Buy legal, buy local
If you choose to consume cannabis, get your product from a legal source.
To find a legal cannabis retail store near you, visit the Map of Cannabis Retail Stores in B.C.
Look for this sign in stores or online to help identify legal cannabis retailers.
For information on legal medical cannabis, see Health Canada's webpage Accessing cannabis for medical purposes.
By purchasing illegal cannabis products, you may be supporting organized criminal operations that pose dangers to our communities. Buying cannabis products from legal stores helps strengthen local economies, with the money spent returning to local communities.
Legal cannabis stores get their products from federally licensed producers who follow industry-wide standards including testing for the presence of contaminants such as pesticides, mold, bacteria, and heavy metals before they’re sold. They are also required to test and confirm THC and CBD amounts.
Cannabis from illegal sources may contain dangerous contaminants and labels might not accurately reflect the THC or CBD content.
Illicit cannabis product testing
In February 2021, the B.C. Cannabis Secretariat, with assistance from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH), took dried cannabis samples that had been seized from illicit retailers and tested them at a federally licensed analytical testing lab. Results found that many samples contained contaminants and would not be allowed in the legal cannabis market. Read the blog that discusses the test results: “Unregulated Cannabis: Risky Production Practices Raise Concern for Consumers”
A subsequent report prepared by the B.C. Cannabis Secretariat builds on the previous findings and contributes to a growing body of evidence showing that when you buy cannabis from the illicit market, you can’t be sure what’s in it.
The study, Chemical Analysis of Illicit Cannabis (PDF,350.8KB), tested samples from two different types of cannabis products (dried flower and vaporizer cartridges) that were seized from illicit retailers. The key results of the study showed concerning levels of pesticides in both types of illicit cannabis products tested. As well, the advertised THC levels for the illicit vaporizer cartridges were false or misleading.
All legal cannabis retailers must take a responsible service training course to ensure that the sale of non-medical cannabis is done lawfully and keeps consumers, staff, and others safe from cannabis-related harms.