How to buy legal weed in the online era
Medical cannabis is now legal in a majority of US states — 28 plus DC, to be precise. As the legalization movement continues to gain momentum, buying weed “over the counter” is easier than ever. You no longer have to “know a guy”; you just need to know an app. And we’re not talking about scouring the Dark Web for black market drug bazaars. These days, getting cannabis delivered to your door is only marginally tougher than signing up for Amazon Prime.
Unless you’re lucky enough to already live in one of the seven states that have legalized recreational cannabis, the first thing you’ll need to do is acquire a medical cannabis license to treat the valid medical condition that you are suffering from. If you’re not sure whether you have a qualifying condition, you can find out here. Obtaining a license is especially easy to do online in California, where apps like EazeMD and NuggMD offer discounted evaluations that can be completed in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite so simple in other states and you’ll likely have to make an in-person appointment instead. Luckily, sites like Medical Marijuana Doctors and Leafly maintain up-to-date listings of local doctors, as well as pricing and office hours. In some cases you can even make your appointment online too. How easy is that?
Once you have been legally empowered to purchase medical cannabis, it’s time to educate yourself about what you’re about to put in your body. Once again, your two best options are Leafly and Massroots, both of which offer in-depth strain guides that will present you with a good deal of factual knowledge — at least a lot more than a list of strain names like Blue Dream, Green Crack and Sour Diesel will. Both sites also allow you to search for strains based on your medical condition or the desired effects you wish to achieve. You can even research the ever-growing range of edibles, from THC-infused honey sticks to intimate massage oils, and concentrates like oils, crumbles, waxes and shatters.
If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for on either of those sites, you’re still in luck, because this is the internet. Classic stoner mags like High Times have long since made the jump to digital and have been joined by a plethora of reputable sites like Cannabis News, which aggregates stories from various wire services. There’s also The Cannabist, which covers both breaking news and the wider stoner culture, and The Merry Jane, a news-and-features site started by Snoop Dogg.
Now that you have your license and know what you’re doing, it’s time to score some weed. Relax, it’s 2017: the process is pretty mundane at this point. On one hand, you can schlep over to the nearest dispensary and stand in line. On the other hand, you could just pull out your phone and have your order delivered to your front door. A number of dispensaries, like The Green Cross and Medithrive in San Francisco, offer online ordering and GrubHub-style delivery.
Additionally, outfits like SpeedWeed in LA, Eaze and Meadow all offer dedicated delivery services, and sites like Where’s Weed and Weed Maps will point you to reputable third parties. Unfortunately, as with online recommendations, the law on deliveries varies from state to state (and sometimes city to city), so make sure you know which side of the law your delivery guy is on.
Finally, we get to the good part: partaking. But I swear to all that is good and stony, you will put that homebrew honeybear bong down right now. You just went through all that trouble to get a license, educate yourself, find a dispensary, and buy some weed using your pocket computer and you’re going to smoke it out of a … is, is that a goddamn apple? That’s like cooking a Wagyu steak to well-done and then slathering it in ketchup. I mean, we’re living in the 21st century. We’ve got AI assistants and self-driving cars and you want to smoke weed that has been scientifically engineered to be as potent as possible, and tenderly grown in a state-of-the-art hydroponic farm, out of an empty soda can like it’s 1983. For shame.
See, there’s this new thing called vaping, which vaporizes the active ingredients (namely THC and the cannabinoids) of the flower without combusting the actual plant matter itself. That way, you get all of the beneficial effects without the gross tar and carcinogens.
There are a plethora of both tabletop and handheld vaporizers on the market today. Marquee brands like Volcano, Vape Xhale and Pax are generally both safe bets, but expect to pay a premium price for their premium performance. If you can’t afford those, here are some things to look for in your vapes:
- Always go for convection heating elements over conduction coils if at all possible. The coils tend to burn out quickly and get gummed up with concentrate.
- Put the torch down. If you’re getting into dabs, you’ll be far better (and more safely) served by upgrading to an e-nail like the White Rhino Torrid, which retrofits your existing water pipe into a dabbing rig, or the Dr Dabber Boost and Source Nail, which allow you to do honest-to-goodness dabs while on the go.
- Avoid knockoffs. There are a ton of cheap vapes circulating online, so make sure you know what you’re buying before reaching for your wallet. The Wirecutter is always a good resource in these matters.
With these online resources, you should be able to better understand — and more responsibly enjoy — the wondrous world of semi-legalized weed using only your smartphone. Finally, you can stop tipping your delivery guy in nugs.