Can You Buy Marijuana at Online Dispensaries?

Rachelle Gordon

May 9th, 2017


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With the advent of legal cannabis, many people are wondering if online dispensaries are a good option for purchasing their products. There are several websites out there selling different marijuana products, from Cinex bud to CBD capsules. But are these online dispensaries legit – and more importantly, are they legal?

Online Marijuana Dispensaries – a Hazy Area

People have been selling illegal substances on the Internet since its inception, usually through underground and anonymous sites that take electronic currency, such as bitcoin. These sites, often found in the so-called “Dark Web” are usually criminal in nature and can be shut down by government officials at any point. However, millions of people around the globe have found success buying and selling both cannabis and other harder drugs such as MDMA and cocaine.

The difference nowadays is that many cannabis dispensaries online are trying to be legitimate – and some are. The issue is that since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, the majority of online dispensaries are operating against the law. There are some cannabis dispensaries that offer online ordering and delivery in states where medical and/or adult-use is legal, but mailing marijuana products from state to state remains against federal law.

How to Tell if an Online Dispensary is Legit

The first question to ask yourself when looking into purchasing pot online is whether or not it’s legal in your state and to what extent. If you live in somewhere, especially where medical cannabis is allowed, then you may be in luck. Many medical dispensaries offer safe and discreet delivery, excellent news for patients who may be immobile. Some of these businesses include Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California and Kindman in Denver, Colorado. These dispensaries are not specifically online retailers, they just happen to offer these services.

If you are a Canadian citizen, it is far more likely that you will be able to purchase cannabis online legitimately. People are allowed to purchase medical marijuana online from one of the country’s licensed and approved providers. Other dispensaries are offering online orders but they are doing so as law enforcement turns a blind eye.

“We do have an age verification system and a medical documentation verification system, so all clients who sign up have to have medical documentation as well as proof of age,” explains JC (initials used to protect anonymity), manager of ZenLeaf Herbal Delivery in Vancouver, British Columbia in an interview with CKNW Radio. During the registration process they’re required to upload their ID and their documentation for us.”

JC goes on to explain that offering online ordering and delivery only helps promote patient access and convenience and that it actually helps prevent the many issues brick and mortar dispensaries face.

“It tends to help out clients who are elderly, have mobility issues, have crippling social anxiety, don’t like to go outdoors. We have a fair number of clients who are in professions where they don’t want to be seen going in and out of dispensaries, doctors, teachers.”

Should You Buy Cannabis Online?

The short answer – if you’re an American looking to order pot online from a state where it’s legal – maybe. It depends on if you are residing in a state where cannabis is legal. If you are in a state where cannabis is legal – or a medical patient in Canada – you may be able to legitimately purchase medicine. It’s important to note that many online marijuana dispensaries may be scam sites, or are selling products that are not actual cannabis. Do your homework before attempting to purchase pot online in order to prevent any potential problems from arising.

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Rachelle Gordon

About Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a Minneapolis-based writer. She was the president of her college's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and worked in Amsterdam for a brief time. Find her online at

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