One of the historical arguments used to dissuade people from consuming cannabis in any form was that it was dangerous, primarily because it was a non-regulated consumable product.
Unlike tobacco or alcohol, both governmentally regulated products with potentially harmful consequences to heavy users, cannabis could only be purchased through black market connections with zero accountability for the safety, composition, and quality of the product.
With its legalization complete in Canada, cannabis can now be sold through regulated retailers who must comply with the stringent rules laid out by the federal government.
Despite that fact, there is still a very active black market for cannabis and the many derivative products that are made with it. Purchasing cannabis through illicit channels comes with many risks. Legally grown cannabis faces strict rules for the pesticides that can be used and when they can be applied.
In addition, licenced producers face robust testing for mold, bacteria, pesticides and other harmful contaminants unlike the black market where grower's have more incentives to get their product to market regardless of the environment it's grown in or the harmful chemicals they use. There is also a growing concern about black market cannabis laced with potentially deadly fentanyl.
“The risks involved in buying black market cannabis are real,” said Robert Carroll, co-owner of the area’s Due North Cannabis Co. locations. “The legalization of cannabis in Canada has helped legitimize the industry and make products safer for consumers. However, there is still an active black market that poses risks to those people who buy illegal cannabis.”
Six months after the legalization of cannabis in Canada, reports suggested as many as 40 percent of cannabis users were still buying it illegally. For those still purchasing illicit cannabis, the Government of Canada suggests users are buying from friends, family, unlicensed online sources and the illegal market. According to available numbers from Statistics Canada, household expenditure on marijuana during the fourth quarter of 2018 totaled $5.9 billion with legal marijuana accounting for $1.2 billion and illegal cannabis $4.7 billion.
Robert Carroll, local cannabis entrepreneur, was a professional cannabis grower before getting into retail.
He suggests that black market growers are not adhering to the high growing standards demanded by the Canadian government.
“The use of illegal pesticides, poor growing conditions and cross contamination are a few things that worry me about black market grown cannabis. There are no standards in place for cleaning and sanitation which leads to bacteria and fungal contamination. With no testing requirements black market growers can use whatever pesticides they choose and apply them at any stage of growth – which is very concerning as in most cases these products are being smoked for consumption. Ultimately unregulated growers are heavily incentivised to get their products to market in the cheapest and fastest way possible. In licenced producers they are required to adhere to strict policies for cleaning, sanitation, and microbial and potency testing. Black market growers simply do not have the same controls and standards in place which means there is a big risk to consuming illicit cannabis.”
Carroll said that legal market edibles are safely tested and dosed accurately, with labelling that reflects the true composition of the product and accurate potency levels. Illegal vape products present an entirely different issue.
“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control people are winding up in hospitals with vape-related lung illnesses across multiple states with a number of cases related to the use of illegal cannabis vape cartridges,” he said. “ Unwanted bacteria and fungal spores can find their way into these products during processing and it’s a real health concern for users buying such illegal vape products.”
Whether new to cannabis or an experienced “chronnosieur” it is always recommended to purchase high quality tested cannabis products from a legal source. With cannabis supply meeting and overcoming demand in Canada prices of legal cannabis are now at historic lows. With so many retailers popping up around the city it is more convenient than ever to purchase legal cannabis products.
Due North Cannabis is proud to be the Soo's #1 Cannabis Retailer with the largest selection of legal cannabis products at the best prices.
To learn more about top quality cannabis products visit Due North Cannabis in Churchill Plaza, Pine Plaza or at their new location at 710 Second Line East.
They also offer pickup and delivery on their website. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for new product updates and daily deals.