Online Drug Markets: A Better Alternative to the Current Black Market

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Ross Ulbricht has recently joined Twitter. Social Media users everywhere are now able to hear words right out of the Dread Pirate Roberts’s mouth. It is a wonderful but saddening thing. He can still spread encouragement in all of our agoristic activities, yet his continued imprisonment is a constant reminder of how broken our justice system is. Ross Ulbricht is a pioneering figure, showing what can be done with technology to resist the power of the state by running an online drug market.

Many do not see Ross as a hero, though. After all, he did (allegedly) provide a platform for people to sell illegal Schedule One drugs. Drugs such as crack and heroin can be deadly if used irresponsibly, so many see Ross as an enabler for people to ruin their lives.

Once producers lace them, the danger of the drugs increases drastically. In the status quo, all drug trade occurs in the black market. Those without a trusted dealer cannot be sure that the product they are receiving is the real deal. Consumers do not know if the drugs have been diluted or laced. Tampering with products in such a way may even slip through the cracks for a user’s trusted dealer. This is proving to be a serious problem across the world.

The Overdose Epidemic

Statistics from Canada show that fentanyl in street heroin has risen nearly 2000% in recent years:


This is a serious problem, and it exists in the United States too. The CDC reported that over half of the overdoses in ten surveyed states were because of fentanyl. Fentanyl is being added to both cocaine and heroin causing overdose rates to skyrocket. Some believe that this increased lacing is being done so that unsuspecting users will become incredibly more addicted to fentanyl. It makes people who only use occasionally use much more often.

White Market Safety

Even as a person who believes that drugs should not be under the restrictions by the state put upon the population, I think this opioid crisis is horrendous and saddening. Life is precious, so we should work to preserve it. I want a world of legal drug use because I believe that that would promote the safety of the users and reduce the number of deaths. My line of reasoning is as follows: when drugs are legal, dealers do not need to hide any longer. They can openly present the drugs and openly compete with other suppliers.

The fact that all of this would not be occurring on the white market means that consumers could be much more aware of dilution or lacing of products. The market would root out dealers that sold excessively dangerous drugs. Consumers would not tolerate such dangerous action. Contracts could hypothetically even be devised that indicate that the dealer is liable for excess harm to the self done because of the substance. (I say excess harm because we should not pretend we do not currently harm ourselves with the things we consume. Sugar, cigarettes, and alcohol use all harm us, if only to a minor degree.)

Obviously, this is not the status quo. Many drugs are on the Schedule One drug list, preventing this open market competition to actually occur. Instead, violent conflict resolution and deception to the consumer dominates the market. These shady dealings are what is allowing for the mass peddling of fentanyl-rich hard drugs. But there is an alternative: online drug markets.

Online Drug Markets

The Dread Pirate Roberts, an individual (allegedly Ross Ulbricht) or group of individuals, created the Silk Road online drug trade site. It and similar sites allow for consumers to rate certain vendors in a way similar to the way you can rate eBay vendors. If you are trying to buy a television on eBay, you are not going to buy from the one-star vendor. You will look at the five-star vendor with hundreds of positive reviews.

Similarly, if you are trying to buy cocaine, you are not going to buy from an unreviewed or one-star vendor. The online dealers will either scam you or send you a laced load of cocaine. This means that online drug markets are currently emulating what a decriminalized drug market would look like. Safety now actually can become a priority, and vendors have an incentive to uphold it.

I believe that those against drug legalization should be in support of online drug markets. As evidenced by the prohibition on alcohol and current prohibition on drugs, banning substance possession and use does not work. Drugs are being traded in increasingly dangerous manners the more the state cracks down on their use. Online drug sites accessible through the dark web are the safest way for drugs to circulate. And if safety is not your priority when people are using drugs, then what is your problem with them anyway?

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