Online Shops vs. Dispensaries

Stephen Andrews
15 Jul 2023

If you are not growing your own weed, one of your big dilemmas could likely be where to supply a stash of nice-smelling, top-quality buds. Is making purchases online better than visiting a local dispensary and seeing what you're buying with your own eyes? Or are dispensaries just too time-consuming for you? There are pros and cons to both ways of getting your herb medicine. And that's exactly what we cover in this article.

Why Buy Weed Online?

You've ordered your pizzas and tacos. That exotic tote bag from Peru. And all your socks and underwear in the last eight years. Why not order online also your weed, huh? I mean, especially now that you can...


One of the best things about making an online purchase of marijuana products, whether it's flower, seeds or topicals — it's the convenience of it. You are in the comfort of your home, just a few clicks away from your order, and it's very practical if you already know what you want and you've tried the particular product. 

Saving time

Time is money. Why bother driving to the dispensary and wasting an hour when you can do it in just a few minutes? However, some states have laws that say you still need to show up at the dispensary to pick up your order after making the purchase online.

Cheaper prices

Many of the cannabis goods that you find online can be cheaper than if you look for them at the local dispensary. Though, they might be skipping taxes and lab tests, thus the lower pricing. 

Why Avoid Online Shopping? 

Now remember that time when you ordered blue socks but they ended up delivering you brown ones, the color of dogshit. Really not fancy. 

Is it really legal? Hmm...

When you are shopping online, you don't always know who you are dealing with and sometimes you can't tell where your order is coming from. Public Safety Canada has prepared some information how to recognize untrustworthy websites on the link here

Limited offer

The online dealer may only have what they grow or distribute at the moment, which often is a limited number of strains, vapes or other products. Finding something very specific for your particular needs can be difficult. At the same time, the internet feels like the best place to browse for seeds or grow equipment

Lower quality

You have no way of knowing what kind of cannabis you are getting for your money. You could be buying something great, but you could also be getting no great shakes. If you purchase the same, you might notice a variance in quality over time. In which case, it might help to know the difference between good and bad weed.

Words of advice: Hopefully, you choose wisely which online retailers you trust and make purchases from. If someone is selling legal, high-quality weed, the product label should contain all the information about cannabinoid content, manufacturing, lab testing, etc. If a product is missing this kind of information, you might want to skip order next time. Depending what you are looking for, the internet can be a great place to supply seeds or stuff like growing equipment such as a grow tent, grow lights, nutrients, etc.

online cannabis dealers vs dispensaries

Why Buy Cannabis from Dispensaries? 

Probably nothing beats the feeling of visiting a coffeeshop or dispensary where you get to smell the weed and see all the stuff with your own eyes. Even better if the place has a room where you can actually try those buds. 

Make more informed decisions.

Each dispensary has budtenders with extensive knowledge of the products on the shelves. If you are unsure what to purchase or which cannabis strains can help you with a specific problem you want to treat with weed, just ask the personnel at the dispensary and they will guide you. 

You buy legal and tested products.

You don't have to worry whether the weed is really top quality or not. Weed in dispensaries has been tested for chemicals and pesticides (Unless they cheated on lab tests.) It also has a due date. This is all part of the protocol before marijuana can be legally sold at a dispensary near you. All pot products undergo extensive quality control to ensure they are the best buds and are safe for consumption. 

Diverse choice

Cannabis dispensaries have a wide assortment of products available for purchase, including flower, edibles, topicals, tinctures, capsules, etc. Online shops will usually have a much more narrow offer or only a niche of products you can choose from. 

What Can Discourage You to Buy Weed from a Dispensary? 

It felt like you paid a lot for weed when you could have gotten much more or significantly more had you used some other sources. 

Higher costs

Yes, marijuana costs more when you buy it from a dispensary rather than someone who sells on the internet or on the street. That's because legal states have all kinds of taxes. The excise tax for recreational use products is what really drives prices up and a lot of the time it feels like you are overpaying the product. 

Cash pay only

This is a total bonker in the digital era. But sadly, there is still no regulation that will support legal cannabis businesses so they can use the most basic bank services, such as being able to charge with cards. Most dispensaries operate with cash only, so make sure you have some when you stop by your local weed shop. 

Possession limit

Each state has set limits on marijuana possession, and you can only obtain so much from a dispensary within a certain period of time. Even if the dispensary wants to sell you more weed than you are allowed to have, the transaction will be in the system and they could end up in trouble, paying hefty fines. Just like yourself if you get caught with more than what you're supposed to have as per the state law

Words of advice: Buying weed from legal cannabis dispensaries is the optimal decision you can make now that we have legalization. Perhaps you will buy weed that costs a little more, but at least you get tested and good-quality buds. Purchasing products from legal operators is a way to support legalization. And if you are not a fan of the big dispensaries and fancy brands, look around for the small shops. Pretty sure you will find some nice craft cannabis flower that's the best weed you've smoked in years. 

Stephen Andrews