The cannabis legalization campaign was a passionate and arduous one that spanned decades, with members of the cannabis community promoting and advocating the benefits of the righteous herb for both medical and recreational purposes.
With further research into its promising potential and extended discussion working to eliminate, or at least minimize, the stigma associated with marijuana, the Canadian government finally saw the light and, in 2018, enacted legislation to officially make weed legal.
While this ruling only concerned regular dry flower, further legislation was put in place in 2019 to incorporate other cannabis-infused products, including edibles, concentrates, topicals, and vaporizer kits for recreational use.
With legalization becoming official, you’d think that that would be the end of the story, right?
Regrettably, there are many holes still remaining within these regulations that clearly illustrate how out of touch the government is when it comes to having a legitimate understanding of the average cannabis consumer’s needs.
So, why are Canadian consumers still not satisfied with everything surrounding legalization, and why is that prompting them to seek other, non-government-operated dispensary alternatives?
Today, we will be investigating just that.
Where Government Weed Falls Flat
Canada has long had the reputation of being one of the most open and accepting countries regarding the usage of recreational and medicinal weed, even before official legalization.
In particular, BC bud is still celebrated as one of the most well-loved and highly coveted variations of cannabis plants globally.
With this in mind, you’d think that legalization would bring with it a deeper understanding of the needs and expectations that consumers have surrounding their favourite icky sticky.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
While legalization brought higher standards for the safety, quality, and purity surrounding weed and weed-infused items, the government lacks the everyday know-how for what those working in and purchasing from the cannabis industry expect in relation to multiple different issues.
More specifically, there are three main areas where the government has missed the mark: pricing, product variety, and product potency restrictions.
These three factors are the driving force behind why most tokers decide to opt for other online dispensary Canada options in a sector of the overall cannabis industry most widely known as the “gray market.”
In particular, pricing is one of the most significant argumentative points for blazers, in that they are unimpressed with the gouging costs of government stores and dispensaries, and they have a point.
In a January 2020 report published by Statistics Canada, it was found that one gram of bud bought at government-operated dispensaries costs $10.30, while users purchasing from other weed Canada dispensaries operating on the gray market could get the same amount for just over half the cost at $5.73.
If you’ve graduated beyond kindergarten level math, you know that that just doesn’t add up.
These stats, coupled with the restrictions surrounding the controlled THC amounts for other cannabis-infused products, such as edibles, also means that you likely won’t get the best bang for your buck in terms of finding an appropriate balance between price and potency.
In other words, weed lovers with higher tolerances that require more THC to feel the healing benefits or psychoactive effects of their favourite herb are in a pinch if they choose to purchase from government-run dispensaries.
So, with this knowledge, it isn’t all that surprising that a mass number of cannabis connoisseurs opt to buy weed online through other market retailers.
Finally, even if you opt to purchase your weed products from a registered government dispensary, there is no real promise that they will have what you want.
There are a vast number of different products currently available on the market to suit anyone’s particular weed needs, including topicals, edibles, tinctures, capsules, the list goes on and on.
Now more than ever, tokers have the luxury of variety if regular flower just isn’t their thing or they’d simply like to broaden their horizons and try something new.
However, most government weed store locations stock such low numbers of available products that consumers are much more likely to find what they’re looking for in higher quantities elsewhere, which many choose to do.
That said, if you’re new to the game, how do you avoid these obstacles and ensure that you are purchasing budget-friendly products that don’t skimp out on potency?
Well, an acronym, actually.
MOMs, or mail-order marijuana services, allow weed lovers to order weed online, whether regular dry flower or other products, such as edibles, concentrates and more, and have it discreetly delivered straight to their door.
To illustrate the differences between MOMs and government-operated dispensaries, today we will be discussing two, in particular: Ontario Cannabis Stores or OCS, a government-regulated dispensary in Ontario, and an online dispensary Canada, Herb Approach.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
OCS vs Herb Approach
Both Ontario Cannabis Stores and Herb Approach are cannabis dispensaries that offer weed lovers various options for cannabis products, including flower, such as BC Bud, and Canada edibles, concentrates and extracts and accessories, including vaporizer kits.
Their websites are easy to navigate and understand, clearly outlining their available products and distinctly displaying prices, allowing users to simply and efficiently organize their purchase.
In this way, both pose as promising options for you to fulfill your specific weed needs. That said, one presents more advantages than the other.
Before defining which it is outright, let’s determine what each dispensary brings to the table, focusing on three primary areas.
As we said before, the Ontario Cannabis Store and Herb Approach both offer a vast range of products, ranging from concentrates, edibles, tropicals, and accessories on top of regular flower with websites that are easy to navigate to see what items are available.
Still, Herb Approach presents more options for items in a majority of categories in terms of overall product selection.
For example, compared to the 58 results that come up for CBD products at OCS, Herb Approach has a whopping 208.
Similarly, when it comes to edibles, the Ontario Cannabis store provides 103 options to Herb Approach’s 477, over quadruple the amount.
Not to mention, Herb Approach also features lip blams, body scrubs, and tattoo aftercare, none of which OCS offers.
In terms of standard flower, Herb Approach also presents more options to choose from in terms of the amount that you would like to order, with 2g, 3.5g, 7g, 14g, and 28g options. In most cases, if you were to buy weed online at OCS, you can order bud in 15 or 28g quantities, but not smaller.
So, if you’re looking to try something out before buying a larger amount, this could be offputting.
Most of us are likely no stranger to indulging our inner Tom and Donna from Parks & Rec and treating ourselves. However, there is no real reason for paying exorbitantly higher prices at a government dispensary for the same, if not lower, doses of THC.
In this way, the legal restrictions surrounding the permitted THC concentrations allowed in cannabis products is an area where government-run dispensaries fall incredibly short, as we previously explained.
In fact, they miss the mark completely.
For example, if you were to look online at OCS for a weed cookie, you will see a price of $14.20 for a pack of two cookies containing 5mg of THC, respectively.
However, at Herb Approach, you can, for example, purchase two milk chocolate-covered sandwich cookies for $16 with THC levels as high as 100 mg of THC each. So, for just $1.60 more, you can literally get ten times the amount of THC.
There are also limitations surrounding the permitted THC levels of other products, including tinctures, which, according to the Cannabis Act, cannot exceed more than 1000 mg per container.
This ruling ties the figurative hands behind legal dispensaries like OCS’s backs, with other market alternatives, like Herb Approach, selling tinctures with as high as 1500 mg of THC.
While it may cost a few extra bucks, if you’re looking for higher potency, it’s well worth spending the additional money on products that are considerably higher in THC levels to get more bang for your buck.
Exclusive Offers & Deals
Unlike other government-operated dispensaries, OCS does have feature deals for flower, vapes, and edibles.
However, Herb Approach goes out of its way to entice customers by offering consistent bargains and flash deals. What’s more, one thing that Herb Approach does that OCS doesn’t offer daily and weekly deals, providing heavy discounts compared to other conventional government retailers.
In fact, Herb Approach is so eager to provide consumers with the best deals that it’s one of the first things you can see when visiting its website. The various discounts and sales are plainly and proudly displayed on the homepage, making it an excellent option for those stoners looking to bond with some bud without breaking the bank.
Although the deals presented by OCS may sound appealing at face value, many of them display very minimal available products.
As well, in the case of edibles, it is also important to note that they still adhere to the 10mg rule. In this way, you will likely find a better deal on Herb Approach for a similar price with a higher potency level.
Another exclusive offer that Herb Approach offers that OCS doesn’t is a free gift tier system when users spend a certain amount, with free gifts supplied for spending $300, $400, $500, $750 and $999.
While these may sound like a lot of money, with consistent deals and discounts, it doesn’t take as long as you think to rack up these deals and qualify for the gifts, especially when there is no limit regarding how much you can order at one time.
A factor that is especially unfortunate when purchasing products through the Ontario Cannabis Store is that individual purchases are capped at 30mg each, meaning that you cannot order more than 30mg worth of shipping at one time.
So if you’re looking for some serious medication, you’re out of the luck at the OCS.
OCS vs Herb Approach – The Choice is up to You
While the purpose of this article was to evaluate the various offerings of a government-regulated dispensary as opposed to one operating within the alternative market, the choice of which to go with is ultimately up to you.
However, with the evidence that we were able to gather surrounding product variety, pricing and exclusive deals and offerings, Herb Approach rises above as the superior online dispensary.
So, if you’re like most other cannabis consumers and value potency and pricing and getting the most for your money, Herb Approach would be the way to go.
Still, the Ontario Cannabis Store offers promising options and an easy to navigate website should you choose to go with a government-operated weed store.
Keep in mind, though, that there is a 30mg limit for each order at the OC, which is a downside for those looking to order in higher quantities! If you’re planning on seriously medicating or smoking up with friends, you’re better off shopping elsewhere.
As always, happy toking!