Smart Carts are an ironically-named brand of THC cartridges that we covered here at Dab Connection way back before your humble author joined the ranks. Our staff writer there attempted to make a review of the cartridge even knowing it was fake. You have to hand it to him, that takes guts!
Let’s start with an important caveat for today’s vape lesson: All Smart Carts, which are supposedly produced by a California dispensary called Smartbud, are fake. As in, all Smart Carts are unlicensed, black market products that are not tested for safety.
So, to spot a “fake,” just spot a Smart Cart. That said, there are now counterfeit versions of this popular unlicensed brand — so you may be dealing with a knock-off of a phony brand. A meta-fake vape, if you will.
Smart Carts are supposedly manufactured by Smartbud, but neither Smartbud nor Smart Carts show up as licensed cannabis businesses at the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. There is one dispensary in LA called the Smart Collective Corporation, but it has no association with Smartbud or Smart Cart products.
Smart Carts are a notoriously fake brand
Smart Carts are a fake brand, a widely distributed brand, and to our knowledge we have never uncovered an actual original company behind them. They are so heavily distributed among Chinese black market vape packaging retailers that they made #9 on our top ten “fakest” carts post. Which should tell you that it’s a brand to avoid no matter how much you trust your plug.
We base that top-ten list off the brands which show up most prominently on DHGate, a main conduit for knock-off Chinese goods coming into the US. That list is kind of like watching the stock market go up and down; the names switch around from week to week. Currently Smart Carts don’t show up there until page 2.
For the record, most of the top names in fakes right now still include the top ten we mentioned before, plus the brands we call “the three stooges”: Lion’s Breath, Muha Meds, and Big Chief. They cause more drama than every other brand combined that we’ve mentioned here.
If you want a different view of the fake cart market, we have a whole list of other empty cartridge packaging retailers here. Some of those also have Smart Carts and the rest of the gang. This garbage just goes on forever.
When we say “drama,” it’s because the three stooges brands we mention have somebody currently behind them, either trying to force the brand into the legit ranks or struggling to gain control of an ownerless brand, we can’t tell. All we know is that whenever we say “boo” about them, they squeal like piggies. Try searching Instagram for the #smartcarts hashtag, and Lion’s Breath, Big Chief, and Muha Meds all show up anyway because fakes of a feather…
Smart Carts do not have a single soul behind them
We’re a big enough website in the cannabis blogosphere that whenever we mention any brand at all, we usually have somebody associated with it pop by in email, forum, or comments. It’s like summoning a djinn, they just pop right up.
With Smart Carts, we have NEVER found an owner, a main website, a contact, a license, an application, an email… NOTHING! The Smart Cart vape cartridge brand belongs to Casper the Friendly Ghost for all we know. We do find an alleged “organicsmartcart.com” which is now a hacked spamsite. Of course we find millions of Instagrams with rubber-banded boxes of boof.
In fact, the domain for “Smart Carts dot com” is actually a maker of utility carts, of the sort used for gardening, maintenance, construction, and whatnot. They never asked to dragged into this situation, we’re sure!
How Can You Tell That Smart Carts Are Fake?
The big giveaway, besides the fact that you’re looking at a Smart Cart to begin with, is the labeling on the packaging. Smart Carts packages have THC contents printed directly onto the package. Printing THC contents or other lab test results into the package just isn’t done in the regulated weed industry. Since lab tests will vary with each batch, packages or products should have stickers presenting the lab test information; it should never be printed directly onto the box.
The second giveaway is that the Smart Cart label directly rips the Smart Water logo… a no-go if you’re a legal company.
The third giveaway is the oil thickness. The oils in Smart Carts are usually much thinner and “runnier” than the oils found in legit vape cartridges. However, since illicit vape cart manufacturers can add thickening agents like vitamin E acetate to the oil, going by oil consistency alone isn’t the best way to spot a fake cart.
The fourth giveaway is your state of residence. If you bought Smart Carts (or any carts) in a state where weed isn’t legal, then you’ve likely got an unlicensed product.
And the fifth big giveaway: Did you buy your Smart Carts from a licensed, legitimate dispensary? If the answer is no, then you probably have an unlicensed and untested vape cartridge in your hands.
Check the Company’s Credentials
Smart Carts are currently sold through the website Smartbud Shop. Smartbud Shop claims that it’s a mail-delivery cannabis company, but here’s the kicker: Mailing weed through the postal service is illegal, even in weed-legal states. Furthermore, all cannabis companies in California must have a physical location (office, etc.); Smartbud Shop doesn’t appear to have a physical location.
A tried-and-true licensed vape company will have a website that lists all local retailers who are authorized to carry and sell their products. There should also be a contact form or phone number so you can reach out to the company directly to confirm whether or not your products are licensed, tested, and legal.
Why Should I Care If My Carts Are Fake or Real?
Since unlicensed, black market vapes don’t undergo lab testing and aren’t regulated, you have no idea what’s in them. Given that there’s a vaping lung illness epidemic rampaging across the US — an illness that has hospitalized over 1,000 people and killed at least 23 — and that this illness is likely being caused by a contaminant that may only show up in black market carts, you should probably stick with the real stuff.
How do you know if you’re dealing with licensed, tested product? First, look for stickers either on the outside of the packaging or inside of it, on the product itself. The sticker should contain lab data as well as a black triangle with a weed leaf and an exclamation point inside of it. Somewhere outside of this triangle you should see the letters “CA.” This is the official, state-approved sticker for all legit and tested marijuana products in California.
Second, only buy from licensed dispensaries. If you live in California, there’s a master list of all licensed weed companies in the state. You can also cross-reference the business’s weed license at the Bureau of Cannabis Control.