Growing up, there was always someone hustling something—whether it was the elote man, someone selling bootleg movies and kicks, or the neighborhood weed man, who always claimed to have the best of the best. Thankfully, the elote man is still doin’ his thing; the neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without him. And now that we have the Internet, the bootleg game is next level. It’s gotten so out of hand that even Amazon, eBay and businesses like StockX are often called out by sneakerheads on YouTubebecause they’ve been scammed—which isn’t that surprising. What we couldn’t have anticipated, however, is bootleg weed.
Yeah, you read that right—bootleg weed. When I first heard about it, I literally laughed out loud. It sounds pretty hilarious, but it’s not a laughing matter. The cannabis industry is boomingon the West Coast; flower is regulated and heavily curated by companies that take great care to ensure their products are free of mold and pesticides and are labelled with accurate test results.
The East Coast is less progressive when it comes to marijuana legalization, but that hasn’t stopped bootleggers from producing and packaging products with Lunchbox Alchemy’s logo, including the misuse of the Oregon universal symbol (the red warning label with a white pot leaf that indicates a product contains cannabis), as well as the DOPE Magazine logo. Cannabis has joined the ranks of counterfeit brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel that adorn the tourist-laden street corners of New York City.
A cease and desist has been ordered, but there’s no telling whether not it will put an end to the counterfeits. Our biggest concern is that people will purchase these products—and there are numerous cannabis companies being counterfeited, not just the ones we’ve listed—thinking they’re purchasing a safe product and end up sick—or worse. Spice, or synthetic marijuana, is very dangerous, and it’s unclear what exactly is being packaged.
One safety precaution consumers can take when purchasing these products is to check for visible lab testing on packaging. If there are no test results, chances are it’s counterfeit. For those of you on the East Coast: Lunchbox Alchemy and DOPE do not have any products being sold in your region as of yet, so anything sporting either logo is not what it seems. Be safe out there, DOPE fam.
This is yet another perfect example of why regulation is best for everyone’s safety and well-being. Hopefully New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will shake his prohibitionist mindset, and the people of New York can benefit from cannabis both medicinally (and monetarily) sooner rather than later.