Copping Herb Around the World

Copping Herb Around The World

Amsterdam is easy, but mostly I have to cop weed from strangers when I travel, which is often and everywhere. But in some parts of the world, I don’t even try to score.

North America

New York City  In the early eighties, at trade shows in the NY Coliseum, we used to duck behind our booth and, amidst empty cartons, get high on weed. That was New York in the 70s and 80s. You could get stoned just walking down the stairwells in Madison Square Garden between periods of Ranger hockey games.

Outside New York, especially at trade shows, I had to get creative – the suits were largely drinkers with no local connections. But persistence usually paid off – pot’s universal.

Salt Lake City was a challenge, at first. The street kids couldn’t help. One local walked me through a neighborhood where connections could be found, but all we heard in passing was the whispered Spanish word for cocaine. Next day, I did what subsequently became the most successful strategy: I asked a taxi driver. He dropped me off at a park, where I asked a woman who looked likely (can’t explain what makes someone “look likely”) and she disappeared into the park with my money.

Waiting is annoying. Not everyone returns with the goods. Ideally, I exchange my cash for the stash one-on-one but, the law being what it is, serious dealers shy away from strangers, a good business practice. So I often find an intermediary; the few losses I’ve suffered were more than made up by happy returns.

Back in my hotel room I smoked half a joint, fell semi-comatose onto the bed, and awoke with a delicious case of the munchies.

New Orleans, steamy August, attending a fishing tackle show, I connected easily with and enjoyed the company of traveling (living out of dumpsters) youngsters, hanging down by the water. I happily paid for a small pot party. Perfect!

San Francisco has to be easy, right? I asked our waiter, maybe 30, sporting a ponytail, and he delivered half an ounce to our place and stayed to share the mind-blowing weed; I don’t remember what we talked about. 

Orlando (cabbies) Las Vegas (street hawkers) Boston (my first few years here, challenging) Vancouver, BC (street kids) Cancun (hotel workers) and a few forgotten places round out North America, saving the best for last:

Vancouver Island, BC. The only positive that came out of the Vietnam War was the pot that hippies, fleeing the draft, brought to this vast island, especially Lasqueti Island. A taxi driver’s advice to seek it at a nearby bar, where patrons toked openly, led me to a young man who took my money, telling me he’d meet me in 30 minutes. One anxious hour later he brought me (maybe) the best weed I ever inhaled and, for the next two weeks, my sweetheart and I, drifting into and out of a hot tub on a deck facing the St Georges Strait and the snow-capped Coastal Range beyond, bottled memories of eagles, seals, stars, moon, and romance. One of the most enjoyable of all our home exchanges.* The setting may have boosted the pot ratings, but that’s the way I remember it. You can take my word for it.

 *For more information see my article: “Save Thousands on Your Next Vacation.”

South America

Limited exposure, spending only a day in each port of call while cruising down the west coast and around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires. I copped low grade weed in Columbia, of all places, but didn’t have time to look for better. Two hosts in Chile helped me out just in time for our Antarctic sojourn. There are specific areas on cruise ships where one can smoke but there are no restriction on what one smokes. What a wonderful world.

Southeast Asia

Not a chance. See above. Singapore is serious. They’ve executed 420 people in the last 20 years, mostly for drug trafficking. You will hang for possession of fifteen grams (about half an ounce) of cannabis. I never even uttered the word marijuana in that part of the world.


Another home exchange was made even better when our taxi driver hooked us up. A trio of gregarious dudes delivered enough primo weed to our door to last us the entire seven-week vacation. That included four weeks at sea, among other things to see the total eclipse of the sun. Better when stoned. Ditto the elegant albatross, just none across my neck.


The big surprise: weed cost as much in Amsterdam (13 Euros per gram) where it’s legal as it does here. And it’s no better. I found mediocre grass in Rome, copping from an itinerant trinket peddler. I struck out in Ireland. Got so stoned on hash in Copenhagen, I threw the remainder of my purchase away. I like being conscious while I’m high. I was taken by surprise when, thanks to a cabbie, I scored decent weed in Pieras, the port for Athens. I didn’t smoke on most of my European trips.

 Laws and availability vary from country to country.


Massachusetts Ballot Question 4

Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana will be decided on November 8 and certainly pales in comparison to the presidential race, but it’s a crime that this public initiative is necessary to eradicate some highly destructive laws. It’s also inadequate. Marijuana should be legal. Period! That’s my opinion, and I’m toking to it.