While buying weed online is becoming increasingly popular, an ugly development has reared its head in the form of bogus sellers who pocket the money and then disappear into thin air.
According to bigbudsmag, these scammers use mainly social media platforms on which they display “luscious bud photos” and once the deal is finalized and payment made for the order they cut off communication with the buyer and the marijuana never arrives.
Steer clear of advertisements from unknown “dealers” on Craigslist, Facebook, High Times, Instagram and YouTube. Their advertisements have also been known to appear on online weed-related comments forums.
Warning bells should start ringing if these scammers show little interest in the product, and loads of persistent interest in obtaining details about your credit card, home address, and other personal information. If you are lucky enough to actually talk to someone, as opposed to a transaction done solely with text messages, these “dealers” generally display little or no knowledge about the product.
They will insist that cash payments are made by certified check, money order or Western Union, all methods guaranteeing they remain anonymous and that you have no way of retrieving your cash.
But there are many legit online dispensary services available in California and other states that have legalized the use of recreational cannabis. They have online ordering and delivery services and, if using a company like Pot Valet, for example, customers will receive their “goodies” within 45 minutes of placing their order. This service is provided via an app and Pot Valet sweetens the pot with promo codes and special discount offers. They also have a very wide range of top quality products.
Despite scammers, online sales are soaring
Americans have grown so accustomed to online purchasing that buying weed has joined the ranks of items such as clothing, groceries, books and music, to name but a few of the available consumer products.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine recently caused a stir when publishing a study about on online sales of marijuana. The fascinating findings were based on Google internet searches using terms such as “weed” and “marijuana”, combined with wording like “buy”, “order” and “shop”.
The study spanned 12 years, from 2005 to 2017 and established that searches for buying marijuana online spiralled by 199%, with a staggering 2.4 million searches in June 2017. The study involved 44 states but excluded the six least populated states.
Marijuana is big buck business
ArcView recently released statistics that prove that marijuana is big buck business, despite the different rules and regulations imposed by different states that have legalized weed for recreational use. The research group for the legal marijuana industry says legal cannabis sales will:
- Reach $20.8 billion by 2021
- Average 26% annually
- Generate $39.6 billion in the economy
- Create 414,000 jobs
- Provide $4 billion in tax receipts
The legalization of recreational marijuana is turning into a rapidly spread gravy-train with savvy entrepreneurs launching convenient e-commerce services that enable shoppers to pick and choose a large variety of different strains, compare prices and place their orders from the comfort of their homes. This system also enables dispensaries to search for and buy products for resale.
Federal government’s spoke in the wheel
On the downside, however, is the persistent federal government stance that marijuana is an illegal substance scaring banking fraternities from doing business with industry operators and forcing the majority of deals to be done on a strictly cash-only basis.
Because credit cards cannot be used to buy weed, Alan Brochstein, the founder of 420 Investor, describes this situation as “almost e-commerce”. Consumers can order online for collection from a dispensary or pay cash when their order is delivered to their door.
Brochstein says the federal government’s anti-marijuana stance has impacted on the online payment methods. He points out that pot could remain federally illegal for the unforeseeable future and that it could also be a long time before Congress creates a safe banking harbor for industry players. Until such time as payment solutions can be created, purchasing marijuana online will remain “almost e-commerce”.