How I hacked the cannabis industry during Covid to make legal side cash

Looking for a side hustle? The cannabis industry might have a surprising answer for you.

I was looking for a couple extra bucks at the start of the pandemic, and did some rooting around on Google Trends to see what a hot ticket item would be. I figured if I could sell online, from my apartment, in my underwear, I could continue to work from home while meeting my needs. Google Trends got me percolating on a couple of different items, but I wanted to line up my side hustle with something I was already enjoying during COVID. The answer came to me in a cloud of smoke: cannabis.

Obviously I didn’t want to sell the plant itself, so I started looking into accessories and anything that would grant me a big enough margin to make some cash without having to leave my place. I landed on vaporizers – a huge industry that just keeps getting bigger.

So after spending the first couple of months chasing individual sales, I ended up buying in bulk from TVape, an international vaporizer distributor with a pretty good vaporizer wholesale program. But let’s back up a bit and I’ll let you know exactly how I got there.

To me, if I could break into the cannabis industry on a personal level, make an online store for myself, and keep things legal (no matter who I was selling to) the way to go was to sell cannabis accessories – not illegal in any way – and make a couple of bucks during an otherwise unproductive time. Plus, if I could do it from my couch in my pajamas, that was a bonus too.

So, I looked around and found a couple resale channels. I started buying and selling vapes from Kijiji, the Canadian version of eBay, and slowly reselling for an extra couple dollars. I figured since the data showed vaporizers trending in Canada, California, New York and Texas, I’d start with Canada – where cannabis is legal everywhere. I bought 3 Mightys, a ZEUS Arc and a Solo II for $850 – well below what they were worth, and all brand new in box. People are so keen to sell there they don’t do their research. I sold all in the first week for almost $1200. Of course, the supply is limited to what people are parting with, but my first taste of reselling had been good, and I wanted more.

People will haggle on sites like Kijiji and eBay, of course, and I allowed myself to give up a few dollars here and there. One guy was so adamant about going under my bottom line by $20 that it made me furious. I slept on it, ultimately deciding that losing $20 was a small price to pay to make the net $45 I did. I would highly recommend haggling to a point, but at the end of the day, make the sale, no matter what, especially when you’re flipping. It’s not worth your time to squeeze that last 10 dollars out of someone at the expense of your seller rating or losing the sale – make the sale.

It took time, and effort, but I kept buying more and more vaporizers because the demand kept increasing. They would ask me for different units, things I didn’t have, when I started to sell to more people.

I knew this was small potatoes. It felt like haggling at a garage sale – the first 3 times, the feeling was amazing. I was a god among mortals, handing down prices to those less willing to do a little more research. Then, after a quite a few transactions and an inbox full of messages about individual vaporizers, I decided I wanted more – I was hungry, driven, and had made a decent amount of cash already – but I wanted to spread my margins wider.

So I kept doing research. I looked around and found myself on an article about the cannabis consumption patterns during COVID 19 that piqued my curiosity and corroborated what I already knew: vaporizers were hot (excuse the pun) and I was on the right track.

Cannabis use is up, unsurprisingly, with afternoon and morning consumption doubling over the course of COVID. People are staying in their homes and looking for substitutes for the pleasurable outdoor activities they used to enjoy. In fact, 54% of those surveyed have stated they are consuming more in general.

Interestingly, as well, vaporizer use is up as more people worry about the adverse health effects of consuming more cannabis. Another solid part of the cannabis sector, vaporizers are the “less harmful” way of cannabis consumption, and it follows that as people begin to worry about their general health – as a pandemic will do, surely – they will start to think about other ways they can cut down or alter the habits that are adversely affecting their general health.

I had hit the nail on the head with my instincts, so I dug into my position; I just needed more vaporizers.

After casting my line around for some time, I ended up at TVape’s site and learned about their wholesale program, linked above. I went through and read their acumen – incidentally, they have an absolutely huge collection of vaporizer reviews. They’ve tried every vaporizer under the sun – with detailed notes, broken down into bite sized sections, from an analytical point of view. These weren’t stoners in their mom’s basement, this was a bonafide company built from the ground up.

Go to their wholesale page and download their catalog. I found that the more prominently a vaporizer is featured at the front of the catalogue, the more popular it is. Check the catalogue out – on page 5 you can find the ZEUS Arc, which has a great margin and I sold 2 of them within the first 3 days of starting the program. It was clear to me that they had thought out the program, and were trying to mutually benefit with their wholesalers.

I kept buying from them – the margins were great and I had all the backup information I could ask for from them; reviews, videos, knowledgeable staff, I had all the cards in my pocket – and with the reselling experience in the rearview, I could streamline this side hustle from small potatoes to a decent amount of side money. In my second month, I made about $1500. Selling vaporizers. From my apartment. I’ve now been wholesaling with TVape for few months, and am now making enough money to pay my entire rent. I still love my actual career, but my side hustle is awesome. Since the model works with a local classified like Kijiji, i don't really care if other people do it too, since most people only drive max of 1 hour to pick a vaporizer up. Enjoy.

Not a bad side gig, huh?