Marrakesh, Morocco

Smoking tolerance level [1= very illegal 5=virtually legal]: 3.5

Legislation: Smoking marijuana, or “kif” is illegal in the Kingdom of Morocco and the penalty for being caught with it is ten years in prison. However, tourists are frequently let off with only a fine due to Morocco’s need for both the tourism dollars and the $US7 billion dollars that makes kif their largest source of foreign currency.

Law enforcement: This can be either vigilant or comically lax, depending on current world affairs, the season, location in Morocco, and temperment of the local chief constables. In Marrakesh police are everywhere but are usually uninterested in nailing western tourists trying to score twenty bucks worth from the teens at the tea shop. Be more careful of police informants trying to find someone to take the fall for them. Never tell a dealer where you are staying or what your travel plans are, no matter how friendly they are.

Where to buy marijuana in Marrakesh: In Marrakesh, just follow the tourists, the dealers are never far behind. If you are male and don’t look Moroccan, you will likely be approached a dozen times or more in your first day in the city, particularly at dusk and in crowded areas, like the Djemma-al-Fna, the giant central market square in the medina where all the action happens after sunset. While you’re oblivious and wandering around, someone will slip behind you and whisper “hashish?” into your ear. After a few days in the city, this will mostly stop as the dealers recognize you and know you’re not interested. Anywhere in the medina, falling into conversation with young males loitering around is likely to bear fruit as well.

Marrakesh Marijuana prices: This varies a lot depending on the individual and situation. Most dealers speak some English but knowing even a little French or Arabic can help lower prices as dealers always assume English speakers are rich. Also, bargaining in Morocco is almost as accepted a religion as Islam and locals love to wrangle over the price of just about anything with tourists. Expect a ridiculous first offer and counter with about a quarter of what they suggest. Mentioning competing offers (even if they’re totally fictional) can be effective to get a dealer to lower his prices. Many dealers will also give ludicrious estimates of the weight you’re recieving so take everything in stride. Dealers are often loath to let you see the product until they get the money too. In my last purchase, these two cousins selling spices on the outskirts of the medina sold me “10 grams” of hash. Of course, that seemed to be a gross overestimate of the actual weight. They asked for 400 dirham but after a lot of small talk and a tea in the nearby cafe we agreed on 160 dirham (about 18-19 USD at the time). I don’t know how much the stuff actually did weigh but it got several people perpetually stoned for a week, which was good enough for me.

Brands: Although I’m sure there are upscale dealers, the vast majority of what’s available is “Rif kif”, the famous hash grown and silked in the nearby Rif mountains, Europe’s largest source.

More information: I’ve also heard good things about Essouira, a coastal hippie enclave that hosted Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stephens in the late sixties and early seventies. It’s real laid back compared with Fez or Marrakesh and reportedly easy to score cheap hash in.