The first thing ever sold over the internet was marijuana. In the 1970s, students from Stanford sold weed to students at MIT using ARPANET to arrange the transaction.

What Was The First Thing Ever Bought On The Internet? Weed, Of Course

(Computer History Museum)

The Internet has been a boon for commerce, but back when it was more tape and spinning reel-to-reel machines than a mysterious set of digital tubes, online shopping was a thing of the future. So what was the first purchase made online? Moon Shoes? Mariah Carey tapes? Nope. When some enterprising young people from Stanford made the first online sale in history, it was weed. This initial transaction paved the way for decades of illicit online business.

It’s important to keep in mind that this first sale wasn’t the score to end all scores, nor was it posted publicly on an early version of eBay. It was just a little bag of weed sold through an Arpanet account in Stanford’s artificial intelligence lab in 1972. I… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

7 thoughts on “The first thing ever sold over the internet was marijuana. In the 1970s, students from Stanford sold weed to students at MIT using ARPANET to arrange the transaction.”

  1. AreDreamsOurParallel

    Just finished Jesse Jarnow’s book “Heads”, which frequently mentions the Stanford and MIT computer guys from that era and how a great many of them were stoners and Deadheads.

    Edited for clarity

  2. Ryansahl

    Everyone using the internets can thank weed and porn for being the initial drivers.

  3. jeanjammer

    Coincidentally, the first purchase over the phone was when Thomas Edison called his assistant, Thomas Watson, and ordered a dime bag of stanky New Jersey icky-sticky.

  4. Yuli-Ban

    > First thing sold on the Internet/APRANet

    > 1970s

    > MIT students

    > Marijuana

    Literally *everything* about this checks out, unironically. It almost doesn’t matter which of the first three you tell someone, they’d probably assume/figure out it was marijuana.

  5. Unique-Sherbert

    ^(…beep…beeepebe…eep…beep..)**GOT THAT LOUD**^(…beep..beep..bebee..beep…)

  6. MarineKingPrime_

    As a Canadian:

    Are MIT and Stanford considered to be in the same league as the Ivy League schools? How do they stack up to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc.?

    I don’t know too much about Stanford but I know MIT alumni are really successful entrepreneurs.

  7. jaspercolt

    The second thing ever sold on the internet was Cheetos.

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