Shopping For Legal Cannabis

Four Reasons Why Legal Cannabis Costs More

While prices on the illegal market can sometimes be lower, it’s important to consider why

Image of a young cannabis plant in a grow room



  • Growing conditions for legal cannabis are strictly monitored and regulated by Health Canada.
  • Legal cannabis undergoes strict and rigorous testing.
  • The exact contents in legal cannabis are verified and published for each product sold and can be tracked and recalled if necessary.
  • Preventative measures have been put in place to keep cannabis away from children and pets.  

OCS is Ontario’s only online cannabis retailer and wholesaler of legal recreational cannabis. While some of our prices (which include HST) might be higher than those encountered on the illegal market, when you buy from or AGCO-authorized retail stores, you’re getting tested, high-quality cannabis products. We work with Licensed Producers to price our products competitively based on a range of factors including market conditions, supply availability and the purchase price from producers.

1. Health Canada Enforces Stringent Growing Regulations for Licensed Producers 

The growing conditions for legal cannabis are strictly monitored and regulated by Health Canada as set out in the federal Cannabis Act. These regulations mean regular inspections of production facilities, growing conditions and product storage.

Health Canada regularly makes unannounced visits to Licensed Producers to ensure they follow these strict regulations. Inspectors examine the facilities and may collect samples of cannabis products, soil, fertilizer and carrier oils to ensure compliant growing practices. Health Canada publishes the results of these inspections on a quarterly basis, you can read them here.

Why it matters: Because the illegal market is not regulated, the full extent of its growing practices and conditions are unknown. When you buy legal cannabis, you know exactly where it was grown and that growing conditions meet federal standards. 

2. Legal Cannabis is Subject to Strict and Rigorous Testing

All finished cannabis products sold on undergoes strict and rigorous testing for harmful substances by federally licensed third-party laboratories. Legal cannabis is tested for 97 unapproved pesticides and harmful contaminants such as: E.coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Yeast, Arsenic, Lead, Mercury and much more. You can view the full list here.  

Before cannabis can be approved for sale, each product requires a COA (Certificate of Analysis) and a SOA (Statement of Attestation) outlining the product’s lot number with acceptable sample test results that have been checked and verified by a Health Canada approved and designated laboratory.

Why it matters: The illegal market does not have certifications or measures in place to demonstrate what is – or most importantly, what is not – in the product you purchase. Buying legal means all products are traceable by batch or lot if there are ever any concerns or issues.

3. The Exact Contents in Legal Cannabis are Published and Verified for Each Product Sold

Strict regulations and testing means that each product label clearly indicates the exact levels of the cannabinoids THC and CBD (as both a percentage and as a total percentage), weight, strain, package date and more — so you know exactly what you’re consuming. also lists the likely THC and CBD content of every product, along with other important information for your purchasing decisions such as terpene profile and plant type, allowing you to make informed decisions about whether a product is right for you.

Why it matters: When purchasing cannabis from the illegal market, product information, if presented, such as the THC or CBD potency potential, strain and the terpene profile, is not verified. Without the strict standards that are in place in the legal marketplace, the illegal market can label any product in a way to induce you to buy it without any basis or accountability.

4. Child-Proof Packaging Helps Keep Cannabis Away from Children and Pets

Multiple measures are in place to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and to inform the public on the health risks associated with consuming cannabis. Child-proof, tamper-evident packaging ensures that your product can be safely stored away from children, pets and others who could inadvertently be at risk. All legal cannabis containers are clearly labeled with health warning labels highlighting the risks of cannabis consumption. Standardized cannabis warning symbols are also found on any product containing THC, a psychoactive component found in some cannabis products. Photo identification is required at the point of sale or delivery to ensure products are only being sold or delivered to an adult. 

Why it matters: The illegal market does not protect children and youth from the dangers that are associated with cannabis use. Protecting the health safety of young people is a top priority for the legal market.

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