NEWS
The UK Is Ditching Booze for California Weed and Celebrating “High January” Instead
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An influx of California-grown “super weed” is changing the UK's “Dry January” into “high January."
Published on January 18, 2021

Black market drug dealers in the UK have been importing top-shelf California weed to help Brits stick to their “Dry January” resolutions in lockdown.

Although the “Dry January” trend of giving up alcohol for the first month of the year has become popular all over the world, it actually began as a UK public health campaign 8 years ago. This year, 30 percent of Brits resolved to say no to booze for a month, but the pandemic is making it especially hard for people to stick to their resolutions. By January 6th, as many as 2.7 million Brits had already given up on their plans for sobriety, according to a recent poll.

But those brave souls who stuck to their resolutions have found a solution to help them cope with lockdown-induced stress and boredom: smoking more weed. To keep up with this growing demand, UK drug dealers have been importing high-quality California “super weed.” Since lockdown measures have made in-person sales difficult, dealers have turned to selling their wares online, via Instagram or encrypted sites like Telegram.

One black market dealer told the Daily Star that he has “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 said that he has been ordering California weed via the dark web and selling it in Liverpool and Manchester. “Demand right now is for the stronger Cali stuff,” he said, adding that people are paying £80-£120 ($108-163) for 3.5 gram bags (0.12 ounces) of weed.

British health authorities are alarmed at the increase in cannabis use, but harm reduction specialists see pot as a healthier alternative to booze. Professor Zach Walsh of the University of British Columbia told World News Era that he doesn't think that “using cannabis all day is a good idea,” but that it makes more sense 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.”

The switch from booze to bud is not unique to the UK. A recent poll found that 64 percent of American cannabis users planned to replace alcohol with weed over the holidays. Cannabis consumption has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, while consumption of booze and hard drugs has declined. From New York City to Europe, drug dealers have seen demand for coke, meth, molly, and other party drugs decline as more and more people switch to pot.

Several research studies have found that cannabis can serve as an effective substitution for alcohol. Researchers have found that booze sales have dropped significantly in states with legal medical marijuana, college students binge drink less in states with legal pot, and even internet searches for alcohol have been decreasing in adult-use states. This substitution can work in both directions, too. According to one recent study, young adults who quit using cannabis are more likely to increase their alcohol intake.

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Chris Moore
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Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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