A few years ago, the idea of walking into a legal cannabis store seemed like a pipe dream to Canadian pot users, no pun intended. However, now that weed is finally legal and licensed cannabis stores are a reality, it appears as though they're struggling to live up to the hype. Many of Ontario's legal cannabis store reviews are far from glowing, for all kinds of reasons.
It’s no secret that Ontarians have been buying cannabis illegally for decades. Whether it be through an unlicensed retail store or their friendly neighbourhood drug dealer, people across the province have long been forced to turn to illegal alternatives. The legalization of weed was supposed to take opportunities away from the black market, but that’s exactly where many consumers seem to be turning to after being disappointed by what the government is offering.
Reviews for first legal dispensaries have been mixed, but a glaring pattern has emerged and it's hard to ignore. Complaints about poor quality product and high prices flood websites like Weedmaps, Leafly, and Yelp about Ontario's dispensaries. Take a look:
Many of the reviews also praise black market suppliers which, according to reviewers, offer better prices and superior cannabis. According to a report by the National Post, only $307 million worth of legal weed has been sold over the last three months which includes both recreational use and medical consumption following the province’s legalization of cannabis. The black market has sold an estimated $1.17 billion according to Statistic Canada.
“Sales and revenues have been absolutely horrible post-legalization,” a special situations analyst at PI Financial, detailed to the National Post. “Clearly the market is overpriced, and many of these companies have gotten ahead of themselves in valuations.”
The legal cannabis industry is still learning how to thrive, so it’s understandable that the black market has a leg up on the competition. However, the slow start is nevertheless a little disheartening.