When people say things such as 80% of marijuana purchases are on the black market, how are they getting data for this?

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When people say things such as 80% of marijuana purchases are on the black market, how are they getting data for this?

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Asking people on anonymous polls if they are consumers and if so, where do they get it from.

For example, psychiatrists ask their patients if they consume psychoactive drugs because the medicine A they planned to prescribe might have secondary effects if the patient consumes drugs, so they would have to prescribe medicine B. As such, patients are expected to be sincere for their well being and because of doctor-patient confidentiality.

On the same way, they ask people on anonymous polls if the consume and how they got it and people are expected to be sincere, as its anonymous.

*Edit:* edited because it’s getting traction and I didn’t express properly the methodology, as some pointed out (changed “ask consumers” for “asking people if they are consumers and if so, which market they get it from”).

People have already answered stating anonymous surveys, but since I have experience conducting surveys with sensitive information, I’d like to add just a little extra info:

I used to do research in college for a psychologist who was looking at the effect of different drugs (both legal and illegal) on personality, and vice versa.

There is actually a pretty strenuous burden placed on the researcher to protect participants privacy and answers. There is also a certification process that makes the personal info impossible to be compelled to give out to any governmental agency (if, for example, someone participated, admitted drug use, and then was arrested. The police cannot force you to inform them that the participant admitted drug use). There are a number of other processes that we had to go through in data collection and storage to ensure the privacy of participants was retained.

The only exception to this being if the participant admitted the desire to harm self or others to us, in which case we were instructed to contact authorities and provide them with the name and that the participant might commit self harm or harm others

TL;DR: There’s a ton of regulation to protect sensitive info, and no one, not even the federal government, can compel you to give out info (provided you get the correct certification)

EDIT: The authorities were only contacted in cases where the participant admitted desire to harm others. If a person admitted self harm, or thoughts of self harm, they were recommended to seek a mental health professional and given a list of mental health professionals in their area. Sorry for the confusion!

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