The highest-ranking websites for ‘best DC cannabis’ searches are pay-to-play schemes–meaning they accept payment in exchange for favorable promotion. This results in readers being misled about the quality and trustworthiness of the cannabis companies they’re being recommended.

Throughout all of history, people have been getting paid behind closed doors to lie to the public. This type of corruption is considered common, especially in DC. I’m reminded of the Payola scam that plagued the music industry.

Payola is a blanket term that refers to the corrupt practices and methods of the radio and music industries. DJs in the 1950s were paid thousands of dollars to promote certain musicians’ records.

This allowed record companies to manufacture the success of a record, independent of what people actually liked. These DC cannabis review websites are doing the same thing with the local pot industry.

Getting Tainted Information About DC Weed

There are no shortages of these websites that claim to review DC cannabis gifting services. They tend to present themselves as passionate marijuana advocates when they are opportunistic marketers at best.

They wouldn’t be lying about these services if they truly cared about the DC pot gifting market. The patrons of these companies deserve to know how safe, professional, and of what quality these weed vendors are.

These ‘review websites’, however, are paid thousands of dollars to not say anything bad about these vendors. At minimum, the 3 top review websites for DC cannabis do this.

To be clear, the biggest injustice isn’t that they accept payment in exchange for a favorable review. It’s that they fail to disclose, and in fact go out of their way to obscure that they are pay-to-play.

How Exactly They Are Dishonest

Email from biased DC cannabis reviewer, soliciting payment in exchange for review.

The process starts with the DC weed review website soliciting payment in exchange for review. In the above example, they refused to answer when asked if they ever turned any vendors down due to poor quality.

Vendors, businesses that engage in gifting cannabis, pay these ‘review websites’ for advertising, which is opaquely presented as an honest review.

The ‘reviewer’ pretends to be impartial but since they require payment for promotion they obviously aren’t. Some review websites explicitly state they won’t criticize vendors ‘because they don’t want to contribute to the stigma of cannabis.’

Alternate theory: it’s not in their interest to bad mouth the client who pays $1,000 or more per month. In fact, it’s a conflict of interest.

Perhaps worse yet are the websites that charge based on ranking in their listicle. Their article will show ‘The Best Places to Get Weed in DC’ as a numbered list. So 1-10, etc. Then they auction off those spots for up to tens of thousands of dollars.

There are even high-ranking articles on ‘Where to Get Cannabis in DC’ that link to vendors’ own websites–where they promote themselves. Without an untethered, third-party reviewer like us, you have to take their word for any claims made.

We Are Self-Funded & Unbiased

Corruption aside–this leaves you, the reader looking for information, not knowing which vendors are safe to work with and high quality.

The DC gifting market is full of shady actors and businesses that aren’t easily held accountable. It’s also full of some quite legit businesses that go above and beyond.

We do independent research that is self-funded to provide a less biased perspective. We employ secret shoppers, have cannabis experts assist with the reviewing of gifts, and document every angle of the experience for your benefit.

Most importantly, we don’t have the conflict of interest that other review sites have: we don’t accept payment for reviews. We are free to be as critical as we need to. Would-be shoppers deserve to know what they’re getting into.

Our intention is that by creating a directory of honest reviews, the gifting marketplace overall will become more competitive and of higher quality.

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