Canada to Study Cannabis Cryptomarkets Ahead of Recreational Marijuana Legalization

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As Canada prepares to legalize recreational marijuana next month, the impact this will have on online drug marketplaces has remained unclear.

Consequently, the Department of Public Safety Canada is looking to commission a study that will shed light on the cryptomarkets – online drug marketplaces that rely on the TOR browser and cryptocurrencies – with regards to the North American country and its citizens. According to a tender notice published online, the study will focus on both buyers and sellers of cannabis on the cryptomarkets:

“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.”

Thorough Examination

Specifically, the study will be required to estimate the volume of cannabis sold by Canadian vendors to Canadian buyers in 2017 as well as build buyer and vendor profiles. Additionally, comparisons between the dark web drug market with the traditional drug distribution market will be required to be drawn while also determining the relationship between organized crime networks and cryptomarkets.

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Per a report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Canada is one of the leading countries in the world in the illicit trade of drugs on the internet. With cannabis making up 33% of all the online drug transactions, Canada is hoping to identify the kind and extent of impact the legalization of recreational pot on October 17 will have on the cryptomarkets.

“One of the primary aims of cannabis legalization and regulation is to reduce criminal involvement in the cannabis market,” Public Safety Canada’s tender notice further adds. “It is therefore important to examine the current state of illicit cannabis markets in order to assess any changes in such markets once cannabis is legalized.”

Getting High…

This comes at a time when the expected legalization move by the Canadian government is sending the publicly-listed cannabis stocks soaring to record highs as CCJ recently reported. The soaring stock prices of cannabis stocks saw some financial analysts equate it to the ‘bitcoin boom’ that was experienced towards the end of last year.

An example of a cannabis stock that appreciated drastically is the NASDAQ-listed Tilray which reached a market capitalization of over US$22 billion earlier this week after its shares rose to a high of US$263 in pre-market trading, marking a parabolic rise from its July listing price of US$17.

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