3 Ways to Spot a Cannabis Scammer
Collaborative Post by Wana Brands and Kiva Confections
Mark Zuckerberg hates weed.
Well, maybe that’s not fair... we haven’t actually asked him about it. But the two biggest social media platforms he owns – Instagram and Facebook – are really squirrely about the kind of cannabis content they allow. Imperfect and everchanging algorithms can sometimes handcuff legitimate brands and allow shady characters, including straight-up scammers, to shine. Between these challenges and the confusing, fragmented regulations that characterize the cannabis weed industry, consumers on social media can have a hard time knowing what canna-content they can really trust.
Kiva Confections and Wana Brands are two of the country’s most trusted producers of premium cannabis edibles, and we’re sick of our customers getting duped online. That’s why, although we’re technically competitors, we’ve teamed up to bring consumers three crucial ways to stay safe, online and beyond.
(Psst... Think you already know your stuff? Skip the lesson and test your safety knowledge to unlock 20% off a lockable, smell-proof Stashlogix bag!)
#1 – Look out for internet imposters
Some scammers love to impersonate trusted brands on social media, and with IG's new pay-to-play blue checkmark model, these bad actors are harder to detect than ever. Luckily, you can spot them right away by looking closely at their handles. Scammers will often choose a name just a character or two off from the real thing. For example:
It’s also important to remember that marijuana – any cannabis plant containing greater than .3% THC – is still federally illegal. Regulated brands like Kiva and Wana cannot legally transport their products across state lines. So, if someone shows up in your DMs or the comments of a legit brand’s post offering to do this for you, they’re either running an illegal operation or simply trying to steal your money... or both!
But the most crucial thing to know regarding social media scammers is that legit brands will NEVER ask for your financial info over social media. Both Kiva and Wana might ask for a shipping address to send you swag or a giveaway prize, but there’s no reason we’d ever need your credit card number to send you a t-shirt. So keep your deets to yourself!
#2 – Be careful ordering cannabis online
Regulated cannabis products, like the ones Kiva and Wana make, cannot currently be sold online and directly shipped to you. But some companies have found a legal loophole: hemp.
Bear with us, this gets a little technical. See, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp (defined as a cannabis plant containing no more than .3% THC) federally legal. Translation: products containing THC can now be federally sold and shipped as long as the THC was extracted from a hemp plant rather than a marijuana plant (or a plant containing greater than .3% THC). Some companies go so far as to extract molecules like CBD and chemically alter them in a lab, creating synthetic (but still intoxicating) THC.
The problem is, there is ZERO regulatory oversight over these products... so it’s hard to know which ones to trust. You also want to be especially wary of Delta-8-THC,* which can ONLY be created in a lab – a process which may create harmful chemical byproducts.
Bottom line: do your research before ordering cannabis online... and when in doubt, stick to a licensed dispensary, where the products are guaranteed to have undergone lab testing and other regulatory considerations.
*Not to be confused with Delta-9-THC, which does occur naturally in the plant.
#3 – Learn to spot phony products in the wild
It happens: sometimes people buy legal cannabis products and resell them in states where cannabis is not actually legal. Sometimes these folks also try to pass off phony products as ones from legitimate companies.
Even in some states where weed is legal, like New York, the rules are so poorly enforced that it’s possible to find weed in non-licensed, non-regulated retail locations, like bodegas or gas stations.
Both Kiva and Wana have received complaints about ineffective products, only to learn that customers have been sold fake versions of the real deal. The best way to avoid being one of these unlucky scam victims is to only purchase cannabis at licensed dispensaries... no corner stores or random strangers behind the bar.
But, if you feel you must go outside the protective walls of your neighborhood dispo, here are a few, almost-as-useful tips:
- Check the company’s website to see if they operate in your state.
- Check the package for a white sticky label, which will include testing info and a license number.
- Make sure the package is sealed with plastic wrap or similar.
Broken seals, wonky-looking labels, or homemade edibles are all red flags!
The Bottom Line:
We don’t want you to be scared to buy cannabis, especially if you’re doing it through legit channels (I.e. your friendly neighborhood dispensary). But it can never hurt to brush up on your safe shopping techniques – and if you ever have questions, reps from both Wana and Kiva are available to help. Just reach out via our Instagram DMs (remember: @madebykiva and @wanabrands are the real deal), or by using the contact forms on Kiva and Wana’s websites.
In the meantime: happy shopping!