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By Ryan Elmore

As the legal cannabis industry grows, it’s no surprise that the shady black market has changed directions as well. Instead of the image of a sketchy “drug deal” going down on a street corner or in an alleyway, much of the cannabis black market is now handled online.

Whether it’s through social media or other sites, cannabis is easier to find on the internet now than ever before. But while a lot of the products available online may look legitimate — complete with the same packaging, branding, and warnings as you’d get by going into a perfectly legal dispensary in California — they’re actually just high-level illegal counterfeits.

With an industry as big and popular as legal cannabis, it was inevitable that the frauds and counterfeiters would eventually be cashing in with their illegitimate offerings. It’s happened to countless major industries so far, and will likely continue to happen with anything that becomes popular in the future. What’s different about the counterfeit cannabis market though is that a lot of the products are effectively an inside job.

Compared to the rigorous testing and licensing necessary to sell legal cannabis, many producers are willing to push compliance aside for at least a portion of their harvest as a way to quickly and easily recoup expenses. That cannabis then gets repackaged into what looks like an official presentation and sold online as an imitation of any number of major legal brands — all while the consumer is none the wiser.

Thankfully, Gladbrook Holdings has avoided that issue by keeping a watchful eye over each of our production facilities. As a compliance-oriented cannabis brand, we’ve never even considered taking the quick “smash and grab” buck by illegally selling our cannabis or dealing with international products. After all, anyone who wants to be in the industry for the long haul knows what kinds of future consequences even a “small” mishap for a short-term gain could have.