Article by Greg Mercer, Waterloo Region Record
Offering marijuana for a fraction of the price, edible products and faster delivery, black market businesses are competing head to head with Ontario’s government-run online cannabis store.
These illegal outfits have exploited delays that have plagued the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) since legalization of recreational marijuana arrived on Oct. 17, offering a more convenient and affordable alternative.
To lure customers, some illicit websites are selling marijuana for as little as $3 a gram — almost a quarter the price of the legal cannabis being sold by the OCS.
Others are promising discreet, expedited delivery within 48 hours, much faster than the government service that in some cases has taken two weeks to process orders. And it’s all tax-free, and without the privacy concerns of being on a government database.
Some medicinal users with legal prescriptions say they’ve turned to these illegal online sellers because licensed producers are running short on medicinal marijuana.
“All of this compounds to create a situation where people feel that they have to go to the black market,” said Peter Thurley, a Kitchener-based board member with Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana.
“I’m partly using the black market myself, simply because it’s not affordable to get all my medicine from the legal market.”
Police across Canada say they are focusing their efforts on cracking down on the country’s illicit marijuana industry post-legalization. But early indications suggest they’ve got their work cut out for them as the black market increasingly moves to a new business model.