Buying marijuana in Canada is easier than it’s ever been. With legal cannabis having been around since 2018, more and more people are getting into the game of buying cannabis legally.

Credit cards have become such a huge part of our spending habits nowadays that it’s become natural to assume that almost everything can be bought with one. Whilst this is true for many things, cannabis purchases on a credit card can be a little tricky to navigate.

Finding a dispensary that accepts credit card as a method of payment can be tough, but we’re here to help. This should helpfully guide you on your way to buying legal cannabis without any repercussions for using a credit card.

Can the US border check credit cards?

Unfortunately, the short answer is yes. There’s no real way around this. If a Canadian is attempting to cross the border into the U S, it is possible that the border agents could have access to your credit card data and ban you from ever entering the U S  if they find you have bought marijuana on your credit card (despite its legality in Canada). 

This is due to the fact that oftentimes, credit card information is not necessarily stored within your country of residence (it’s often stored in the U S). Because of the Patriot Act in the U S, the government therefore has access to your purchases if the purchase data is stored there, and has the potential to ban you from entering the country.

How often this actually happens is up for debate. Most news websites report that the danger is relatively high, whilst Redditors seem to think that the amount of times anyone has actually been banned from the US based on credit card history is fairly low.

Unfortunately there are no official figures released on how many people are banned from the US in Canada because of cannabis purchases, so the likelihood of this happening if you were to use credit card to buy weed is unknown.

With this in mind, it’s much safer to buy cannabis with a debit card, or cash if you’re buying in-store.

man typing in credit card details to laptop

How to buy from a dispensary

Buying marijuana with a debit card? Totally safe. Buying marijuana with a credit card? Safe dependent on what province you live in and where you order from.

All dispensaries these days will accept debit cards as a valid form of payment, and this form of payment guarantees you security so you don’t have to sweat at the US border over whether the agents will ban you for having bought cannabis. This stands for both online and brick-and-mortar dispensaries.

Online dispensaries usually use highly encrypted payment systems that guarantee your security when ordering from the internet.

The other way to pay is obviously cash, though this can only happen if you buy cannabis from a physical dispensary rather than an online one.

If opting to buy from online dispensaries, be aware that there are legal online dispensaries which are usually run by provincial governments, and those that are usually considered better though operate in a legal ‘gray area’.

To order weed online, you’ll just need an email address and a valid, government-issued ID to ensure you are old enough to meet the standards of the province you’re in (in most provinces the legal age for recreational marijuana consumption is 19). 

cannabis leaves close up

Online Dispensaries

If you’re looking for an Ontario cannabis store, the official government-run (and thus completely legal) online store for weed is the Ontario Cannabis Store.

In Nova Scotia, it’s the NSLC Cannabis store. To use this service, you must visit one of their stores in-person with valid ID to gain an access code to the website. The province has put the cannabis store under its liquor stores division, which means that if you pay by credit card, the transaction will show as ‘NSLC liquor stores’ and carry no data as to whether or not you purchased cannabis. This makes it one of the safest dispensaries to buy from if you’re looking to use this payment method without it being traceable to a cannabis purchase.

To buy cannabis in British Columbia, the official provincial store is BC Cannabis Stores. British Columbia also put its marijuana stores under the jurisdiction of their liquor stores, though they are treated as separate entities, so it is unknown as to whether or not your personal information regarding payment would detail weed purchases.

New Brunswick buyers can look to Cannabis NB for their 100% legal marijuana shopping. Users must have a registered account with a valid government-issued ID uploaded in order to buy from the store.

If you’re not concerned about the strict legality of the store you’re buying for, there are plenty of online dispensaries out there. The marijuana industry has boomed outside of the strictly legal sphere in Canada, largely because ‘gray area’ dispensaries carry much better stock than those regulated by provincial governments. Here’s a list of a few hugely popular dispensaries to get you started.

Buying from either of these types of online dispensary is safe, even if they aren’t strictly legal. Just be aware that when choosing how to buy your cannabis products, you have the option open to you.

prescription bottle of cannabis

Will dispensaries sell to you without a card?

In-store dispensaries, yes. They usually accept cash as well as cards. This is really the only way you can buy marijuana without a card. Online dispensaries do require a card as a means of payment.

Despite this, it should be reiterated that there is no danger in using a debit card in a cannabis store or online. Data for debit card purchases is stored locally and therefore will not affect you when trying to cross the U S border or put any of your personal information at risk.

Does Trulieve accept credit cards?

According to their website, Trulieve does accept credit cards within their in-store dispensaries throughout Florida.

It ought to be noted that whilst Trulieve does take credit card as a valid payment option, they only operate within the state of Florida (U.S.) and cannot be accessed from Canada. For Americans wanting to use their services, using a credit card there is likely okay given that it is within their home country and marijuana is legal in Canada, so there should be no issues with regards to border crossings.

Take this with a grain of salt, however, as there is no definitive answer as to whether or not your payment history would be checked at the border if you paid using this method at Trulieve.

woman using credit card in a store

Can dispensaries use banks? 

In the US, no. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and thus banks won’t accept any money made off the back of this as it is considered criminal activity that banks won’t want to handle (even if it’s in a state where weed is completely legal). This is due to the fact that it would be considered money laundering if they were to accept the money through their central banking system.

Banks in Canada can and do use banks due to the fact that marijuana was legalized at the federal level, though still often face barricades due to the fact that banks find the industry unfavorable. Many face excessive fees due to the nature of their business and therefore turn to smaller banks.

marijuana flower close up

Buy Weed Credit Card

One alternative to the credit card situation is getting one specifically for marijuana purchases. In the US, some businesses are now creating cards that are for use only on cannabis products. It’s beneficial for both parties; it boosts sales for the dispensaries as customers are more comfortable with spending larger amounts, and it provides a higher level of security for the buyer, meaning they can buy without the fear that their financial information will potentially stop them from visiting other countries or getting into legal trouble.

Currently the only place offering this appears to be Columbia Care, operating in the states of New York, Delaware, Illinois, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. This is the CNC card which allows complete transparency with marijuana purchases for those worried about the storage of their financial and personal information.

marijuana plant close up with leaves

Final Thoughts

In Canada, you can buy marijuana with a credit card, though be warned that the consequences when traveling to countries where the substance isn’t legal are unknown. Therefore, it’s advisable to use a debit card or cash when purchasing weed. Many dispensaries do accept credit card as a valid format of payment, but some don’t, so always double check before you go to purchase anything.

Marijuana businesses on the whole don’t use major banks due to the fact that it’s illegal in the US, and in Canada, banks still largely frown upon it. Despite this, the vast majority of dispensaries use completely secure payment systems, which means your personal information will never be looked into when crossing borders or anything of the like.

If you want to stay on the safe side when purchasing marijuana within Canada, stick to legal dispensaries operated or owned by the provincial government. This is likely the most secure way of keeping your data protected and not running into any legal troubles when attempting to buy weed.

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