A recent study finds that millions of Americans are seeking out and finding online cannabis retailers, even if they reside in states that haven’t legalized the drug, whether of legal age or not. Buying marijuana products requires little more than a Google search and the click of a mouse, no matter who you are or where you live.
Our findings were combined with other sources including several universities that monitored Google searches and trends in the United States for queries made between 2005 and 2018, looking for patterns in search trends relating to cannabis products. The SP+GTM algorithm conducted searches containing common terms for cannabis, including “marijuana,” “weed,” “cannabis,” and “pot,” combined with the words like “buy,” “shop,” “order,” and others. They eliminated irrelevant search queries such as “buy weed killer,” "pothead," and others.
With shared data queries, the algorithm replicated the searches to determine what sites showed on the first page of the search engine results. Forty-six percent of all search results for these queries were related to retailers offering to mail-order marijuana, usually promising delivery to U.S. customers using a variety of shipping services, including private couriers, the U.S. Postal Service, and UPS. Four out of every five search queries showed cannabis delivery services on the first page of results. In conclusion, anyone, including teenagers, can search for and buy marijuana from their smartphone regardless of where the inquiry took place.
Overall, marijuana shopping searches increased in the United States by nearly 430% between 2005 and 2018, with the highest number of searches originating from California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada and other states that have legalized recreational marijuana sales in recent years. Notwithstanding the fact, online sales of the drug are illegal, even in these states that have legalized or partially legalized it. At the basic evidence gathering level, it suggests that state and local regulations are wanting, and not being properly administered or regulated. Failed enforcement has given the black marketeers a perfect cover to conduct their illegal trade with impunity. Our algorithm compilation suggests that states authorize a commission to cause the registration of all legally sanctioned providers and licensors, and that agency alone is the only legal body to allow search engines to include their names. Thus, the service providers would have these illegal retailers removed from search engines as a means to curb prohibited sales. Without such a commission, the consequences would foster an uneven playing field, materially reduce viability of legally authorized companies and allow black marketeers to control the online market.
Indeed, children could obtain marijuana online without safeguards to protect them. States that have legalized marijuana might not be able to collect taxes to offset the public health costs of legal marijuana from online retailers, and the instant online availability of marijuana could increase marijuana dependence among all age groups.
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FJ Cannabis follows three rules, do the right thing, do the best you can and always show people you care. Why make the cannabis industry look bad when an easy fix makes the internet a safer place?