The RCMP Accidentally Endorsed the Hell out of Black Market Weed

Convenient payment options? Appealing products? Country-wide shipping? That's illegal, baby.
RCMP black market dispensaries
The RCMP made illegal weed sound great. Original image via Dudley Do-Right. Photo illustration by VICE staff. 

Canada’s federal police want people to know that black market weed is bad, so they launched a handy little campaign warning of the perils of illicit dispensaries.

The only problem is, most of the telltale signs they listed sound pretty great.

In a tweet, the RCMP cautioned, “This holiday season, know the signs of an illegal online cannabis retailer. If you buy cannabis online, buy from a licensed retailer.”


The signs listed are:

  • Requests payment by e-transfer or cryptocurrency
  • Packaging/products appeal to young people
  • Referral bonuses, sign up bonuses, or other promotions
  • Ships anywhere in Canada

Pretty freaking horrible, isn’t it? They even made a nice green graphic to boot.

So to be clear, if a dispensary offers: convenient payment options; colourful packaging that doesn’t make the product look like it contains cyanide; edibles; customer loyalty incentives; and excellent shipping (often there is same-day delivery), it is probably against the law.

They forgot to add that products are often cheaper and better quality than what currently exists on the legal market.

But what about legal dispensaries, you ask?

Well, if you live in Ontario, you may not have one anywhere close to you. But Ontario Cannabis Store, the province’s weed retailer, recently started rolling out same-day and next-day shipping in the Greater Toronto Area for $12 and $10 respectively.

As for online orders in the rest of Canada, you can only order from your provincial retailer. So, if I want legal weed products that are only sold in B.C. and I live in Toronto, I can’t access them.

We’re not saying that you’re better off buying from the illicit market than the legal one. (With vaping-related illness taking off in the United States, it’s important to be cautious about black market THC cartridges.)

We are just saying that the RCMP’s “warning” makes a strong case for that.

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.