Canada gauges marijuana cryptomarkets before taking its legal puff
Canada's Department of Public Safety has taken a deep plunge to study online cannabis transactions that have gained prominence on the dubious internet platform “dark web” — such online drug marketplaces are known as “cryptomarkets."
The new study has come at a time when Canada is close to legalizing marijuana. From October 17, Canadians can start enjoying puffs of recreational cannabis.
A European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction report shows that Canada is among the countries at the forefront of the illegal trade of drugs on the internet. And, as marijuana bags 33% of all the online drug transactions, the department is trying to pinpoint the impact of the legalizing it for recreational purposes.
Canadian dept seeks comprehensive study of cryptomarkets
The Public Safety department is trying to conduct a research that will help them better understand to have a closer look at these cryptomarkets, which rely on the TOR browser and cryptocurrencies. The research will concentrate on both the buyers and sellers of cannabis on the cryptomarkets.
Specifying the intention of the study, the department mentioned in its tender notice: “The general goal of this project is to estimate the extent to which cannabis is illicitly bought and sold by Canadians on cryptomarkets, identify trends in the buying and selling behaviours of Canadian cryptomarket users, and discuss the policy and law enforcement implications of cryptomarkets within a Canadian context following legalization.”
Key areas to be examined in study of cryptomarkets
In the tender notice, the Canadian department explained the intention of the study in six pointers:
“a) Estimate the number of transactions involving illicit cannabis trade in Canada, including the quantity/volume of cannabis sold on cryptomarkets to Canadian buyers and by Canadian vendors in 2017 and 2018
b) Analyze trends in the characteristics of Canadian vendors, including (but not limited to) the estimated quantities sold by Canadian vendors, the geographic areas sold to, estimated number of transactions, as well as other illicit goods sold alongside cannabis by Canadian vendors, etc.
c) Analyze trends in the characteristics of Canadian buyers, including (but not limited to) the estimated quantities bought by Canadian buyers, the geographic areas bought from (and the characteristics of common vendors bought from), estimated number of transactions and other illicit goods bought alongside cannabis by Canadian buyers, etc.
d) Analyze and describe how cryptomarkets operate and the stabilities and changes in cryptomarket operations over time (if applicable)
e) Compare the traditional drug distribution network to the dark web drug market, as well as the relationship between cryptomarkets and organized crime networks.
f) Discuss the policy and law enforcement implications of cryptomarkets within a Canadian context (i.e., the conclusions that can be drawn from the findings of the research and considerations following legalization).”
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