How to safely access legal cannabis during COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking place, now is a more important time than ever to ensure you are purchasing safe cannabis to protect your own health. Governments have taken precautions to ensure that legal cannabis is accessible so that consumers don't have a need to purchase from the illegal market.

Legal producers are taking the necessary steps to ensure that products aren't contaminated with harmful chemicals and that they are packaged safely. Once the products are received by the legal dispensaries, protocols have been put in place to get products in the hands of the consumers with minimal human contact. Depending on the province or territory, orders can be acquired by post, delivery or curbside pick up.

Here are our tips for how to access safe cannabis during COVID-19.

1. Buy legal products to stop the spread

Particularly during a pandemic like COVID-19, it is critical to know that your cannabis has been produced in safe environments, and is kept untouched in secure packaging. Cannabis from the unregulated market may potentially possess mold, pesticides, or other unwanted adulterants that could harm one’s immune system. All legal cannabis is tested for these contaminants prior to sale. Many licensed producers like Aurora and Tilray have released statements announcing how they have increased their measures to keep products safe.

There is no assurance to product safety from the illicit market, nor is this the time where you want your cannabis product handled in unsanitary ways.

"Vaping cannabis products that are purchased from the illegal market has been linked to severe lung illness and should be avoided." Source: Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction

2. Know which online retailers are selling legal and safe products

While doing your part and staying home to flatten the curve, be careful when choosing where you purchase cannabis online. There are still many illegal online cannabis stores that look legitimate. They even ask for your age at login to make themselves look official. The best way to check that a store is legal is through the province's official website but the easiest way to spot if they are illegal is by the payment methods available. Most illegal stores can only accept Interac or Bitcoin. Legal online cannabis stores can accept multiple forms of payment including credit cards.

3. Retailers are making safe access available

Retailers are working with officials to make in-store access safe. Retailers have introduced new measures for social distancing in stores and have introduced new services like reserve online and pick up in-store, pick up at curbside, and delivery. When you do go pick up your purchase, remember to keep a safe distance from others. Experts recommend at least two metres or more.

4. Know which product to choose to reduce risk

Smoking and vaping can impact your lung health and the body's defense against respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 that reportedly cause infections in the nose, throat, and lungs. If you are sick, it's recommended that you don't smoke. If you are exhibiting symptoms, please abstain from smoking or vaping and contact your health services immediately. For harm reduction, this may be the time to try out new cannabis 2.0 products like chocolates, gummies, and drinks

Source: Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction

5. Sharing is not caring

If you are consuming dried cannabis or vaping, please don't share joints, vapes, pipes, or bongs. It has been reported that COVID-19 may spread through respiratory droplets released when you speak, cough, or sneeze and is also left on shared items like joints, vapes, pipes, and bongs. You may contract the virus by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, either by putting them in your mouth, or by touching them and then touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, or eyes. You can still share the product, but roll the dried cannabis in individual joints.

How to access cannabis in your province

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