The cannabis industry continues to grow and change as more states approve legalization.
This includes the way that people purchase their favorite cannabis products, with more and more consumers relying on cannabis delivery services than ever before.
Buying weed online exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with several states passing emergency laws to permit cannabis delivery.
The trend hasn’t shown signs of slowing down, even as the world opens back up. Consumers love the convenience of having cannabis brands right at their fingertips, with many delivery services promising to get you your bud fastest than the local pizza place.
But how do you know if the cannabis delivery service you find online is the real deal? And is it as easy as it seems? Read on for a full breakdown of how to buy weed online.
If you buy weed online from STIIIZY, you know you're getting the real deal.
Can you buy weed online? Is it legal?
The short answer is that it depends on where you live. As we mentioned above, more states than ever now permit cannabis delivery due to the pandemic.
California, Nevada, Colorado, and Michigan have emerged as leaders in cannabis delivery. However, individual communities may have the right to opt-out of these laws, so it’s important to research the exact laws in both your city and state.
Some states only allow medical marijuana delivery, such as Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Utah.
Medical patients may also pay fewer taxes and have access to a wider variety of products, so if you think you may qualify for a medical card, it may be worth exploring.
So-called “grey markets,” like Washington, D.C., have seen cannabis legalized but do not yet have licensed dispensaries and delivery services.
However, people have found loopholes and are operating weed dispensaries in a quasi-legal framework relying on a “gift with purchase” to sell marijuana products.
While technically not illegal, these grey market businesses do not have to submit to testing standards so consumers should proceed with caution.
Do you live in a state where there's a cannabis shop in every neighborhood?
Photo by Damian Barczak on Unsplash
What to know about cannabis dispensaries and brands
If you’re like the vast majority of consumers out there, you may be curious if there are ways to tell which cannabis brands and retailers are legit.
With so many smoke shops, dispensaries, and delivery services popping up, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how the cannabis you enjoy makes its way through the supply chain (note that every state is different in how things work but this will give you a general idea):
Every company that touches the plant, whether they grow it, process it, transport it, or sell it, needs a license from their state regulators.
Some companies are “vertically-integrated,” meaning they have licenses for multiple steps in the cannabis chain.
Others only have certain types of licenses and develop relationships with other players to complete the chain.
Brands may or may not have their own cannabis farms; many source flower from partner farms or “white label.”
Companies who make things like vape pens or edibles will typically work with a processor to turn the cannabis flower they purchase from a partner farm into the oil they will use in their products or they may purchase oil that has already been created.
Once a brand has all the components of its product, it will complete the manufacturing and package for sale through a licensed facility.
Many states require these finished goods to then travel to a dispensary via a licensed distributor, adding yet another step in the chain.
These distributors are a key part of cannabis delivery services. Not all brick-and-mortar dispensaries have a license to distribute their products, so they may rely on contracted partners to get the goods to the people who order from home.
Some delivery providers do not have physical stores, instead operating out of warehouses containing bulk product from a variety of partner brands.
Some cannabis dispensaries look as elaborate and shiny as an Apple store.
Photo by Jan Zwarthoed on Unsplash
Choosing where to buy weed online
If you’re ready to try out a cannabis delivery service, it may be hard to know where to start.
One good place to begin is within your own network. If you have friends or family members that consume, they may have a favorite retailer and brand.
Google can be your friend, but it may not weed out unlicensed operators (no pun intended).
Many people look to Weedmaps and Leafly, two uber-popular websites that feature brands, dispensaries, and delivery providers.
And while these sites may also have some grey market players listed, the reviews and business information available are far more valuable than Google or Yelp.
Cannabis dispensary branding runs the gamut of sleek and professional to silly and stereotypical, so go with your gut when it comes to picking where you want to shop.
To figure out if a dispensary or delivery service is legitimate, they should have a license number on their website (usually at the bottom).
If you’re already at a store or placing an order, there are other ways to tell if the business is licensed such as the presence of security, checking of IDs, tamper-proof and child-resistant packaging, and proper labeling on products that showcase testing information, potency, and packing date.
The steps for buying weed online
Once you have found a product or service you want to try, there could be a few different hoops to jump through before the delivery person is on their way.
If you found a brand on a site like Weedmaps, they will give you a list of the retailers near you that may have it in stock.
Most brands also have websites that can tell you which dispensaries carry their stuff.
Some delivery services have their own websites, others rely on Weedmaps or other weed-friendly e-commerce platforms like Treez or Meadow to facilitate the transaction.
You will be automatically redirected to these sites once you begin the ordering process.
Here’s what happens next:
Set up an account to buy weed online
You’ll begin by signing up for whatever service you’ve decided to use. You’ll need to provide basic information such as your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, and email.
Any legitimate delivery service will need to collect a photo of your ID. They may make you take a selfie with your ID to prove it’s you.
Any service worth its salt will have cyber security tools in place on the back end to protect your information, but just like with any e-commerce platform, hacks are possible.
You should never have to give your social security number or other sensitive information so if you’re asked for that, it’s an automatic red flag.
Payment method for buying weed online
The ways in which you pay for the cannabis you buy online will vary depending on the state you’re in, but in this industry, cash is usually king.
Some retailers will allow digital payments like Venmo or Cashapp; some even allow debit cards and use a special “purchase as ATM” tool on their point-of-sale. Tipping is customary but not required.
Credit cards are almost always prohibited. Because cannabis is illegal on the federal level, the vast majority of credit card processors won’t allow plant-touching businesses to use their services.
Delivery service when buying weed online
Once your order is placed, you should receive a confirmation text or email. If you signed up directly with a delivery provider, you should be good go. Your cannabis should be on its way.
If you ordered from Weedmaps, Leafly, or another third-party vendor, you may have to jump through some additional hoops: your order will be sent to a contracted delivery service or distributor, and they may require you to send another photo of your ID.
You may also receive updates from additional phone numbers or emails, but rest assured, your cannabis should be in safe hands and to your doorstep before you know it.
Receiving what you ordered after buying weed online
Once your information is verified and the delivery is scheduled, it shouldn’t take long to get your order. You may need to show your ID to the driver once they arrive, so keep it close by. If the payment is cash only, have the correct bills on hand.
The driver may be able to accept Venmo or another app-based payment method, but if they ask you to send the money to their personal account, that may be another red flag.
Your driver will likely send a text when they are close and once they arrive. You can have them ring your doorbell, or you may just want to meet them at their car.
The driver should go through the order with you to ensure you have everything you asked for. If the package looks good to go, you’re all set!
Buying weed online has become an easy and convenient way to get your favorite cannabis brands delivered right to your door.
Platforms like Leafly and Weedmaps make it easy to browse tons of different products, even if you have little to no experience in this arena.
While you may have to provide some basic information and photos of your ID to a few different places, once you’ve made your order, your cannabis should arrive within an hour or two.
Laws vary from state to state so always brush up on local regulations and always make sure you’re buying from a reputable operator before taking the plunge.
At STIIIZY, we only use premium flower for all of our cannabis products including our proprietary pods and battery system.