The Dark Side of the Black Market for Cannabis Dispensaries

Women shopping at a Cannabis Dispensaries
Women shopping at a Cannabis Dispensaries

By JP Fatta, CEO and Founder of Kush Klubs

The Cannabis industry continues to be the new ‘Wild West’ and providing quality cannabis to consumers while competing with black market sellers continues to be the downside of today’s game. 

In California, there appears to be a vacuum, as the black market continues to lead due to black market pricing and consumers not truly understanding the difference in quality between what they get in a dispensary vs what they’d get from their local dealer. We all know, “street products” are much cheaper because it doesn’t go through the distribution channel. There’s no fancy packaging, labeling, or testing. This cuts at least 35% of cost right there, not to mention the black market doesn’t have taxation. 

Therefore, consumers can go directly to the black market, get cannabis for considerably less than if they were to buy from a licensed dealer, and all that means for dispensaries is a new opportunity to think of ways to market, bring value and educate consumers, so the black market isn’t their default stop.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all, things can shift in the blink of an eye. That means, for dispensaries to get ahead of the curve, showcase value, and eventually beat out the black market dealers, we must continue to grow quality strains, and also grow new business techniques. There are a few ways that can happen now for dispensaries everywhere. 

First, Connection. Connection. Connection. Customers are your business’ lifeline. Human interaction is key, whether it be virtual, because – CV19 or in person, eventually.  You want to connect and relate with them on a deeper level. Finding ways to connect with your customers, whether it be through SMS services, social media, or other services that create that constant feedback loop to your customers reminds them you’re there, you care, and you have a great product. In wake of this pandemic, adopting the best technology that does this and provides a way to personalize their experience, the black market wouldn’t stand a chance. 


Focus on building a community around you to create a sense of belonging. Let your customers get to know you and each other. Let them feel there is inclusiveness to express themselves to the fullest and flourish within the community. Cannabis is one of the largest industries globally and is positioned to be the single largest industry over oil right in the future. The age groups are also increasing to those who actually smoke cannabis recreationally and medically but because of all of these restrictions and these supply chains, the participants are having a tough time. Creating a sense of belonging and community will keep them coming back, despite price, because you’ll be creating an experience for them through community building.

Also, make everything you do accessible. Keep up with the trends for fast and efficient growth all around. This is what the vision is for Kush Klubs. Rely on new technology to open up a new competitive edge that boosts your business and keeps the foot traffic heavy. If you look into smart technology that makes the customer buying experience more seamless, the more customers will want to come back continuously wanting more! 

As a dispensary, you are constantly looking to expand by increasing your traffic, creating customer frequency, focus on building customer loyalty, and the ABC’s – ALWAYS BE CLOSING. Give them Value, High Quality, Low Prices, and Consistency. Whatever you have to do to win them over. Once they trust you, they will spend more with you. This level of competition in Cannabis is thrilling and can change you from sea dweller status all the way to the top of the Mount Everest of sellers and being champs.