The darknet is home to illegal forms of pornography, stolen credit card information, commercial hacking services and more. But if the darknet is doing anything right, it is the commercial selling of drugs—and the United States government should take note.
Online dispensaries are not new, but imagine a weed.gov site that would create an online market for people who don’t want to go through shady doctors or street corners for recreational cannabis and medical prescriptions.
When Gallup first polled Americans about marijuana legalization in 1969, 12 percent surveyed said it should be legalized. Now, approximately 58 percent of Americans surveyed are in support of legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, suggesting that we are only a “stoner’s throw” away from state-to-state legalization.
Buying online from the darknet is a safer way to purchase drugs, and eliminates most risks associated with buying on the streets. People are often unknowingly sold synthetic drugs, which sent 11,000 people to emergency rooms across the country in 2010.
Consumers skip the middleman when they buy online, ensuring their product is as pure as the dealer says it is. Drugs like “spice” or “K2” are literally weeded out, along with other substances that are chemically or synthetically laced.
Most site users and dealers use pseudo names but often build a reputation for quality and consistency by way of positive customer service and reviews. The darknet is a good alternative for unsatisfied Amazon customers because every email is answered, shipping times are fast and drugs are cheap.
Constant competition among vendors results in a certain level of purity and consistency, which is vital to individuals who take drugs. “Fake stuff” does not usually come in when you order drugs on the darknet, because in order to survive, sites and dealers have to be great or risk their consumers clicking on another page.
All of this is possible because the darknet is known as a Tor. Tor began as a naval intelligence project for the military and then became open to the public. The network aims to conceal user identities and online activity from surveillance and traffic analysis. It is an implementation of onion routing, which encrypts and randomly bounces communications through a network of relays run by volunteers around the globe.
Instead of fighting drugs, the government should take on the spirit of a “trap house.”
Traditionally, trap houses sell dope to support up-and-coming rappers. However, the “trap house online” would add a cannabis tax that would add revenue to America’s net gross domestic product. The money could also be used for drug education programs and to assist the Trump Administration’s plans to combat the nationwide opioid epidemic.
We can’t win the drug war, but we can apply what is working on the darknet to control it. The U.S. can open its own market for legal drugs on the surface web, then regulate the drug industry in America. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and win at the drug dealer’s own game.
– Jakob R. Rodriguez is a journalism freshman