Regulation on cannabis has its roots in the temperance movement of the early 1900s, when people thought that drinking alcohol led to social ills, such as poverty and prostitution. The governing mindset was that of societal crusaders, hell-bent on reformation and behavioural refinement. Any substance that altered perception — marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and heroin — was lumped into one category. Posters were put up which declared cannabis evil, an incentive of murder and insanity.
It is strange to imagine that cannabis was used extensively for centuries, due to its medicinal and structural benefits. Still, in 1970 it would be marked as a schedule 1 substance of the Controlled Substance Act, meaning it could be easily abused and had no known medical benefits.
Although the regulation of any psychoactive substance must be taken seriously, the case of marijuana is one that has seen extreme prejudice; legalization has not been as simple as freeing an innocent man from his shackles, rather prodding him awake after already being hung, drawn and quartered.
In today’s world where everything significant happens over the internet, the online market for cannabis has been through quite the similar journey.
Overcoming a Dark History
It’s been reported numerous times that the first transaction ever to take place over the internet was the sale of marijuana in 1971, by Stanford students to MIT students. One might guess this would set the foundation for a prosperous market, which in a way it has, but not without a long residence in the deep end — or, rather, the deep web.
It is mind-boggling that an industry now so well-established and for the most part accepted by society, had its beginnings in the darkest cyber-shadows. Silk Road was an online market operating out of that infamous side of the internet: the dark web. The site dealt primarily in contraband, including — and for the most part — marijuana. It was set up by Ross Ulbricht in 2011, who now sits beneath the weight of a double life sentence.
The deep web refers to the wider expanse of highly illegal and dangerous areas of the internet, whereas the dark web entails only a small portion of it. It has spun many movies and stories, all appropriately horrific and scary; whether it is the association of the site with such a dubious marketplace or the content of Silk Road itself which led to such a hefty incarceration for Ross Ulbricht is unknown, but the consequences of its creation were immense.
It is therefore easy to see why most online vendors were at first thrown in a dark light when marijuana first saw legalization. The stigma surrounding marijuana — especially the online sale of it — was drenched with criminal association, and overlaid with misconceptions decades in the making. The first brave vendors faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, and a future that was by no means secure; legalization has been an entirely slow process, even when considering the last two decades, and future success was more of an unrealizable dream than it was an actual prospect.
Chasing Down a Bright Future
Until recently, it was illegal to sell marijuana online; that said, many online dispensaries still had their products and prices listed. This allowed customers to place an order over the internet, and collect it from the shop physically.
There were also those cashing in on the marijuana industry without use of the actual herb; these have expanded into huge markets for weed paraphernalia, for example Smoke Cartel. The market for paraphernalia has seen insane growth; people are trying different methods and techniques to consume their marijuana. It only takes a quick look at Smoke Cartel to see that it isn’t just rolling papers and some herb anymore. There is a vast array of products, everything from the familiar bongs through to more unusual dab rigs (you can check them out here: https://www.smokecartel.com/collections/dab-rigs-and-oil-rigs). There’s something to suit any cannasseur available at the click of a button.
The laws surrounding the utensils associated with marijuana are much more easily navigated, and therefore allow for a much easier profit to be made.
Nowadays it is legal in many states of America to purchase marijuana online, and have it delivered to your doorstep; because of this, dispensaries are becoming more and more popular across the country.
There are still those who operate in the shadows, as there are in every market. If you research a dispensary before you make a purchase, then you can easily find out how reputable they are.
The online marijuana industry has gone from something nursed in the darkness of a cupboard, much like the plant itself, to a blooming industry; its potential for expansion goes beyond every horizon it was ever expected to reach. Between the world’s ever-increasing reliability on the internet, and the inconceivable boom of the cannabis industry, the once seemingly hopeless vendors have essentially made one of the biggest turnarounds in the history of commerce. The online market is growing faster than ever, and if navigated well, is arguably the most efficient way for users to purchase their cannabis.
The online market is rapidly becoming popular for its quality and reliability. Strains from all around the world which were previously unavailable are now just a click away, and with each passing year the shadow recedes a little further from the face of the cannabis industry.