Dispensary Purchased Cannabis vs. the Illicit Market

When cannabis is grown, harvested, handled, extracted, or stored, it can become contaminated. Some contaminants can be observed, such as mold or mildew, while others require a chemical analysis. Cannabis grown for the black market isn’t the same as a cannabis enthusiast growing for their own pleasure where they want to do everything they can to produce a healthy, high yielding plant to enjoy.   

It would help if you took some time to think about the growing process behind many of the strains found on illicit cannabis markets.

In the absence of guidelines, growers are free to use whatever means necessary to increase yields from each plant, which could mean using banned chemicals in production. 

Consumers cannot tell whether a strain has been adequately flushed without stringent guidelines like those governing the legal cannabis market. A strain that hasn’t been appropriately flushed (to remove the chemicals it was created with) could have an unpleasant chemical taste and smell and ultimately result in a substandard strain. 

A number of the trichomes on illicit cannabis will be diminished by repeated handling and packaging as it passes from dealer to dealer during the transportation and rebagging process. Additionally, the passing of cannabis through multiple hands means a higher chance of bacteria, causing mold and mildew. 

Although Canada’s legal cannabis market undergoes strict measures by Health Canada to ensure the safe handling, packaging, and transportation of strains, none of these factors are part of the illicit marijuana trade.

While there were initially few legal cannabis producers in Canada, and the cost of strains often exceeded the illicit market price, the number of producers is now over 770, and due to overproduction, the prices of strains are usually far less than those of the illicit market.

In addition, purchasing cannabis from a dispensary rather than the illicit market means helping support local businesses and our economy rather than funding the black market. As reported by mjbizdaily, approximately 700 million dollars are spent on the illegal cannabis market every year in Canada. You may think the money goes solely to criminals in the cannabis trade however, it frequently goes to gangs, mobs, and cartels which are also engaged in the sale of dangerous drugs, the gun trade, and human trafficking.


It is not just about ensuring safe growing, packaging, and transportation when you purchase cannabis from dispensaries rather than the black market but also about decreasing how much money criminals are pocketing. Support local businesses instead of buying illegal cannabis.