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Cannabis 101

How to Buy Cannabis in States Where It Is Illegal

June 13, 2018
With legalization sweeping the nation and year-over-year ballot initiatives boosting the movement, people in illegal states are waiting for their chance at the next green rush. Change takes time, however, and impatient consumers in areas where cannabis remains illegal or highly restricted may be wondering, “How can I get my hands on a gram?” without having to wait for the legal green light.


How to buy cannabis in a legal recreational state

Unfortunately, the short answer is that you shouldn’t. Though you know (and we know) that cannabis isn’t the evil substance pushed in the bygone D.A.R.E. era, obtaining it illegally has consequences you might not like—even if you don’t get caught. Below, find out why patience isn’t just a virtue, it will also benefit you and the cannabis movement in a variety of ways.

Leave the Black Market Behind

Obvious legality issues aside, buying cannabis from the black market does not ensure a clean and reliable product. Legal states have the luxury of testing everything from potency to pesticides to mold. Unfortunately, that’s not true for states where cannabis is outlawed, and if a consumer is immunocompromised in any way, a contaminated dime bag can create a litany of health problems or exacerbate an already growing health issue.


Cannabis Testing: The Importance of Independent Third Party Analyses of Cannabis Products

Purchasing cannabis off the black market can also lead to the indirect support of drug cartels. Though the purchase of black market cannabis in legal states has plummeted, cartels still produce cannabis to sell within illegal borders. The presence of cartel-moved cannabis increases crime rates, while legalized states have shown a near 40% drop in drug-related violent crimes in border towns. Worth the wait? We think so.

While You Wait, Advocate

Write or call your state government officials, senators, and representatives about cannabis legalization. State your case and be vocal, be present, and be ready for a little pushback. Legalization is ramping up, but that doesn’t mean entire generations are going to completely abandon everything they were taught in the Reefer Madness and D.A.R.E eras at the drop of a hat.


6 Ways to Advocate for a Pro-Cannabis Local Government

We know it’s frustrating, but progress takes time. Full legalization across the nation could await us in the near future. Until then, check out your local laws regarding cannabis and ask questions—demand better from your local, state, and federal governments regarding legalization and the benefits of cannabis.

Lead image: Dmitry_Tishchenko/iStock

Leafly Staff's Bio Image

Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.

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  • trashprincex

    Wowwwww. I thought this would be an article on how to safely and/or ethically purchase weed in illegal states. You know, something that would actually help people.

    Nope, just condescending preachy bullshit with a side of fear mongering, all while you smoke your totally legal joint and laugh.

    Using a misleading title to draw people in so you can shame them is unethical journalism and I have no respect for Leafly after this.

    • JoeShmoe86

      I agree that this was totally useless and reeks of clickbait. You go right ahead and smoke your legal marijuana while everyone just sits there and wait for something that may never come. Or even 10 years down the road! It was ok for you guys to purchase illegal marijuana when the law wasn’t on your side, but now that it’s legal for you it’s not ok for the rest of the nation to purchase it?! Take Pennsylvania for instance. You want them to keep waiting and waiting and waiting…?!

    • levi

      Try smoke shop employees. Them, cab driver, or bartenders will help find a bag of grass. College campus.

    • They do that because otherwise there’s a legal liability if they advocate breaking the law, which could undermine their ability to run the site which arguably has a wealth of valuable information. Look at the bigger picture before jumping to (negative) conclusions.

  • Christine

    There is no reason marijuana is classified in the same group as PCP, meth and heroin.
    But how will we keep the prisons full if we allow legal marijuana everywhere??

    I loathe this stupid country.

    • etowah

      Heroin should be legal and free here like it is in Switzerland. People aren’t dying there, they use, they have jobs and relationships because they are getting a safe product.
      The Law of Supply and Demand NEVER stops working and until an addict wants to stop, you cannot stop them. Laws don’t stop criminals, criminals ignore laws. The only way to stop the “Opioid Crisis” is to legalize Heroin, control the supply and quality.. and stop looking down on people over the rim of your martini glass.
      Most things could be legalized and quality controlled. Some things not so much… PCP shouldn’t be legalized, Quaaludes nope.. but the cartels aren’t going to make enough money off them for it to be worth their time. Psychedelics are sort of self limiting and anyone who wants them can easily get them. The whole “war on drugs” has hurt WAY more people than drugs ever did. That’s just wrong… then “they” say well, they get what they deserve. It really makes me mad because almost everyone uses some sort of recreational drug whether it is tobacco, alcohol, or whatever. I’ll live my life, thank you. The government’s concern for my health and safety is killing me and denying me the “pursuit of happiness”. Chronic pain… all day every day but what works for me and is safe for me is illegal in my state. Don’t get me started, lol!!

      • Tim Boyd

        Inspiring !

    • bystander

      Just jump on a plane (or hop a bus) and make a trip to California, Oregon, Washington State, Nevada or Colorado, Alaska, Michigan and Maine. All those now have legal recreational marijuana. Illinois just voted it in this week, but it will probably take a while to get it available in approved outlets. So, it’s getting legalized for recreational use state-by-state slowly but surely. But, don’t try to take any back to your home state on your return trip. What’s totally legal in Colorado for an afternoon of enjoyment could get you 20 years behind bars in Texas.

  • Erin Crabtree

    It’s too scary to publicly advocate in an illegal state if you can’t afford to lose your job! Unfortunately, because I’d love to.

    • etowah

      I’m retired and frankly have reached the point where I no longer care, “they” can kiss my arse! I am entitled to possess and use ANY herb that grows on this earth by BIRTHRIGHT. What arrogance for some other group of people to decide what plant I can and cannot use… at the same time, I’m not going to drive around with it or use it while out driving around. A little common sense goes a LONG way!
      What I once abused, I now use. 😊
      Back in 1970 we had a saying, “I don’t use drugs”… “I abuse them”! We did too. 18yo and immortal.

      • Paceride

        Hopefully Trump will legalize it federally because he thinks it’ll get him votes. It won’t but he’s stupid.

    • Joey Lyricalmindstate Reichard

      i find it maddening that people in oregon pay 40 $ an ounce and people in michigan pay 100-150 an ounce i’m completely jealous

  • Donida Rigsby

  • L̴̫̻̠͚̇̽̀͜á̵̠̗̜̏̂͜͝n̵̡̬͖̱̞͚͚͘ͅ

    i really expected at least one person to comment saying they’re the cart plug :/

  • anonymous

    I can’t buy weed in South Carolina and have severe epilepsy. I also work as a software engineer and can’t concintrate when I take pharmacuticals for this. To treat with CBD it’s taking 1000MG of product a day costing me $800 a week in treatment. In college I was able to stop seizures with a few bong or vape hits a day!!!!

    I’ve since given up on treating it, and if I seize while driving and kill a big family that’s the cost of them voting to keep marijuana illegal indefinitely here. I really wish I had a way to treat myself and live a safe and happy life, but my fellow neighbors would rather be hit on a head on collision by an epileptic than legalize marijuana. I hate my home.

  • Joel

    Not one word of the article addressed the headline.