Culture April 6, 2016

The Quest For Cannabis Oil In South Africa

To say that we have received hundreds of queries for cannabis oil would be a massive understatement. We’ve received thousands upon thousands of them, each with its own backstory of desperation. Recently this has started to find form in complaints from disgruntled oil producers and threats from frantic oil seekers. Our reasons for not endorsing or facilitating the trade of any form of illicit cannabis were not considered lightly, yet I find myself increasingly having to defend this decision.

Relinquishing a promising white collar career and very publicly coming out of the cannabis closet was no easy leap of faith for me. Nearly every step of being recognised as a legitimate Mary Jane inspired business has been an uphill battle with doors frequently being slammed in my face when service providers deem what we do as undesirable and an offence to their moral beliefs. We have persevered though in responsibly building a local online brand, business and magazine that SA can be proud of. A journey that we believe is only just beginning to sprout in the accelerating race to legalise and normalise cannabis across the globe. I therefore genuinely understand why people would turn to us when in need of selling or purchasing cannabis in any form. It’s even a bit flattering. But it’s not what we are about… at least not until SA get’s the green light.

Most folk seem to understand this and refrain from contacting us due to the note on our contact details that we do not respond to such queries. Others however ignore this and persevere to mail, message and call us relentlessly. To such a point that we are now unable to answer our shop phone at all due to simply not having enough hours in the day to listen to all the tales of woe and apologetically shrug our shoulders 24/7. A handful have even taken it upon themselves to extensively complain and threaten me for not responding to their persistent queries. So let me take this opportunity to clear the air and set the record straight.

We are neither doctors nor scientists and therefore do not have the tools or means to endorse what is essentially still a strictly illegal product being produced by a plethora of people in an almost infinite variety of concoctions. It is therefore not our place to determine which producers are worthy of our blessing and get a BTL stamp of approval in what would be a process that is practically blind of any scientific insight or laboratory analysis. And while I can certainly be accused of being an optimist, I am not naive enough to accept that every bit of lank dank chronic or decadent cannabis concentrate presented to me is to be assumed as a qualitative reflection of all the other wares on offer from any particular supplier. My sentiments are pretty much the same when it comes to the reliability of suppliers with regard to whether their products are readily available and consistently processed from the same raw materials time after time. That’s all before we even begin to make considerations for the safety and medicinal efficacy of the products. Ooh, then there’s also your personal safety to think about. It takes just a touch of recklessness with your personal information and a single inconvenient bust to bring a supplier and potentially all of his or her clients down with them. Worst case they or you could turn out to be narcs. Getting the idea yet?

The onslaught of queries has not been purely from consumers though. A recent move by us to start disabling comments on some articles and more actively delete soliciting comments on the remaining articles lead to quite an intense backlash from some local oil producers who had been relying on the comments section of our popular articles as a means to openly promote themselvFes. One particular dude felt hugely kicked in the nuts when it turned out that he had been relying solely on peddling his goods in the comments of our free public articles that we have and continue to painstakingly pay for purely with the love and passion we burn for South Africa’s cannabis culture. This guy did not give up until he personally had me on the phone to explain just how hard I had done him in and how we should allow him to openly advertise, even if we just charged him for it. These are the people I fear most as they are the ambulance chasers of the cannabis oil world. They freely feed on the hope of consumers, gleefully revel in the cheap publicity and even cheaper politics of the emerging industry, do not have the best interests of anyone or anything other than themselves at heart and contribute sweet fuck all to achieving a legalisation that would ultimately do away with entities anonymously profiteering in the shadows. A legalisation that should create a system where you can then  not only rely on a BTL stamp of approval, but hopefully also your doctor’s.

There we go, that’s the long of why we simply will not enable a system of illegitimately supplying a legitimate demand. The variables are far to numerous and unknown for us to take that leap of faith on your behalf. So if you are one of those folks who still feels the need to ignore the black and white of “Please don’t ask us for weed, seeds or oil – we don’t deal!” on our contact page, disregards our voicemail repeating the same thing and then proceeds to complain or threaten us because you do not get the response that you were seeking; you are barking up the wrong tree.

The ones whom you should be airing your grievances with are the medical professionals, elected leaders and custodians entrusted with your health and liberty. For they are the ones deserving of your pleas and ire.


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  • Bergie

    While it’s fairly obvious as to why people contact BTL for these reasons (i had originally thought of contacting you myself), it is also fairly obvious as to why you are unable to help with these queries and this was confirmed to me by the message you mention on your contact page. I think what you guys do is great, and you really are setting the example for how a cannabis inspired business, or any business for that matter, should be run espacially when it comes to quality of product and service delivery. So it makes complete sense to me that you would want to err on the side of caution and steer clear of dealing in an illegal market for fear of losing all that you have built.

    This is why I am so confused as to why people are hounding you in such an aggressive manner. It should be blindingly obvious as to why you cannot supply an illegal product over the internet, or even information on illegal activities for that matter. It is a shame that you need to delete comments, or even disable comments, because some people try to profit from your hard, and legal, work.

    But fret not, you are on the right side of history guys and as I say, your products and service are amazing and so I will continue to support all that you.

    Thanks for all that you do

  • Riaan van der Merwe

    People need to take control of these things themselves, always looking for external validation. Thats why they swarm to you for guidance, but all the info is out there, hell Rick Simpson gave away his recipe to help others(5000+ people saved by his hands alone, excluding his free info give away)

    Thanks for everything BTL. this is the #lionorder.

  • ralph Higgo

    So ignore the patients and let them die? You are maybe strong enough to do this, but I am not. Everyday I receive these similar emails and messages and imagine never not knowing who is really contacting you? Imagine the frustration of not being able to provide them with quality tested products simply because of prohibition, politics and permits not being granted. I have saved people’s lives. I have been told this a few times. So for me, it’s worth it. Anyone with a proficient work ethic with quality Cannabis Oils made using safe extractions and solvents please add me on fb. I would add my website details, but you all know what it is, including the ANC, the MCC, the DOH, the IFP, SAPS etc.

    • James

      Agree with you Ralph.

      As an individual it’s a lot easier to help – but as a business and legalisation organisation such as BTL, getting involved in anything illegal is tricky, they risk destroying the legalisation and educational platform they have built up.

      Glad you’re helping on the ground. Keep it up!

      • ralph Higgo

        People in Government and other associated agencies need to lead, or step aside. They all know about the main producers, it’s like a having a permit, but not being able to use it. I want quality plant material tested for purity and strength, I want solid safe extractions, and I want safe patient access. And I want it now. If Government would do its job then other people wouldn’t have to.

    • Buzz Rsa

      You may have missed the point of my article, but let me simplify it for you.
      Selling or promoting oil on our website is not welcome.
      The day that we are able to hand on heart confirm the quality and content of the products is the day that we will endorse the applicable producers.

      Correct, winging it with the health and well being of people is not what we are about. The moment that you choose to sell these sorts of products without any quality or content testing, you are playing games with peoples’ lives. Please stop blaming government for not doing something that you are not prepared to do yourself.

      It’s easy to make and sell oil. It’s another thing all together to put your credibility where your mouth is and actually remove any ambiguity about the details of what you are selling.
      So come on. Let’s see the lab test results for your products. I’ll then gladly eat my words. If you truly have the best interests of your clients’ at heart, you should have no trouble in having the products tested outside of SA and making the results freely available.

      Until then you will not convince me that you are anything more than just another maverick blindly profiteering in the shadows of prohibition.

      • ralph Higgo

        Buzz you don’t need to simply anything for me, but thank you for trying. The same can be said of the dabs and cannabis you so eagerly share on instagram which is not tested for purity or that it is free from mould etc. Truth is nothing is tested. And I will do the best I can with what I have available as people are going to use it anyway and your rationale has just become tiresome. I am constantly working with new suppliers and trying to get this right. And at least I am trying. Not just slapping away at my keyboard pretending to be a know it all and criticizing others.
        Your article on Bobby came across very pro and no doubt his orders went up because of it. And then moan when people use your comments section to boost sales. I don’t need sales to increase. I need somewhere to send patients. And your rationale that there is nowhere, but overseas is just unacceptable. And I have done this long enough now to stop caring what ignorant people like yourself have to add to this conversation. Do you have something better to offer these patients? Speak up. Or shut up.

      • ralph Higgo

        I want it legal for medical use. The sooner, the better. I want tested products. I want safe patient access. I said all this in my first post but perhaps you missed my point. Unless you have had to deal with the logistics of it all you cannot really comment as you don’t know what you are talking about. You also wouldn’t be much of a Cannabis activist, on top of the news, in my opinion, if you don’t know these producers who are able to offer something to these patients as time and time again it has been proved that something is better than nothing. And I won’t remember btl for being so above board and to the book, I will remember btl as someone else who turned a blind eye and didn’t take a stand for the very thing they are promoting which is the responsible use of Cannabis. But this is perhaps why I have a different view and separate medical use from recreational use and don’t buy this all use is medicinal use which is thrown about by your poor representatives and associates of this movement. I am not a Maverick. I am just not a Dick. If I see anyone in trouble I am going to help them. Not say, don’t worry, don’t move. Someone might be coming along to help. I could help you, but what if something happens to you or me, no it’s better, we will wait for someone who is qualified to help you. Please don’t get hurt, don’t die, I think someone may be coming in 2017, maybe.

      • ralph Higgo

        And to think this all started simply because I thought I could sell a domain name. I would have taken R5k cash, but Plandai said no. Three years later and it morphed into this. I never planned on becoming a dodgy drug dealer. It’s been an interesting journey and I am not going to let anyone bring me down. Not many people would have had the guts to pimp themselves to the MCC. I do what I have to because someone has to. Help me help others. I will be changing the site soon, all orders will cease. I want what you want Buzz. It’s just I had to go about it in a different way. It might not be the right way, but it was the only way.

      • ralph Higgo

        Last thing is how exactly am I profiting when I have never been poorer and in the shadows if I am standing with a dam spot light shining on my face?

      • RootLee

        Well said, I completely agree with you. If someone is making any money out of the oil they should supply the test results with the medicine as well. There’s just too many aspects of poisonous substances that can come from the process of making extract oil. Especially if you use cheap alcohol. Perhaps it will even do more harm than good.