Dear Herb: I ordered and bought medical marijuana through a licensed producer with a valid medical marijuana licence, but it turns out I don't like the product I've purchased.
Can I give it away, or sell it at lower than cost to recoup my expenses? Obviously, I would only give it or sell it to an adult. — Cannabis, Slightly Used
Dear Slightly Used: I'm sorry to hear that the medical marijuana product you ordered didn't quite pass muster.
You can absolutely give that cannabis away for free without breaking the law, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines:
- Like you said, the recipient must be an adult (19 years old in most provinces and territories, or 18 years old in Alberta and Quebec. Note that pending legislation in Quebec could raise the minimum age for cannabis possession in that province to 21).
- Never share more than 30 grams of dried cannabis at a time — that's illegal. (If you're trying to give away a different kind of cannabis product, such as cannabis oil, consult the possession limits on this Justice Canada website first).
You cannot legally sell your unwanted cannabis. Selling that cannabis to anyone, for any amount of money, would constitute an offence under the federal Cannabis Act, with potential penalties ranging from a ticket to prison time. (I imagine you'd have to sell a lot of cannabis to get sent to prison, though.)
Canada's legal markets for medical and recreational cannabis both suffer from the same problem: consumers can't see or sample exactly what they're getting before they buy it. Recreational cannabis stores and medical cannabis producers generally won't accept returns of cannabis products, unless the product in question has been recalled.
Ashleigh Brown is the founder and CEO of SheCann, an online community for Canadian women who use medical cannabis. In her experience, there may be a few other ways for unsatisfied medical cannabis users to get recourse from their supplier. Brown said she's known some licensed cannabis producers to offer refunds to their medical clients in the past, although that's by no means guaranteed. She's also heard of producers offering unhappy clients a promotional code for discounts on future products.
If you're consistently unhappy with the quality of the medical cannabis products you're buying, Brown suggests carefully documenting your experience and calling the producer's customer service line to discuss the problem.
"If there's an ongoing issue, we often suggest that patients either videotape or take photos of them actually breaking the seal on the packaging, so that they can say that, 'This is indeed how I received it, this is the condition in which the cannabis came to me.' And that usually is a good jumping-off point."
Brown also points out that you can repurpose your unwanted medical cannabis product by processing it into a different form at home.
"So for example, someone could take an oil, or even (cannabis) flower, and infuse it into a compound cream, something as simple as a glaxal base, or something available at their pharmacy, and make it into a topical," she said.
Or, you could process your sub-par cannabis flower into ingestible cannabis oil, or make it into an edible cannabis product.
"There are limitless opportunities to try it in a different form so that you can see if it works for what you're using it for," said Brown.
To avoid buying the wrong kind of medical cannabis product in the future, you could also do research before you buy by using various websites and apps designed to help medical cannabis users review and rate those products.
Good luck! I hope you find what you're looking for.
Got a question about cannabis? Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he'll look into it.
First, please check this list of questions already answered by Herb. Then, email email@example.com, or to submit anonymously, fill out the form below. Please include an email address if you'd like to be notified when Herb answers your question: