Cannabis labels are an important element of all cannabis products. They are strictly regulated and must provide a plethora of useful information. A product which is not properly labeled is illegal to sell – and illegal to purchase.
Fake cannabis labels which imitate legitimate ones have begun to appear on counterfeit and illegal products. Using illicit cannabis products is risky, unsafe, and could land you in legal trouble. The best way to protect yourself is to always carefully check labels. Knowing what to look for in a legitimate label will allow you to recognize counterfeits.
The Situation in Saskatchewan
Fake cannabis labels have begun to appear in Saskatchewan. Illegal cannabis from the black market is being sold with custom packaging designed to mimic legitimate products. The situation has recently come to the attention of local cannabis businesses.
An observant customer recently brought in a product with a fake label to Chase Ruttig, the assistant manager of Praire Records in Saskatoon. While the forgery looked real at first sight, it lacked a lot of critical information that must be present on a label. The fake package could have easily been mistaken for a real one.
These fake labels put consumers at a risk of facing legal repercussions. Counterfeit products are unsafe, untested, and illegal to purchase. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority has been informed, as has the police.
The local cannabis industry is in damage control mode – businesses are worried that this will negatively impact them. Reduced consumer trust could be very bad for business.
Those who are most at risk are newcomers to cannabis who haven’t had the time to familiarize themselves with all the details of real labels. To help prevent any incidents, local cannabis businesses have started to offer guidelines on proper cannabis packaging and labeling.
Differences between Real and Fake Cannabis Labels
Knowing what the differences between real and fake labels are will go a long way in protecting you from counterfeit products. Fake custom packaging varies in complexity and how similar it is to real labels. However, the large majority of fake labels and packaging have certain elements in common.
All cannabis products are required to display the cannabinoid content on the label. A batch code or lot number should be located next to the THC or CBD content. Fake cannabis labels often don’t contain this information.
One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a real label and a fake one is by looking for the excise stamp. These bright and shiny stamps can only be found on the labels of products made by legitimate, licensed businesses.
Should a label seem suspicious for any reason, Google the product in question. This will allow you to compare the labels and check for any differences. Using an image as a reference is the easiest and most effective way to spot any differences between real and fake cannabis labels.
How to Ensure You Get Legitimate Products
Buy From Certified Dispensaries. Legitimate dispensaries are licensed. Always check the veracity of the licenses and certifications online. A business without a license is neither a dispensary nor legal. When you do your research ahead of time, most potential mistakes are easily avoided.
Illegal dispensaries do exist. There are a few ways to spot a fake dispensary on site. Legitimate dispensaries will always ask you for your ID or a doctor’s recommendation. A certified business will charge you for all the legally mandated taxes. A suspiciously cheap product could easily be a fake. Real dispensaries will also always give you a receipt.
Look for Fake Reviews. Online reviews are often used to make a product seem legitimate when it is not. These fake reviews can easily fool customers and give them a false sense of what they’re buying.
Knowing how to spot fake reviews will help you stay away from products that make use of such shady practices. Fake reviews often contain spelling errors, vary little in terms of content, and all share a similar date of posting.
Fake reviews often come from suspicious profiles that often don’t have a profile picture. If you suspect a review may be a fake, keep these signs in mind and check the profile that posted it. These profiles usually only have one review – or they don’t seem organic for any other reason.
Research the Brand’s Legitimacy. This is the most important piece of advice, and it should be followed at all times. Whenever you’re purchasing a cannabis product, do your research on the brand. Using the internet can quickly let you know if a business is legitimate and legal.
Legitimate brands offer FAQs and customer service on their website. Legitimate sellers will be happy to answer all of your questions clearly, free of charge. Legitimate sellers have the contact information which is easy to find.
Watch out for Unsubstantiated Claims and Unrealistic Details. Legitimate cannabis products have strict regulations on what they can and cannot claim to achieve. Because cannabis hasn’t been fully studied, a lot of fake products contain unsubstantiated claims and details.
These claims and details are often unrealistic and vague. Be careful of unconditional guarantees. Any claims which cannot be tested or certified are false. Claiming that a product can “cure” anything is false and very illegal. Any type of extreme language that seems unlikely to be true is a sign of a counterfeit or fake.
Educate Yourself About Red Flags. Red flags are details that automatically let you know that a product isn’t legitimate. Knowing what these signs are will help you tell the difference between legal, legitimate products and illegal, unsafe fake products.
A lack of certifications, sketchy or incomplete details, abnormally low prices, suspicious documentation, and vagueness are the most common red flags. If you spot any of these details, step back and evaluate the situation carefully.
The experience of buying legitimate cannabis products is in no way stressful or sketchy. Be vigilant – if something seems off or out of place, go with your gut.