Six Years Later: Analyzing online black markets involved in cannabis drug dealing in the United States

Cryptomarkets are online illicit marketplaces where drug dealers advertise the sale of illicit drugs. Anonymizing technologies such as the Tor network and virtual currencies are used to hide cryptomarket participants’ identity and to limit the ability of law enforcement agencies to make arrests. In this paper, our aim is to describe how herbal cannabis dealers and buyers in the United States have adapted to the online sale of herbal cannabis through cryptomarkets. To achieve this goal, we evaluate the size and scope of the American herbal cannabis market on cryptomarkets and compare it to other drug markets from other countries, evaluate the impact of cryptomarkets on offline sales of herbal cannabis and evaluate the ties between the now licit herbal cannabis markets in some States and cryptomarkets. Our results suggest that only a small fraction of herbal cannabis dealers and drug users have transitioned to cryptomarkets. This can be explained by the need for technical skills to buy and sell herbal cannabis online and by the need to have access to computers which are not accessible to all. The slow rate of adoption may also be explained by the higher price of herbal cannabis relative to street prices. If cryptomarkets were to be adopted by a larger portion of the herbal cannabis market actors, our results suggest that wholesale and regional distributors who are not active on cryptomarkets would be the most affected market’s participants.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 10 décembre 2018 à 10 h 11 min.