Anonymity and convenience are key drivers of potential increases in online cannabis purchases
The explosion of the cannabis market has resulted in a significant increase in Cannabis products. Because CBD and THC can enter the human body in different ways – ingesting, vaping, smoking – there is an increasing number of cannabis products available. Further, with the government advocating the online sales of the drug, the online market seems like a new gold mine.
An online avenue for purchases on any product usually results in a lucrative market. Cannabis will be no difference, as online purchases could certainly overtake any brick-and-mortar cannabis market. Several reasons make this a likelihood, chief among them being the anonymity and convenience.
Imagine a middle or upper class, corporate individual searching for a way to keep any marijuana use under wraps. The idea of purchasing cannabis products online will present a welcome alternative. Several scenarios create a desire for anonymity when considering the lingering stigma of cannabis use, driving a significant portion of cannabis transactions to the anonymous web.
The convenience factor also plays a role in any e-commerce success. The idea of being able to purchase cannabis without physically visiting a store is a desirable one. Those who live their lives on the go and have little time for visiting such shops will find it beneficial to purchase cannabis online.
The marijuana industry is already booming, and this being true with legalization available in only a minority of regional locations. As the market continues to grow, the online segment is likely to grab a significant share, driven by several reasons centered on anonymity and convenience.
A deeper look at the online cannabis market, its potential and benefits, along with where it lacks in comparison to brick-and-mortar stores, follows.
What is buying cannabis online?
From dried flowers, cannabis oil, gel capsules, and pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes – or “joints” – there is a variety of options to choose from. There is also a range of cannabis accessories such as vapes, pipes, storage containers, bongs, and grinders available for purchase online. Currently though, seeds and seedlings are not sold online.
With the online purchase process, the customer gets access to information such as the plant from which the product is derived – Sativa, Indica, or hybrid. They also have access to the quantity of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the “high” causing chemical) and CBD (Cannabidiol, the medical benefits chemical) and terpenes (the reason for cannabis’ distinctive smell).
Shopping for cannabis online provides enlightening and enriching information about the product and how to use it. Although customer information is generally required for the actual online transaction, a few states don’t require the creation of an account, allowing all purchases to be processed with the customer being identified as a guest. This has the potential of defeating the social stigma of marijuana use and purchasing given its ability to maintain customer privacy. Also, to keep the data secure, the personal information of the customer will not be shared with third parties and will remain in the database as prescribed under the law.
What proportion of sales of cannabis are done online?
According to a report by Deloitte one-third of cannabis customers are interested in buying online from government retailers or private licensed retailers. Although this leaves the vast majority of legal cannabis purchases to be processed in stores, it suggests a percentage of about 33 to 35 percent of purchases conducted online. As previously stated, the idea of buying cannabis in privacy is a sure driver of such a significant percentage.
Can you buy cannabis online in Australia?
Currently, one cannot buy marijuana in Australia. Although there are some websites that claim to deliver cannabis online, one must be wary of such schemes– they will likely result in the customer losing money with no delivery at all. However, medical patients are allowed to purchase marijuana seeds in Australia.
Further, synthetic cannabis is also available online in Australia, given the fact that it has been sold for more than a decade in the country. Synthetic cannabis is unsafe for consumption because, unlike the actual cannabis, there is no reliable knowledge of its contents. The effects can deteriorate one’s health condition, as experienced in Connecticut, United States, where 95 people overdosed on the substance in a matter of two days. Several synthetic marijuana users suffered bleeding eyes.
Why do some states/territories in Canada ONLY allow online sales of cannabis?
In October 2018, Canada legalized the purchase of marijuana for recreational use. Since October 2018, some Canadian states, such as Ontario, have allowed the purchase of the drug only from online stores because the private sector retailers will not open until April 2019. From online stores, one can purchase flowers for smoking and oils for ingestion. Though the state government of Ontario initially wanted to begin with physical stores, the plan was scrapped to focus on creating a private retail system of selling marijuana that works.
In all provinces of Canada, online sales are available whether via private retailers or government owned websites. E-commerce giant Shopify controls the sales of cannabis in 4 areas. Soon, as the government’s rules and regulations become clear, most Canadian states will have brick-and-mortar stores for purchasing marijuana.
Why do people buy cannabis online when they could buy it in store?
One of the leading benefits of living in the modern world is the fact that everything is available with the click of a button. From groceries to marijuana, today’s customers can buy anything online.
Here are some reasons why people prefer online purchases:
- Encourages private buying
A majority of the cannabis users don’t want their counterparts to know about their marijuana use. Even today, some people look down on those who consume cannabis, maintaining the age-old social stigma. Buying online will ultimately help the user avoid any judgmental aspects of society.
- Convenient to buy
In the fast-paced world where customers are busy in their day-to-day chores, going out to shop for cannabis can be difficult, especially for the working class. For those who don’t have the time and energy to shop from a brick-and-mortar store, buying online is the best available option.
- Buy at lower prices
In countries and states where cannabis is available online, it has been found that online purchases are cheaper than legal medical dispensaries.
- Choose from a variety of products
Most of the cannabis dealers selling in stores fail to display all their products due to lack of space. In doing so, they are unable to create a market for products stored in the warehouse. The opposite is true with online stores due to their ability to display a bouquet of products.
- Other benefits and advantages of online purchases
- Patients suffering from chronic diseases, anxiety or depression may find it difficult to visit store on every occasion to purchase marijuana. In such cases, online purchases present the best available option;
- In cases where there may not be a cannabis dispensary in the neighborhood, buying from an online source may present the only possible option;
- Online stores are likely to offer massive discounts and deals on marijuana products;
- Convenience is the summarizing factor that will help boost the growth of the online cannabis industry.
Who buys cannabis online?
Anyone who is above the age of 19 years can buy cannabis online. The person should reside in that province where the product will be delivered.
Things you won’t get when you buy cannabis online
Marijuana users cannot buy seeds and seedlings for personal use online. However, the same can be bought legally from an online store if the seeds are being used as a luxury bird food or fishing bait additives. Using the seed for any other means, such as planting or growing a strain of marijuana, is illegal. If you’re a cannabis seed buyer, research the state laws where you live to avoid legal problems. Also, cannabis-infused brownies and cookies will not be sold online for safety reasons.
Online purchases will always be a significant factor in the marijuana market, as it is with every other product. The convenience, product line, costs savings, and anonymity could help online platforms overtake physical stores. With a little bit of precaution, such as ensuring data safety and investing in a robust security framework, such a scenario seems likely.