In the end, people could look back on black market cannabis as freedom they lost to legalization.
Author: Helen Back