The unified Europe is good for pot travelers because the Union has eliminated passport controls and formal airport border crossings between most countries. Many cannatourists begin their European vacations in Holland, procure cannabis, and then travel to other European destinations.
Unfortunately, inter-Europe drug interdiction is increasing. Switzerland maintains formal border crossings. France routinely inspects arriving travelers. Searches of vehicals and train compartments are increasing. If you are caught with less than an ounce of cannabis as a tourist in Europe, the likely result is your cannabis will be confiscated, you will be briefly detained, and you will be forced to leave the country.
Holland and Amsterdam
Holland still has about 900 cannabis coffee shops, but the number is dropping dure to government policies.
Most visitors embark from Amsterdam’s famed Central Train Station, heading for Dam Square and the Van Gogh museum. Along the way they find tourist-oriented shops selling decent weed and hash.
Experienced connoisseurs have favorite coffee shops, including Dampkring, Bluebird, Kadinsky1, Grasshopper1, Sensi Seeds, Dolphins, Amnesia, and Katsu. Avoid garish coffee shops like Bulldog and Greenhouse; avoid cannabis shops that serve alcohol.
You can also purchase cannabis from “weed taxi” services (look for their little advertising papers pasted on light poles), and through brothels.
Visitors looking for shrooms, peyote and similar products can visit “smart shops.” I recommend Conscious Dreams and The Magic Mushroom Gallery.
There’s more to Holland than Amsterdam. In the historic town of Haarlem, less than half an hour from Amsterdam, visit the three Willie Wortels potshops, run by pot activist Nol Van Schaik.
A great way to find quality Dutch shops is to purchase the coffee shop guide authored by Wernard Bruining. He created the country’s firs official coffee shop, Mellow Yellow, 23 years ago.
Outside Holland, there are few retail shop oportunities for tourists seeking marijuana. In Germany, Berlin is a cannabis-friendly town where you can find locals smoking and selling herb at many nightclub, art-houses, dance halls, and cafes. Tourists in German and Belgian locales along the Dutch border can also find cannabis that was purchased acress the border in Holland for resale.
WeBeHigh.com has a wealth of information – though accuracy changes with the times. When looking up Berlin, that have some advice for finding bud. “The areas around Bahnhof Zoo and Kottbussr Tor in Dreuzberg are not safe and should be avoided when looking for a bag. Tourists should also stay clear of the S-Bahn late at night.” An unamed visitor warned, “Never buy anything that is offered to you in the streets. The best thing that can happen to you is that you lose your money.” A better bet would be to ask Berliners seen lighting up a joint. They may be willing to point out a dealer or sell some of their homegrown skunk. A visitor also suggests that tourists seeking weed “try Turkish-looking cafes.”
On April 6, 2005, this news was released from Germany. “In Berlin the possession of ten grammes of hashish for personal use will no longer be punishable. Moreonver, on 5th April the Senate passed a resolution according to which the possession of even fifteen grammes ought to bring no disagreeable consequences in the absense of other aggravating factors. The majority in the Senate wanted to make it thirty grammes but the opposition Christian Democrates dug in their heels and threatened trouble. Until 5th April athe maximum permissible quantity had been six grammes.”
In Switzerland, many tourists have gotten quality cannabis from street dealers near Zurich’s central train station, which some potheads jokingly refer to as the HempBahnhoff. Reputable street dealers can be found in the back streets near the station. During warm weather, parks on the north side of Lake Zurich are where you can meet friendly dreadlockers who sell small bags of cannabis.
Until 2005, visitors could stop at hemp stores and similare shops to buy “Indian Tea,” “Potpourri,” and “Hemp Sachets,” which were quality cannabis. The Swiss government has apparently closed most of those shops; the few remaining are very cautious about selling cannabis products.
The website for the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas, at www.dpna.org had this to say about Switzerland’s drug policies in 2005: “Regarding police intervention, it can be said that when young people are found in the street with small amounts of drugs on, they have to pay a fine. Sometimes they are sent to a drug advice centre to be informed about the harmful effects of drugs. Mostly, the parents will be informed if these people are under age. Hemp shops have been closed all over the country. In many cities in the German and Italian speaking part of Switzerland there have been drug raids in hemp planting areas. Most of the retailers were closed and the crops found were confiscated and burned. In Basel the police closed 28 of 32 shops last year. The same happened in Berne and two years before in the Italian speaking Canton Tessin. The immense production of hemp plants, which was partly exported to the north of Italy, was confiscated and the persons responsible were charged with drug producing and trafficking.”
Spain has become a marijuana paradise. Southern Spain near Malaga features beach cafes, such as Mambos’ Beach Club, where the smell of cannabis and Moroccan hash mixes with ocean air and good food. In summer, the island of Ibiza off the Spanish coast is a cornucopia of raves, cannabis, E, and sex.
Nearby Portugal is also cannabis-friendly, due to partial decriminalization that began in 2001. Beach cafes and surfer encampments from Lisbon to Peniche and in the laid back Cortegaca surfing empire are good places to find marijuana and hashish.
It is highly recommended that ganja-tourists check out Spain – according to many international travelers, it almost compares to Amsterdam in terms of being one of the world’s top pot paradises.
The United Kingdom
Across the English Channel from Europe, in the UK, the best places to find cannabis are at reggae cafes and Rasta dance clubs in the Rastafarian Brixton section of London, and at the head shops. Brixton is a south London Afro-Carribean community with lots of street markets. Since mid 2004, dealers of ‘class C’ drugs (marijuana, hashish) in Brixton are not arrested by police. You will be approached in Brixton to buy cannabis.
In North America bars, loud music and TV sports dominate the environment, but conversation with strangers is more common in British pubs. When you visis any English pub, you can ask a suitable acquaintance a standard phrase “Can you sort me out?” Someone will eventually guide you to the right person.
In Wales, tourists can score bud near Cardiff Castle, in the centre of the capitol city of Cardiff. There are usually skaters hanging out in the surrounding parks, and you can get a bag from them, or a tip to send you in the right direction.
From WeBeHigh.com, about Manchester, England, are these clues: “Visitors looking for another possible site to score – or some equipment to grow your own at home – might consider swinging by Holland Hydroponics and Hydrotops in the basement of Manchester’s Coliseum shopping center. Those looking to buy bud on Manchester’s street should just hand out downtown where the city’s many university students gather. Don’t be too concerned, chances are someone will approach you with an offer – just check the goods carefully and don’t buy any oregano.”
Not long ago, I vacationed in a small northern Italian town called Treviso for several weeks. One thing that’s assured in Treviso: you won’t be getting stoned. Milan, on the other hand, held the promise of a big city, so I crossed my fingers that I’d come across some bud or hash when I got there.
As it turned out, luck was on my side. I’d arranged to stay a few nights with an old college friend who knew exactly where to send me: Arco Della Pace. Known in English as the Arch of Peace, this monument is located in Parco Sempione, right behind the Sforza Castle.
Going there after dark is the best time to get yourself introduced to the mostly Albanian dealers of the neighborhood. Their language is a little choppy but good enough to make the deal. Only bring enough money for the purchase! Milan’s a big city in more ways than one.
When a dealer notices you they’ll approach you and ask something like, “quanto?” which is Italian for “how much?” I showed him a ten (“dieci”) note and he opened his hand to show me a collection of brown hash sticks. He snapped one in half and handed it to me in exchange for the money.
The buzz I got from smoking the hash joint resonated in my head more than anywhere else, and lasted an hour. It was not much of a high compared to blazing bud, but a welcome change from smoking nothing. When I returned to the park the following evening I had to walk around for a few extra minutes before I was solicited. Just remember the golden rule of drug transactions: no money up front!
Our first night in Cambodia, we had dinner at a place called Barrang. We were finished with our meal all of five minutes when a motor bike driver asked us if we wanted “ganja good quality.” We bought something to puff on and went to the convenience store to buy some large rolling papers. The pot was not pressed flat. It was un-manicured and airy buds on a lot of stem.
I stayed at a guest house called Victory. As it turns out the staff were very friendly and wanted to take care of all our needs. If you want beer, food, motor-bikes, visas, girls, drugs, boat tours or any thing you can think of, they can get it for you. The place is owned by a cop an he is concerned about your pleasure. Nobody comes back to a place where they did not have fun!
I bought half a kilo of sixty bucks of some slightly seeded wild cannabis that would be great for any hybrid breeder to put vigor into. The haze is a strain that has a Thai back bone and was hybridized with other types of sativa to make a plant that would produce nice looking buds and have a wonderful high with a distinctive smell. When you get a bag of fresh ganja here you can smell that familiar aroma of the Haze. It’s amazing that these airy buds can produce such a wonderful high.
There is a night club called Bibas in an area known by the locals as the Chicken Farm, which offers food, drink, girls and ganja. You can also get cannabis from any Happy Herb Pizza. There is one in Phnom Penh, and one in Sihanoukville. In addition you can possibly smoke and get smokeable, from these places: Talking to a Stranger, ElseWhere at 51st, Kandal House, Bilabon Bar and Swim, all located in Phnom Penh.
It is illegal in Cambodia to buy or have ganja, just not enforced. You can smoke pot just about any where you like. It’s still rude to blow smoke in a cops face; however, while I was on the beach with a friend there was a tourist cop there, and my friend handed me a huge spliff the size of a cigar and says to me “isn’t it great that we can sit on the beach and smoke in front of the cops?” I took a big hit and could not have agreed more with him.
My thirty days have passed on my tourist visa, and its time to go to Vietnam and see what it has to offer. Keep posted, as my story will continue!
Buying holy smoke in Belize is about as easy as buying a soda pop. While being illegal and socially stigmatized as the “devil weed” by the general populus, you are really just a subtle inquiry away from scoring a handful of fresh buds. Sadly, I can also say this about crack cocaine as well, the real devil that haunts the many poor shantytowns of this small English-speaking country in Central America.
Like many first encounters, I tracked down marijuana with my nose. I was vacationing on Glovers Reef Atoll with a small group of people, and being a night owl, I found only the island staff and myself still awake. About four Belizeans were gathered in front of a large tent cabana talking, laughing, and drumming.
With a welcome smile I was invited to join in their Caribbean toke fest. The joint was the size of a tube of Mentos, which was about 3 grams worth. The weed was sweet and mild, but burned pretty hot. The high was equally mild and best chased with a tall glass of rum and Coke.
I ended up buying an eighth off one of them for $10 US dollars, complete with rollies made out of used brown paper bags. Upon inspection, I found the compressed buds to be long, not very dense, and full of seeds. After future weed buys from a souvenir shop and the local dealer in Dangriga, I found this mediocre bud to be the standard ? but hey, scoring is still scoring!
First off, pot is not an extremely common thing to be found, especially in major cities. In a few provinces here you can actually go out along the streets and pick it. It grows wild. A lot of people there pick it and sell it in cities, where I had the chance to buy it when travelling. A big chunk of what the Chinese called “hash” was just compressed straight-up leafy weed! I did find a little grey hash in Shanghai that actually knocked my socks off using a waterfall bong.
The problem with buying it while traveling is security. You really have to watch out. You get caught with weed here and you are FUCKED. I heard that there are around forty-five foreigners in jail here, most of it because of weed, and most are Canadians who were busted with weed.
We celebrated the first night of getting weed in China by setting up a gravity bong at our hostel, using a jug and orange juice, and sufficiently managed to blaze the fuck out of some Americans, but the Americans ended up backing out while me and my buddy took big hoots. Needless to say it was a huge hit! We found some pretty snazzy little pipes here, some that are the smallest little brass water pipes you’ve ever seen, made for tobacco, with a built in lighter!
One time after we bought some pot, we were being hustled out the door from the ladies we just bought from, and they offered to sell us some opium. We of course, politely declined, and as we left, clutching our green stinky prize, they repeatedly kept sticking their fingers to their lips and going “Shhh, shhh!!!” as no 60 year old woman wants to go to jail for selling drugs.
When we looked closely at our purchase, we could see all the seeds and defects of the weed. There sure wasn’t a lot of crystal on it, but it did get us sufficiently stoned.
Best smoking experience here was on a train. I took a risk and me and some British dude smoked up between cars. We were lucky no cops were aboard, but it was late at night. We offered some Chinese dude some and he ended up smoking with us ? and then stealing my stash when I went to the washroom!
Since then I’ve found a bit of weed in my city. Last week I bought half an ounce for 400 RMB, which is about $65 Canadian. Sadly, I didn’t get to view it beforehand and it turned out to be oregano and some green shit.
Two months until I come home and I just can’t wait to get some BC bud in me again, especially after the mediocre stuff here.
Trinidad and Tobago
My recent month-long visit to my parents’ homeland of Trinidad & Tobago was rich in history, heat and family, and was nothing short of spectacular, and included three days of Carnival, many beautiful beaches, but only one day of a good high by some local herb.
Getting weed seemed easy at first until I was told of the countless entrapments being carried out on the public beaches and nightclubs by local drug and law enforcement agencies. It would usually be set up with a local approaching you with, ” Pssst, ya want weed?” The correct response, as I was earlier instructed, was “You a cop?” Many a tourist have found themselves in a 6′ by 9′ cell for a night or two if they decided to take a chance ? but being forewarned, I decided to rely on family to point me in the right direction. So I ignored the charismatic smiles of those whom I did not know personally when they sought to get me high, and I ended up waiting twelve days into my trip for a cousin to “hook me up.”
What I got was pure bush weed. It was dark, full of seeds and stems, but full of the right stuff that had me high in seconds and pasty mouthed in minutes. I could tell you of the heat being intensified, the clouds becoming more pronounced, and the feeling of “being at one with the universe” ? but ya’ll know what that’s like already.
Then the paranoia set in. What if I was caught? A stranger in a strange land, in a strange jail? it was too much to contemplate. But the reality is, like many places in the world, if you have money, connections, fair skin and a good lawyer, chances will be no jail time and a slap on the wrist. Tourists will find themselves incarcerated if they try to bring pot home, but mostly it’s the local poor and black that feels the full extent of the law.
Know your suppliers wherever you might travel and heed the local warnings, or get busted like Jamaican-born reggae star Buju Banton who aptly stated, “A how dem can lock up Buju fi a likkle ting like that?! More fire!”
In Australia, a prime place to buy cannabis is in the Nimbin-Byron Bay area of New South Wales. Nimbin is home of the legendary Mardi Grass harvest festival held every year in early May, but cannabis is available there all year. The village has a “dealers’ alley” where hyperactive teenaged boys and grizzled street dealers sell average-quality cannabis. Some Nimbin cafes sell stronger, fresher herb in a sweeter environment. Just ask.
In Byron Bay, which is a youth-oriented beach town near Nimbin, hippie street dealers sell Nimbin cannabis on the cliffs and promenade overlooking the beach.
Shrooms are also often available. If you’re in Sydney, the Kings Cross area is the best place to look for marijuana. If they haven’t been busted again and shut down, try Caf? Amsterdam, which sells Aussie Sativas along with munchies and coffee.
It’s relatively safe to discreetly carry ganja if you’re traveling by auto or bus in Australia, although highways around Nimbin and Byron have been plagued by police drug roadblocks, especially at harvest time in May. Passengers on domestic flights often face sniffer dogs at Australian airports.
Having recently returned from the island of Jamaica, it was natural the boss would ask for this article about how to score weed there. But in reality all one has to do to score is step off the plane. Ganja is everywhere and will be offered to you by the first guy you talk to outside the airport, and then by virtually every local male you talk to after that.
If you’re in a high tourist area like Negril you can be approached twenty or more times a day by, shall we say, very seasoned vendors. This in itself can be a lot of work. These men of all ages are extremely good at selling you something and will be very open about offering ganja. Many will pull out buds and hand them to you. Unless you are actually looking to buy, it can be very difficult to give the buds back, so you might do your best not take possession unless you are prepared to buy.
Most of the weed you will see in the open market is dried on stems about 18 inches long with brown buds, and look very similar because everyone is growing short indica hybrids. The smoke is unmistakably outdoor with a spicy and often fruity flavor. The high is mild by most standards. This is why when you see Rastas smoking giant spliffs, it’s because they need to! The price is going to vary about as much as there are people who approach you. It ranges from more than you should pay, to just a bit more than you should pay, which is still less than you’d pay at home. It doesn’t matter though, with the current rate of exchange at 60:1, you’ll never figure out how much you paid anyway.
Many of those who would sell you pot will also offer to take you to gardens to see plants growing. This is very cool and has always been safe for me. You will be expected to pay for the privilege and any transportation, so make the arrangements ahead of time. Even though pot is plentiful, it is absolutely illegal; but you can easily enjoy a spliff anywhere as long as there aren’t any police. I never saw any police outside of Negril, so a Sunday brunch at a small town cafe saw spliffs casually smoked by young and old. As anywhere you just need to be discreet and aware of what’s going on around you. Above all else, be cool, mon!
One should never be un-prepared in a foreign country. After hanging out a bit I tried to find some Ganja. I walked through many markets filled with great Thai food. People selling food in make-shift markets and from three wheeled motor carts. I thought to my self that there has to be Ganja here some where. I could not smell any in the air any where. Then I asked a few people about the subject and in their broken English all they could say is “police, police”.
I met a girl in Bangkok named Kia. I gave her ten dollars for ganja and off she went to a notorious part of Bangkok called Koh San Road. There are many tourists there and I am sure at one time also plenty of pot. However these days all that exist are set-ups and rip-offs. I would not recommend people go looking for herb there.
Kia met a guy that promised to give her pot, if she gave him the money first. She did so reluctantly, and when he returned, the police descended upon the scene.
She ran through a creek to get away, cut her leg open, and the police caught up with her. She had just a small amount of money on her, but they administered an on-site piss test and she had no drugs in her urine, so after an hour of her time, they released her. After she came back bloodied and scared, I asked her what would have happened if she had pot on her, and she said “jail for a long time, or kill me”. I did not ask her to look again.
I met up with a German guy that was teaching English where I was volunteering. I was able to get some pressed flat herb from him. For about 50 dollars you can get about 14 grams of compressed grass. I asked him about the legendary Thai stick. He said that it had not existed for over a year now that he knows of. I was also told that if you are in a place where there are a lot of people partying, like a large disco scene, that the police can come in, close the place down, and piss test every one on the premises.
You do not get to leave with out a sample for them. If you test positive, you could find your self in a Bangkok jail, where the most nutrition you can find is from cockroaches and rats, according to an Australian guy who wrote a book about the jails in Bangkok ? he spent twelve years in prison for trying to take a small bit of his favorite substance home. I thought about this a bit, and after speaking with a guy that got urine tested in rural Chang Mia at a night club, I decided that maybe Thailand is not the place to be.
If you haven’t been “Swazied” in Cape Town, you haven’t walked around the CBD very much! If looking around for weed here, be discreet, as cameras cover the Central Business District and the Company G ardens, a.k.a. the most obviousseeming in-city spot for a toke. But be careful; pips and leaves (or wads of pure newspaper) from dodgy, pushy vendors are not uncommon!
Quality ranges from easily available “tarries” (usually Swazi, grown in the Eastern Cape, and of low-to-medium quality) to fragrant grade-A smokes (you name it, it’s probably growing somewhere nearby)! Some vendors haggle, many don’t. A little effort should get you Sensi Swazi at a reasonable price.
Your best bet is to find one of the headshops near Greenmarket Square on a weekday and ask for help, or befriend locals who know their stuff and who can hook you up in the blossoming homegrown and/or home delivery network.
Don’t be shy, and ask around cautiously ? it’s a pretty permissive culture! With discretion you’ll find that Cape Town offers plenty of safe settings for smoking: beaches, mountains, forests ? even city streets and indoor venues!
Time your tokes with the wind and act like it’s a cigarette if you’re smoking outdoors, or take your cue from the patrons if indoors.