Varadero, Cuba

Smoking tolerance level [1= very illegal 5=virtually legal]: 1

Legislation: Marijuana is considered a very serious offence in Cuba, with punishment for locals running into years of imprisonment.

Law enforcement: Cuba is a very strictly controlled country. You will see uniformed law enforcement around, but what you may not notice is the amount of non-uniformed law enforcement: Cuba’s undercover police are all over the place. They will notice if you do anything unusual and it is not uncommon to be stopped by an unmarked car if you go off the beaten tourist path.

Where to buy marijuana: There is not really any good place to buy marijuana in Varadero. On my first trip there, I did manage to find a small amount, less than a gram, from a friendly dude from a different country who had smuggled a tiny amount in (I did not ask where he put it!) Finding this was difficult and cost me many alarmed glances from locals, who do not even want to talk about it.

The second time I went I didn’t bother hunting for it, because it was too much stress, and just figured that if I was supposed to find smoke, it would come to me naturally. I did mention it a couple of times to the locals I met, but got nowhere. Given a legal climate where the risk of selling marijuana to tourists is probably comparable to selling cocaine to locals, if not more risky, it probably makes a lot more sense for Cubans to go the latter route, since it is far more lucrative.

Frankly, if you want to get high on your vacation, Cuba is probably not the place for you. I recommend Mexico instead, which is just as nice if not nicer, and much more relaxed about these things.

Marijuana prices: If you are able to find any, prices will likely be exorbitant.

More information: Be very careful in Cuba when looking for illegal substances, or taking part in any illegal activity. The risk from law enforcement is significant, and if you do meet a Cuban who claims he can hook you up, proceed with caution: in a poor country, tourists are one of the few easy marks for criminals.