Travel doesn’t have to put a wrench in your favorite hobby
Recently, Canada made headlines by legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, full stop. But they’re not the first country to do so — nor are they the only weed-friendly destination in the world. From cannabis festivals to raging 420 events, the world of legal consumption is changing quickly. If your next vacation requires a spliff (and some warmer weather than Canada has to offer), consider one of these smoker-friendly destinations for your next holiday getaway.
Argentina & Chile
South America is known for it’s beautiful scenery, blissfully warm weather … and some hard-fought battles against hard drugs. So it’s surprising to find that most of the continent is relatively relaxed when it comes smoking dope. Countries like Argentina and Chile have both legalized medicinal use, and Argentina became the first country in the world to provide medical marijuana to patients for free. Both have decriminalized recreational use, and Chile opened its first cannabis clubs in 2016.
Ecuador & Peru
Ecuador and Peru are a bit more stringent, decriminalizing personal possession of up to 10 and 8 grams respectively, however, it’s wise to be a bit more discreet and not smoke on the street as sale and cultivation still carry high sentences.
Colombia has enough to worry about with other drugs, so they’re pretty soft on the green stuff. This South American paradise decriminalized up to 22 g for personal use, legalized medical use and allows individuals to cultivate up to twenty plants for personal consumption, risk free. Sounds pretty good? Well, one country has one-upped it.
One tiny, Dorito-shaped country wedged between Brazil and Argentina made headlines in 2014 as the first country to completely legalize the use, sale, and cultivation of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes nationwide. Uruguay’s not interested in attracting weed tourism however, so only actual residents of the country can purchase legally — foreigners aren’t allowed. Still, we’re pretty sure you can make a Uruguayan friend to share a joint with while you’re enjoying South American summer, or register to attend one of their famous 420 events.
One to avoid: Brazil
While weed is widely available in Brazil, it’s still a criminal charge to possess, cultivate, or sell the plants there. Although there’s plenty of cannabis users in Brazil, it’s certainly not risk-free for smokers.
In Sri Lanka, the use of cannabis has always been closely tied to spiritual celebrations and traditional medicine. In the 1980’s, the Ayurveda Act made sure that it’s use, and subsequent sale for those purposes were legally protected activities. Ayurvedic doctors still prescribe marijuana to treat certain ailments, and Ayurvedic pharmacies are permitted to sell the plant as part of medicinal mixtures. Cultivation is allowed as well, but only by the government and government sanctioned growers.
Sri Lanka’s neighbor to the north, India, has a similar leniency to marijuana. Although it’s technically illegal, it’s so prevalent that you can even purchase cannabis from government-owned shops in the form of bhang, a type of weed-milkshake. Some Indian states have legalized or decriminalized personal use ganja, making it even easier to get some on your holiday.
Laos & Cambodia
While most Asian countries are pretty restrictive — such as Indonesia, where simple possession can lead to a four-to-twelve year prison sentence — in Laos and Cambodia, weed is both culturally accepted and readily available. Yes, it’s still technically illegal, but it’s easy enough to come by. Keep your eye out at restaurants especially, where any dish marked “happy” is most likely sporting some THC infused ingredients.
Down under, another country blessed with incredible scenery and even better beaches and was also kind enough to (mostly) decriminalize weed. While medicinal use is legal across Australia, personal use has only been decriminalized in a few states. Australia’s Northern Territory, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory all make the list, and in 2016, the first cannabis clubs began opening up to make distribution easier.
Central America / Caribbean
Thanks to one unique religion, Jamaica has long been thought of as a haven for smokers. That makes it surprising to find out that weed has only actually been decriminalized since 2015. The law allows for up to 2 ounces or up to five plants for personal use, and if you happen to be Rastafarian, you can use unlimited amounts for religious purposes, whenever you want.
Similarly in Mexico, you’ll find a de-facto legalization of weed. Possession of up to 5 grams was decriminalized in 2009, followed by the legalization of personal cultivation by a Supreme Court case in 2015, which stated that “prohibiting people from growing the drug for consumption was unconstitutional as it violated the human right to the free development of one’s personality.” Medicinal use was made legal in 2016, and many think that full legalization for recreational usage will be soon to follow.
Belize & Costa Rica
Even the government of Belize was kind enough to decriminalize up to 10 grams in 2017, and the ever popular holiday destination Costa Rica, an eco-friendly tropical paradise where friendly locals live the “Pura Vida,” also de-facto decriminalized recreational smoking, meaning that although it is illegal, the police are only after traffickers, not users. Even better, citizens were recently given the right to plant marijuana in their homes — strictly for personal use, of course.