Article by Peter Smith, Daily Hive
Toronto’s unlicensed dispensary chain, CAFE, has been making headlines and aggravating law enforcement for months. Yet, while the store’s four locations may be secured behind large concrete bricks — at least for now — the business is still finding ways to get its customers their product.
Last week, police made multiple arrests of individuals selling outside the forcibly shuttered locations, where they confiscated iPads, point-of-sale machines, as well as cash and cannabis.
Quietly operating throughout this ordeal has been CAFE’s delivery service. Found on the dispensary’s website and powered by the punny e-platform Potify.net, CAFE offers a hefty selection of dried flower, concentrates, tinctures, edibles, drinks, topical creams, and even branded hoodies — because nothing screams “illegal weed,” like a dark pullover.
For a country that’s using its regulatory power to make edibles as unedible as possible, the selection is pretty decent. Of course, nary a health inspector’s glove has been laid upon their offerings, so there is, as always when purchasing from a black market, some risk involved.
Accessing the store is easy. Anyone who attests to being of legal age can do so, but if you’re a customer looking for some Death Bubba pre-rolls or peanut butter cookies, you’ll need a piece of ID and a small measure of patience. It took several hours after submitting a copy of my health card before receiving an email confirming that I was ready to buy.
The actual shopping experience is pretty straight forward. (If you can order canned mac n’ cheese off amazon, you can probably handle Potify.) Products can be searched for based on name, price, or type, using Potify’s various filters. While fairly streamlined, there’s a lot of information on one page, and felt cluttered.
Customers click from a table of products, getting important information like THC content and background on the strain. Without any kind of certified testing, you’re really taking the store’s word for it. But if you’re a discerning smoker, with a love for the Cinderella 99 bred by Mr. Soul of Brothers Grimm, or prefer a “Diamonds in Terpene Sauce” concentrate, they’ve got you covered.
Prices are more or less in line with dispensary menus across Toronto. Dried flower prices float around $10 a gram, varying higher or lower depending on alleged quality, with some dips in costs when ordering more. It’s cheaper than a majority of the province’s selection in most cases, but still more expensive than what you’re paying if you have a “guy.”
There are two methods available on the service, mail or delivery. Picking up in-store was also once an option, but not something anyone should try any time soon. Delivery is offered all across Toronto, and where you’re located effects the cost. Shipping to downtown is $10 even, while the further out in the GTA the higher the cost.
A map on the e-shop breaks down the delivery costs for the different regions of the city — as well as shipping fees for the rest of Canada.