Don’t let cannabis ruin your vacation. Here’s how to travel without it
And maybe get lucky at your destination
Belize’s Caye Marine Reserve. Photo: SimonDannhauer/Getty Images
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For me, there is no greater pleasure in life than travel — arriving in a new place to take it all in.
But there is usually caveat for me, if the new place I am going to doesn’t have legal cannabis ready and available – it can be a less enjoyable experience. I love recreational cannabis; I use it for relaxing and winding down with friends. But there is a more pressing issue at play. I also use medical cannabis as a digestive aid and pain killer, and that’s when travelling without it starts to get a little tricky.
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Will I still travel? Of course! This week, for example, two of my closest friends are getting married in Belize. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. So, how will I cope? Will I find weed in Belize? Here’s my plan.
Know the laws
First, it’s important to know the cannabis laws of the country you are travelling to. Coming from Canada, it’s easy to forget that some country’s drug laws are strict and can result in mandatory prison times. If this is the case, please just stay completely away from it. That’s what I would do.
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Luckily for me, cannabis is decriminalized in Belize. And while growing, selling, buying and transporting is still illegal, an individual can possess up to 10 g of dried flower on private property.
But that doesn’t mean it’s without any risks. Because I’ll be staying at hotels, I won’t be on private property. Not all hotels are cool with people using cannabis on the premises, and in some cases could call the police or kick you out. So it’s important to be cautious, even in a decriminalized atmosphere.
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Hit the forums
Between Reddit, WeBeHigh.org, cannabis.wiki, Wikipedia and social media, there is a ton of information online about cannabis in Belize.
Most people say talking to their cab driver is the best bet; others made friends with people at a bar, buying them drinks in exchange for a little pot. Once you’ve read enough stories from enough people, patterns and locations start to emerge that give you a pretty clear picture of your chances of scoring while on vacay.
Searching for weed is like searching for love; it will find you when you are not looking for it.
Prepare for a cannabis-free scenario
I am not going to ruin my vacation by making it all about weed. I have done this before, where I have it set in my mind that I need to find weed before I do anything else, and that did not work out well (I asked literally hundreds of people and wasted my day).
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Searching for weed is like searching for love; it will find you when you are not looking for it. By recognizing that I may have to go without any cannabis for the entire duration of my trip is the best way to focus on cool things that I will do.
I know I’ll enjoy some beer, maybe a shot or two. I’ll read a book, go for a walk, listen to music and take a swim – all things that also relax me. I’ll also bring some digestive aids that don’t work as well as cannabis, but will help. If you use cannabis for medical reasons, try researching some interim options while travelling.
Manage your weed-spectations
Almost everything I read online about weed in Belize leads me to believe that if I do end up finding any, it will not be what I am used to smoking here in Canada. “Not worth your time,” says one site; “Seeds and sticks for the most part,” reads another.
Not only does the weed sound bad, it sounds expensive. When travelling, I’m willing to up my weed budget to ridiculous levels. In order to avoid awkwardness and bartering and anxiety, I will pay just about anything for a few grams of schwag — but it’s good to know what to expect.
Let it happen naturally
I am not going to waste any time hunting for cannabis in Belize. But if it makes an appearance, I will happily procure some.
Why? Actively searching for cannabis isn’t just a time-waste — it can be dangerous in an unfamiliar place. Once, in Montreal pre-legalization, I was so desperate for weed I followed a guy down a dark alley, gave him $60 and waited there (with his jacket as collateral) for him to come back. Newsflash: he did not come back. But I am grateful for losing that $60 – it could have been much worse.
And maybe get lucky at your destination
High Score: How to Find Weed When You Hit a New City
Thanks to your summer travel itinerary, general wanderlust or baffling dedication to Iceland’s World Cup team, you’ll soon be landing in a new city. You’re excited to explore its cultural institutions, meet its vibrant populace and absorb the local culture. But first, you need to make a connect that’ll keep you dome-deep in sticky green. To make sure things run smoothly on your next visit to a strange place, we’re rounding up the people and places most likely to help you score during your trip.
This will be your first point of contact as you make your way from the airport to the place you’re staying. And let’s face it, cab drivers are like the love children of Waze and the Silk Road. They know every dark corner of their cities.
Add to this an industrious attitude and shitty take-home pay, and you’ve got a guy who would absolutely love to hook you up with anything illegal. Start with a little small talk to suss out if he seems cool and open to providing recommendations based on your interests.
Just keep in mind that a cab driver’s connections can be shady or unreliable, sometimes involving random dealers they’ve driven or scammers they regularly work with. With a busy driving schedule to keep, don’t expect a ton of commitment or follow-through here. Ultimately, the guy driving you around may be giving you the runaround.
Believe it or not, the bellmen, front desk attendants and concierge making things look like a hedge fund convention rolled into town are here to hustle. And they’re used to dealing with guests’ requests, penchants, and occasional dead hookers with discretion and aplomb.
Start with the guys out front, who are running around all day, want the extra scratch and may even have a little herb close at hand or a close connect. You’ll be able to pinpoint the heads in little time.
Approaching the concierge takes considerably more guts, but keep in mind they’re knowledgeable and there to help you with whatever you need. While they more than likely don’t have a big bag of buds stashed behind that desk, they may be able to point you in the right direction without judgment or imprudence.
Room service waiters or anyone else who stands around at your hotel repeatedly asking you if “you need anything” or if “there’s anything I can do to make your stay more comfortable” are 100 percent trying to sell you weed. That’s a fact.
You’re in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language. Fortunately, God invented these people called expats who do speak your language and basically do nothing but smoke weed and drink tropical drinks all day, just waiting for someone from their home country to arrive, so they can tell them how easy it is to score weed and sit around drinking tropical drinks all day.
These in-the-know sloths will not only happily divulge their every last local secret after a daiquiri or two, they’ll tell you who has the best herb and who you can’t simply trust. Thank God for expats.
Perhaps this is a no-brainer. Everyone knows bars are where you go for sex and drinking and drugs and to find somebody who will make it look like an accident when killing your business partner. Still, it must be said: Everyone, from the bouncer, to the bartender, to that guy ignoring the arrival of his bottle service to openly blow lines, is holding. These people all go to sleep at 6 a.m. and are inundated with loose morality and a network of shady associates.
If it’s a smaller, quiet bar, the bartender is probably your best bet. Make friends and see where the conversation goes. If it’s a nightclub, openly looking for anything illegal could land you in big trouble. It’s best to talk people and groups up, look for style choices that indicate a fellow stoner and be approachable. Temptation will come your way before long.
Failing all that, you could just go to a reggae bar.
Let’s say nightlife isn’t your thing. You want to see museums and landmarks but you don’t want to do them unbaked. Just locate the student neighborhoods of the city you’re in. You know, the slightly funky side of town with $11 cups of coffee and a store dedicated to hand-knitted unicycles.
Look for a white guy with dreadlocks. Or a girl with weed socks. Or anyone who owns a hacky sack or Bob Marley shirt. Or locate a skate shop or vinyl record store. Fuck, talk to absolutely anyone and they’ll probably have a roommate or friend or professor who smokes a ton of weed. These are college kids, after all.
You know this. You can find drugs on the street. And a lot of other things. All you need to do is poke around some shady AF neighborhood and you’ll eventually follow a guy named Thrasher who whispered “smoke, smoke” in the park back to his neighborhood and secure a dimebag from somewhere deep in his mother’s house.
Or he’ll rob you. Or kill you. Or sell you the weed then call the cops and get you busted.
Or you’ll meet some really nice Trustafarians playing Frisbee who will sell you some of the illest shit you’ve ever smoked right on the spot, shortly before inviting you to be the tambourine player in their jam band. You just never know how it’s going to go out there.
If you're taking a trip and don't want to risk traveling with your stash, knowing how to find weed in a new city is vital.