Significant increase in illegal online purchasing of cannabis

by Ellen Fitzpatrick

The purchase of the drug has become increasingly easier to buy online and between January 2005 and June 2017 it saw the increase in online searches go from 1.4 million to 2.4 million. Image Credit: Pinterest

There has been a significant increase in the illegal purchase of cannabis online, especially among third level students internationally, a researcher has found.

The purchase of the drug has become increasingly easier to buy online and between January 2005 and June 2017 it saw the increase in online searches go from 1.4 million to 2.4 million.

It was also found that 41 per cent of this online purchasing is linked to retailers advertising home delivered cannabis through the U.S. Postal Service, commercial parcel companies or private couriers.

“Online retailers often do not have age restrictions to view their websites or even to purchase addictive products, and their products may not meet important safety standards,” the lead researcher of this study, Theodore Caputi of the School of Public Health in UCC said.

“In our study, we found that millions of Americans are searching the internet to purchase marijuana, and many of the links they find are advertising mail-order weed. Specifically, we find that between 1.4 and 2.4 million searches to purchase marijuana were executed in June 2017, and as many as half of the resulting links advertised mail-order marijuana,” Caputi continued.

“Online interest in purchasing marijuana is increasing rapidly: while marijuana searches have grown 98 per cent since 2005, searches for purchasing marijuana has increased 199 per cent.”

The DCU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) are taking necessary precautions to prevent the illegal purchase of drugs online.

“In terms of actions to take, SSDP never condemn nor condone drug use. We envisage a sitgma-free society where the citizens are well-educated, and are fully equipped with the tools and knowledge which will allow them to make an unbiased, well-informed decision for themselves”, Eleanor Hulm, DCU SSDP representative, told The College View.

“Substance use is risky and will never be 100 per cent safe while an illicit, unregulated market still thrives. This means we cannot eliminate the potential risks of drug use entirely but we strive to empower people as much as possible to engage with harm reduction”, she continued.

The purchase of cannabis online is not as big a problem among university students in Ireland as it where cannabis is legal and more readily available, like in some US states and parts of Canada.

Ellen Fitzpatrick
Image Credit: Pinterest