Here at DabConnection, we’ve made a name for ourselves advocating for consumer safety. This means that we tackle the issue of fake carts so much that we’ve become the Internet’s leading authority on them.
Now, it’s all well and good to warn you away from fake cartridges, which are obtained on the black market from corner street plugs, and may contain any kind of mystery oil including many harmful contaminants. Boof carts led to an epidemic of people hospitalized and even dying from VAPI, right before COVID-19 hit and obliterated all other health news from the headlines. Even if the news doesn’t cover it much, people still get sick from illicit vape carts.
But consumers, after we wise them up, often ask us the obvious follow-up question:
So I know fake carts are bad – what do I use instead?
Unfortunately, state-by-state legalization is leading to a checker-board of states across the US, with almost no two of them having the same cannabis legalization policy. With no federal legalization realized yet, we are all at the mercy of our local political climate. Each year, more states legalize, but even in states with a relatively permissive atmosphere, you can still have trouble getting hold of a decent, safe cannabis product due to poor legalization support.
We’re going to try to answer the question here. While we, of course, do NOT advocate committing an illegal activity, we also understand that many people depend on cannabis for medical or therapeutic reasons, or simply want to enjoy a toke without feeling hunted by the law. It is really unfair right now, because you can legally buy and enjoy cannabis in one state, but cross a border and be thrown in the slammer for doing the same thing.
So: What to do if you live in a state where cannabis is still prohibited? At least, what is your alternative to risking your lungs on fake carts?
Option #1: Vote!
This is the most important step for cannabis liberation, even regardless if you live in a legalized state or not. I know that many of you are cynical and discouraged about politics in the US; don’t feel like the Lone Ranger! But we have made tremendous strides in ending cannabis prohibition, and we’ve marched forward through the Obama administration and right through the Trump administration into the Biden administration without losing steam.
Cannabis legalization has broad bipartisan support, high polling approval, and is one issue where the majority of the nation agrees. We do have several federal bills making their way through legislation as we speak. All we need to do is keep telling our representatives, senators, and governors that the time to end pot prohibition is now.
Pay attention to every level of elections that affect you, from the municipal to the federal. Follow NORML and other cannabis legalization resources. Vote, and where you don’t have the option to vote, take petitions, hold demonstrations, write your representatives, and keep pushing. This really is the best step you can take to change your situation, albeit not always the fastest.
Option #2: Travel
As of this writing, 19 out of 50 US states have legalized for recreational cannabis. No medical card required, just waltz on in and buy some pot. You’re not likely to be that far from a legalized state, and if the few-hour drive isn’t too daunting, you should visit. The exception is the southeast US, naturally, but we’re guessing anybody in the Bible Belt didn’t expect an easy go of ending prohibition by now.
State-to-state tourism is a factor in some states legalizing. They’re looking at that revenue they get from a cannabis industry, and they’re all rolling in the dough! You can send a message both to your state and to the state you’re traveling to: you’ll take your business where it is appreciated.
Many more states are legal for medical use, so you can get an out-of-state medical card for that situation. Or there are states where cannabis is decriminalized for mere possession for personal use, so – it’s not something we advocate – but depending on your situation, you might be OK to transport your supply back home.
In some cases, if you don’t have firm anchors to living where you live now, you might even consider moving. There is an ongoing wave of migration to cannabis-legal states, which again sends a message to reinforce “good” behavior by taking your economic stimulation to a state where it’s welcome, while punishing “bad” behavior because states hate to lose residents.
Option #3: Try Delta 8 or Other Variants
By now, you should have heard the news that there’s more to marijuana than THC! As of now (check back in ten minutes though), the variants to traditional THC include delta(s) 7, 8, and 10, plus there are some new methods such as creating a THC acetate called “THC-O.” These variants exist in a legal gray area, but anything derived from hemp is federally legalized by the hemp farm bills.
Delta 8, which we have covered extensively, has effects very similar to regular THC, only milder. In some cases (as with your humble author), you might even prefer delta 8 because it gives a more clear-headed high that allows you to stay active and not just melt into the couch. If you’re using a delta 8 product that includes CBD and naturally-derived terpenes, you almost can not tell the difference after a few puffs. We’re starting to see hemp come out in the same strains as cannabis, just because it’s pretty easy to graft and clone your way from one to the other.
In addition, being federally legalized, hemp products are legal to ship! This means that you can find a safe distributor online. I myself have done this. Check with any of the products we have reviewed in the delta 8 / 10 / etc category. It is gloriously convenient to order online where you can pay for hemp with your debit card and get it mailed to your door – like a human being!
True, there are some states that are also taking the extra killjoy step of trying to prohibit delta 8 and other derivatives or variants, but when something is federally legalized, it’s pretty tough for state regulation to stick. With CBD products being sold at every mall now, it’s really going to be hard to justify popping somebody for a little vial of hemp juice.
Option #4: Try Flower
Hey, this is going to sound really wild and crazy, but just hear me out…
Did you know that cannabis comes in PLANT form? Did you, in fact, know that marijuana is an organic vegetable that grows right out of the ground, just like soybeans and corn and stuff? It’s an actual crop!
I’m never sure where to bring this up with modern generations, but cannabis has been cultivated and used throughout 10,000 years of history. People were happy to just grow it, harvest it, grind it, and smoke it. There were no vapes. There were no cartridges. There was no VG and PG. All you need is weed and fire! You know how many deaths and hospitalizations we had from smoking weed for 10,000 years? ZERO!
We’re not advocating that people who live where the plant is illegal break the law, but… given the alternatives, why would you spring for a cartridge of mystery oil that was also illegal, when you can smoke the plant mostly risk-free? At least with flower, you have eliminated the possibility of vitamin E acetate, PG and VG, heavy metals, synthetic K2/Spice, and all the other evil stuff they’ve found in black market cartridges. When you smoke flower, all you have to worry about is maybe some pesticides (spoiler alert: they use pesticides on the produce you eat too).
I know, this is an outrageous proposition for some of you. But really, give it a try once, you might like it. Every generation older than Millennial remembers when we made do with sneaking off for a joint on a daily basis – you can too!
Option #5… Is there a more “trustworthy” black market?
Well, again we don’t advocate breaking the law. Buuut, we have covered the underground sesh scene before. These are a subculture of pop-up weed events, similar to the concept of a swap meet, flea market, or rave. Were an individual to obtain their cannabis products through this scene, as opposed to a random plug off the street, they might be a small bit safer.
A vendor at an underground sesh is a regular. Other people there know them and can vouch for them. If a vendor deals boof, word gets out fast. Peer pressure in a tight community does have the power to keep people honest. You want to be able to trust somebody you see week after week (or month after month, or whatever the schedule) in company with other people who trust them too.
We’re not going to present that as a viable option. But we have seen how recklessly some of you live, and my God, y’all scare us! Since the underground sesh scene is most active in southern California, a 100% legalized state, we know that some of you are determined to take that route anyway.
We appreciate that a lot of you out there are suffering under draconian laws based on ancient bigotry and hoodoo bad science. Our heart goes out to you, and we’re trying to do all we can to help everyone safely and legally enjoy their leisure activity or medical relief. We are pushing for a brighter future, where every American can blaze a joint on their front porch, greeting the dawn like God intended (and was 100% legal until the 1930s anyway).
Together, we’ll get through this. But in the mean time, we all do what we can to get by, right?