If you're like me, you'd like to travel again soon: seeing tourist attractions, trying the local cuisine, using those five language phrases I learned on the plane. And for some reason, everywhere I go, I encounter cannabis.
I haven't been to Amsterdam yet--the gold standard of cannabis destinations. But I imagine it would be just like how friends have described it to me: a clean, bicycle friendly city, with little kaffe shops that specialize in cannabis. Maybe stop by the Rembrandt and Van Gogh museums after consuming mass quantities.
The hashish in Portugal is phenomenal; a good chunk of it comes from Morocco. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001 and has seen a dramatic decrease in overdoses, robberies and HIV infection and has become a beacon of criminal justice reform in the European Union. I bought the hash on the street outside a bar and got a a good sized brick for 50 euros. I took a spliff with me on a sailing trip in Porto and as I was smoking a group of porpoises began jumping the waves next to us--totally made my day. Don't bother buying marijuana in Portugal, as a lot of it is fake. Stick to the hash.
I was standing out side a restaurant in Rome in 2017, talking with my girlfriend to some other Americans, and a man approached me with Italian themed cheap bracelets; he spoke English to me. I asked how much for a bracelet and he replied $5 euros and "Do you want some weed?" Ok, I'll take some weed and the bracelet. I can't remember how much I paid for about 2 grams of some sativa but it wasn't extortion prices. I stopped into a market and bought some rolling papers and we went and smoked on the bridge over the Tiber river, then bought a bottle of wine and met up with our new American friends. Drinking in public squares is now illegal and Italy has a weird law by which use of cannabis is not illegal but possession is.
As of 2016, hemp is completely legal.
What can I not say about Belize? This former British colony has blossomed into a gem of Central America. Belize boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world. The ancient Mayan ruins at Lamanai are nestled next to a river in which crocodiles swim and hunt and howler monkeys sit perched in trees. I charted a skiff and went fishing and caught some beautiful fish, then took them to a restaurant I had eaten at days before, where they cleaned and cooked the fish whole and prepared the perfect side dishes. Oh, and cannabis has been decriminalized since 2017
, which was after I was there. Now a person may lawfully possess up to 10 grams. I went before then and I could only cop maybe 3 grams from a guy at the town center of the little island of Caye Caulker
In France, one of my favorite countries, cannabis is strictly illegal and undifferentiated from other drugs in class.
However, many locals have used cannabis at least once in their lives. Ergo, there is a strong black market for it. If you hang around Montmartre or the 3rd arrondissement in Paris for awhile, you probably will be propositioned to buy cannabis. French President Emmanuel Macron has openly voiced a desire for some sort of decriminalization of cannabis.
Ernest Hemingway's typewriter at l'Hotel Ritz, at the Bar Hemingway.
Their clean dirty martini
is so exquisite and coveted that they make them in back of house. The ice cube made of frozen olive juice with an olive inside is just one tell-tale of the secret brilliance of this cocktail.
Avignon, by the mighty Rhone river, where the pope relocated to from Rome in the 14th century. If you're of fan of Cote du Rhone wines, especially Chateau-Neuf du Pape, you'll find this area to be a quaint, pleasant, French wine country experience.
But I digress. Back to the cannabis.
In Nice, located on the French Riviera and close to Morocco, there is a lot of hashish, as the spliff (mixture of has and tobacco) is the widely preferred means of consumption. I strongly recommend checking out Nice in the summer for it's lovely pebbled beaches, amazing local cuisine, Henri Matisse museum, and yes, the hash.
Speaking of Morocco, Marrakesh is a magical city that I thoroughly enjoyed. Cannabis has been cultivated in Morocco for centuries and Morocco is the leading producer of hashish worldwide. All drugs have been illegal in Morocco since 1974, but the country has some leniency toward cannabis, partly because it is the livelihood of many people.
Now, a caveat, some people will attempt to rip you off and sell you fake shit; make sure you examine and/or sample before you buy. And they live to haggle, so haggle with them, don't buy at their first or second offer. I failed to grasp this and grumbled as I paid the equivalent of $200 for a small lump of hash. Marrakesh is fairly safe but I would go during the tourist season and blend in with the crowd, otherwise everyone and their brother will stop you trying to sell you something.
Spain is beginning to adopt an attitude towards cannabis similar to Holland.
In Barcelona, after finishing a walking tour, I was asked for a lighter by a man. He then asked if my girlfriend would like to go to a kaffe shop, "You know, like, association." We said yes, we would. It turned out he was Dutch. He took us a couple of blocks over to a nondescript, whited-out store on a street of other merchants and he rang a bell.
The door opened. The two associates out front spoke perfect English and we paid 10 euros for a lifetime membership at Sweet Oil Cannabis Club Barcelona. I'm sure the Dutch man got some kickback. The club had a selection of flower, hashish and edibles. Most clubs used to be by referral only, but now most may be contacted by their website or Facebook and you can inquire whether they are taking new members.
But if you really want to try new cannabis you don't have to go abroad. More and more of our states have legalized it: New Jersey, South Dakota, Arizona, and Montana this year, joining the seven other states and D.C. as recreationally legal.