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The Dry January and COVID restrictions in the UK drive cannabis demand to record high in the black market

With the ongoing lockdown and booze bans after the festive season, drug dealers in the UK are experiencing increased cannabis demand.

The demand for ‘superweed’

According to a dark market dealer who gets the substance from California in the US and sells it in Manchester and Liverpool, the demand has been high. Reports indicate that Brits turn to ‘superweed’ from the US to help them get through Dry January in lockdown. 

The smuggler claims he’s currently selling more potent marijuana from California for higher prices. This is because of the influx of new customers who are substituting alcohol with marijuana to get high.

“I’ve had loads of new buyers who don’t normally smoke weed but need something to replace the hit they get off booze. Forget Dry January, this is high January,” the dealer told.

He added that currently, he orders the drugs through the dark web and sells 3.5g bags between £80 and £120. Following the cannabis demand spike, many dealers use social media platforms such as Instagram and Telegram for advertising their products.

Is smoking weed healthier than drinking alcohol?

The Growth Op is a US-based website that covers trends in the cannabis industry. It often writes about the debate as to whether smoking marijuana is healthier than drinking alcohol. 

Last year, it interviewed Dr. Elspeth Kushnir, a former emergency room doctor in Ontario who worked for 45 years. She told the website that neither of the two substances is healthier because moderation determines how healthy both habits would be. 

“I think the moderate drinker has got to be as healthy as a moderate cannabis smoker,” said Dr. Kushnir, adding that looking at the effects of using cannabis medically ‘blew her away.’ 

On the contrary, Professor Zach Walsh, who studies harm reduction at the University of British Columbia, disagrees. He believes it’s probably less harmful to smoke weed all day than drink alcohol all day. He mentioned ‘in terms of liver damage’ and ‘risk of cancer.’

That’s not to say that using cannabis all day is a good idea, but I come from a harm reduction perspective. We want to meet people where they’re at, and if someone is committed to being in an altered state all day – then cannabis would be healthier than alcohol, Walsh said.

The Dry January initiative started eight years ago in the UK as a public health campaign. It has since become popular all over the world. This year, one out of five drinkers planned to go dry, which is ‘more than ever’ according to Alcohol Change UK’s research organization.

However, owing to the pandemic lockdown and gloomy winter weather, many Brits decided to forgo Dry January. Weekly wine sales have equally risen a third up compared to last year, while beer sales have gone up by 49 percent compared to the previous year. 

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Jonathan Sanders

Jonathan is a business writer and a dedicated cannabis enthusiast from Chicago, IL. He is mainly focused on cannabis business news and retail news from around the world.

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