As with most emerging markets, the cannabis oil market in South Africa has exploded. Especially since recent court cases have been challenging the legality of cannabis in South Africa. Overall this is great news for South Africans and the South African cannabis culture, but as with any emerging market, this also leads to nefarious entities that are trying to take advantage of the uninformed who are now willing to use cannabis oil.

Cannabis legality in South Africa

Cannabis and all cannabis-related products (including cannabis oil) is still very much illegal in South Africa. But prohibition in the country has never been able to stop the production and sale of cannabis and cannabis oil. With all the buzz in the media related to cannabis and cannabis oil and the positives of using cannabis oil, the amount of people buying and using cannabis and cannabis oil has increased dramatically over the past two years in South Africa.

Not only has there been an increase in users, but also an increase in producers of cannabis products. This has also led to an increase in cowboys or crooks producing low-quality products that they are selling at inflated prices to take advantage of the uneducated that are now taking risks to obtain cannabis products. In other words, people are getting ripped off.

Why are people getting ripped off?

Because cannabis is still illegal in South Africa there is no regulation to ensure legitimacy or quality of various cannabis products. There is also a lack of information related to cannabis products available in South Africa, making it easy for scam artists to take advantage of the uneducated masses looking to spend their hard earned money on cannabis-related products.

This goes way deeper than just paying a premium price for a bankie of low-quality weed. People are being charged exorbitant prices for cannabis products because they simply do not know any better, and some are even being sold products that are labeled as something it is not. Olive oil being sold as CBD cannabis oil, capsules filled with anything edible that resembles the colour of cannabis extracts being sold as cannabis oil pills and low-quality bag seeds being sold as fully feminized cannabis seeds are just some of the horror stories I have heard.

The perils of the black market

The illegality of cannabis is helping the cowboys and crooks rip off good people. But just because everyone is being forced to use the black market to buy their cannabis, doesn’t mean that everyone selling is ripping people off. There are legitimate sellers out there that are not just in it for the money, but also because they want to produce a quality product and help people that have a need for cannabis products.

How to avoid getting ripped off

There are some steps that average Joe on the street can take to make sure that he is actually buying a legitimate cannabis product and not just something that is labeled as such.

Start close to home

These days everyone knows someone that uses cannabis or knows someone that knows someone. Start by asking a friend to point you in the right direction. Whether you want to just buy some weed to smoke, buy oil and extracts for dabbing or medicinal use, or whether you are looking for seeds to start your own grow, have a trusted friend point you in the right direction. As Placebo said: “A friend in need is a friend indeed, a friend with weed is better.”

We all know Google, use it

If for some reason you don’t have any friends that can point you in the right direction, you can always turn to the mighty and wise Google. There are vast online communities related to cannabis, cannabis products and cannabis growing, even in South Africa. You will have to separate the wheat from the chaff, but if you put in the time you will save yourself plenty of heartaches (and financial loss).

For the love of Jah, don’t simply start asking where you can buy an illegal product in public online forums (I’m looking at you Facebook). But asking around about price and quality in communities before actually buying is definitely the way to go.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Keep a level head. Remember that you can still get into legal trouble for buying, selling, possession, and transportation of cannabis and cannabis products. Don’t fork over your hard earned cash before doing some research or speaking to a friend in the know. Don’t take unnecessary risks and avoid “dark alleyway deals” and you should be fine.

Simply put if it sounds too good to be true, or if it seems dodgy in any way, don’t throw caution to the wind. The cannabis products you are looking for are available and out there, you just might have to put in some research and work to protect yourself and your pocket. Don’t just buy anything online because it’s labeled as CBD oil or cannabis oil, even if you see it on Bid Or Buy, Takealot or Want It All, because even on these sites things aren’t always as they seem.

Article courtesy of Gevaaalik and written by Ruan Stix Fourie is the founder and editor of the worlds most well known Afrikaans Entertainment, Humor, Satire and Men’s Lifestyle publication.