As the pandemic continues, both cannabis medical patients and recreational consumers are looking for ways to stockpile cannabis, fearing that the supply chain will be soon disrupted. Many have turned to the dark web, as the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction revealed. It is the ideal place to purchase cannabis as it is impossible for them to legally buy it.
A recent report by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction revealed that the sales of cannabis on the dark web exceeded $4.3 million in profits between January and March 2020, in Europe alone.
According to the agency, such profits refer to a volume of 1.6 metric tons of cannabis sold on illegal websites, where cannabis is the drug of choice for users.
“The market for cannabis is large and many regular users may have decided to source it in anticipation of the disruption of the market during the period of confinement,” the agency said in the report.
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Cannabis sales on the dark web have been rising due to the pandemic
According to the report, users approached the pages because they were unable to legally buy cannabis, due to the confinement caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Legal sellers had to close their clinics at the request of health authorities, while users were limited to leaving their homes, so they turned to this option.
The agency concluded with these results, after analyzing thousands of reviews on three major dark web markets: Agartha, Cannazon and Versus. These were chosen for their size, importance to the European Union drug market and access to usable data on buyer feedback.
It is worth mentioning that the comments were written between January and March 2020, when an increase in activity of around 25% was discovered during that period.
“More than 50,000 reviews were accessed from the three markets. Qualitative information from various online forums was also analyzed to further refine the analysis (over 850 publications),” the agency said.
Both new and old cannabis consumers are using the darknet to buy cannabis
Regarding the profile of the users of these websites, the report mentioned that they were both established consumers and new buyers.
Another important information presented by the report is that part of the success of the illegal sales sites on the dark web lies in the fact that they adjusted to the circumstances in order to modify their logistics and to bring their products closer to consumers, without them having to leave home.
The United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands are the territories where the illegal sale of cannabis through the dark web has picked up this season.
According to the European agency, some sellers tried to maintain consumer confidence by applying the usual processes, while other websites acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 on the cannabis market.
However, unlike legal cannabis sellers, those who sold cannabis on the dark web, created strategies to stimulate sales and to maintain market stability, such as offering discounts and eliminating minimum order quantities.
Cannabis online marketing growing as the lockdowns continue
Therefore, the European agency emphasized that a shift towards online supply could result in increased use of social networks, secure messaging applications and dark web markets for the illegal sale of all types of drugs.
“If sellers and buyers switch to these types of technologies, activities will not be visible through current monitoring of the dark network and interdiction will be more difficult,” the report concluded.
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First published in Nacion Cannabis, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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