What's Legal

How to Spot an Illegal Cannabis Store

As cannabis became legal, the buying process became more sophisticated, however, the illegal market has become more sophisticated too. Buying cannabis illegally isn’t as obvious as you may think, it can feel a lot like shopping in your favourite store or on your favourite website. Luckily, there are a few ways you can make sure you’re buying legal cannabis, in-store and online.

Is the store I’m buying from legal?

For many illegal cannabis stores, at first glance, it’s hard to tell what’s legal or not. Here’s a few ways to spot a legal shop: 

Look for the seal

Ontario Authorized Seal


All legal stores must display this seal on the outside of their store, in a large (at least 17 cm x 20 cm, to be exact) and easy-to-see location.


Find it on the Store Locator

Not sure you’re shopping at a legal store? You can always double-check if the store you’re shopping at is legal with our Store Locator. Make sure you’re using the store locator on OCS.ca. If you search “cannabis store” on some popular maps apps, you’ll see results for both legal and illegal stores.

Is the website I’m buying from legal?

In Ontario, the only legal site you can buy recreational cannabis from is the one you’re on now (OCS.ca).

But, a lot of illegal online cannabis sites look legitimate. If you search for a strain using Google, you’ll often get results for both OCS.ca and these illegal sites.

Why should I buy legal cannabis?

There are lots of reasons to buy legal cannabis.

The biggest reason is quality assurance. All of our products and the places they’re grown and processed go through strict testing and cleanliness checks to ensure your cannabis is free of unapproved pesticides and harmful bacteria like E. coli, and contains the amount of THC it claims to. Find out more about legal cannabis and our testing processes here.

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