Weed is available seemingly everywhere in California. Folks are growing it in abundance. In fact, the state has surplus stock and not enough outlets to sell it, despite a cannabis dispensary in many locations and an eager populace. As a result, even the black market is thriving. However, not all cannabis is equal. Some is excellent quality, and proven so, while some is awful. Still some is frankly outright dangerous.
Legal Weed vs. Illegal Weed
There are vast differences between the weed you buy legally and the weed you buy on the street. You can tell them apart by the California-certified symbol you find on all products in the legal marketplace. This is important, because this logo, a marijuana leaf with exclamation inside a triangle with CA below it, gives you surety that the product is legal. It gives crucial information about it too, such as the following:
Licensed and Legal
Any cannabis product with the CA-certified symbol on it is legal and licensed. You cannot work with cannabis legally if you do not have a license to do so. While many consider this state overreach, profiteering even, the reality is that it holds growers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and everyone involved in the weed industry accountable for the buds that you ultimately get.
To qualify for a weed license in California, businesses must comply with specific health and safety standards. To maintain this license, one must adhere to these protocols consistently. If you get bad weed, you have recourse for action. You can hold those responsible to account, get a refund, and even sue should you get ill from mold-infected buds, for example. You have no recourse in the black market.
Every cannabis product sold legally must go to an independent laboratory for testing. This applies to all buds, all oils, all edibles, and every item with the CA-certified logo on it. If it has that logo, you know it underwent extensive analysis. This testing will uncover any dangerous chemicals, toxins, bacteria, fungi, solvents, or worse. If a product passes these tests, you know it is safe, free of all these dangers.
What is more, these tests give you valuable information about the weed that you buy. They will tell you exactly what active compounds are in it, such as its cannabinoid profile, its terpene content, and perhaps even its flavonoids. You will know how much tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, it has, along with its quantities of cannabidiol, or CBD, cannabigerol, or CBG, and others. It allows you to buy intelligently.
All legal products, being those with the CA-certified symbol on it, must come packaged securely. According to the California Cannabis Portal, all packaging must be childproof. All labeling on it must be clear, accurate, and compliant with all packaging regulations. This is to protect your child, even your pets, from accidentally ingesting your weed. It also ensures that you have all the information you need.
Cannabis packaging must be easily decipherable. The goal is for you to see a product’s laboratory results without too much scrutiny of the packaging. You should be able to find potency at a simple glance. Cannabinoid and terpene content should be highly visible. Packaging needs to be strong, durable. It must survive all distribution and delivery without compromising or contaminating the product within.
When Weed Has No CA-Certified Symbol
Uncertified cannabis is illegal. Although unlikely, you can still go to jail if police catch you with it, especially with large quantities of it. However, the biggest worry associated with illegal marijuana is its safety. Because those supplying illegal weed do not have licenses, they do not comply with standard safety regulations. In fact, they do not comply with any laws whatsoever. This leaves you vulnerable.
You do not know much about uncertified weed. You get what you get and you have no say about it. Illegal growers love using pesticides, for example, and usually illegal ones. They grow in unhygienic, mold-ridden conditions. They have pests, bacteria. You have no idea what chemicals they use, even less about the conditions they grow in, and nothing about the weed itself. You do not even know the strain.
Illegal weed does not go for testing. There is no law compelling enough to ensure it does. You cannot buy intelligently because you do not know its potency, its cannabinoid content, or its terpene profile. If you are using cannabis medicinally, this can be dangerous: There is no way to know if it has the right cannabinoids for effective treatment, or even if it has them in sufficient quantities to help you at all.
It is much safer to buy legally. If you use a licensed marijuana dispensary, then you can hold it liable for the products that it sells. A simple Google search for a “cannabis store near me” will give you pages of results, but not all are licensed. Therefore, not all are legal. Some are swindlers. Thieves. Others will sell your personal information to third parties, putting you at risk of identity theft or worse.
Know which stores stock CA-certified products and which do not. Know which have licenses and which do not. Check websites for professionalism, for licensure, for legality. You can also get valuable insight about suppliers by scrutinizing online reviews. Good reviews indicate quality products. Bad ones suggest you might leave unhappy too. Before you ever buy, make sure that you see a CA-certified symbol.