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Drug dealers are marketing their products as “vegan” and “ethically sourced”.

Dark web sellers are now branding their drugs as “vegan”, “ethically sourced”, “organic” and “sustainable”.

What it means: The dark web is the bit of the internet where all the dodgy or illegal stuff happens: the place to go to if you want to buy fake designer goods, a personalised hacking service, fake IDs, guns or illegal drugs. British people are particularly fond of doing their drug shopping online - findings by the aptly-named Global Drug Survey suggests a quarter of the three million Brits (about 9 percent of the population) who take illegal drugs each year sourced their stash from said dark web.

A big reason for buying illegal stuff online is that it is safer for the consumer - both because you don’t have to meet up with a potentially dodgy dealer, and because it’s more difficult for the police to see you acting suspiciously and bust your ass. But according to the founder of the Global Drugs Survey, Brits also use the dark web for “the same reasons you would buy stuff on Amazon”, namely “getting the best bang for their buck… convenience, product range, [and] quality vendor ratings”.

In other words, just because it’s LSD and E rather than an LED TV doesn’t mean consumer choice theory and other economic thoughts about why people buy things don’t apply. Which is why, now that veganism and ethical consumption is in vogue, savvy drug dealers know that they can shift more stock, and even charge more, by branding their products with these buzzwords.

The good news for wannabe drug-takers who care about such things is that most illegal drugs aren’t made from animal products. The bad news is they are almost certainly not ethical, regardless of what their online sellers promise. That’s because as long as these products remain illegal, they can only be created, transported and sold through criminal channels, which, to quote the UK’s top police officer Cressida Dick, causes “misery throughout the supply chain” - both to humans and to the environment.

Read our explainer on why we buy stuff.

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