Minsk, Belarus

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

Legislation: Just like most other psychedelic substances, marijuana is highly illegal in Belarus. The law used to distinguish between possession and distribution, which meant people with small amounts could get away for a fine or a suspended sentence. Now the laws have tightened, and depending on your situation and on the mood of the law enforcement officials, possessing any amounts of ganja can cost you anything from huge bribes for several authorities to 8-10 years in prison. It may be easier for a tourist to bribe his or her way out, but it will be a pain in the ass anyway and testing your luck is not recommended.

Law enforcement: It is usually not that easy to get out of trouble as in neighboring countries, like Russia, Ukraine, or Baltic states, where tourists are aplenty and the police are more relaxed towards these things, while bribes are more common. Cops in Minsk are even rumored to break car windows with their elbows now and then, as soon as they see people smoking in the vehicle. Some tell stories about undercover policemen offering drugs to people and arresting them later on, but this is really rare. On the whole, expect a law enforcement agent to mean business if you got caught. Low-level authorities are not that easy to be bribed, as anti-corruption laws are strict. The legislation gets more flexible for you if you have contacts among the officials of higher ranks.

Stay away from dealers and known drug spots as much as you can, as a police raid may happen at any time and you might be busted for no good reason. The police got a plan of raids and arrests they have to stick you, so even if a cop is friendly to you, he will have to detain you because of the plan. Smoking in public is absolutely not recommended, and if you have to smoke outdoors, make sure you control the situation so that no local militia come out of the blue. Lighting up your pipe in the country is in most cases a better idea than doing so in urban areas, so if you have buddies with a car, go rural, if it’s summer.

The general strategy if you want to get high in Minsk is getting a local acquaintance who has experience with these things. Attempting to get high on your own is risky.

Where to buy marijuana: Street purchases are extremely rare even for local marijuana consumers. It is not common to buy drugs in the streets of Belarus at all, and it will stay uncommon for the nearest years. Minsk does not get lots of tourists and the laws are tough, so street trade is nonexistent. Little has been heard of drug deals in bars, too.

One of the known spots is Zimniaya street in the industrial suburbs of Minsk, a scary location with shabby houses inhabited by mean-looking gypsies and lurking gangs on plenty of cheap booze. The gypsies are mostly engaged in heroin distribution, but if you would like to see the seamy side of Belarusian drug life, pick a daring local who would take you there. Getting some weed is possible, but this is a quest few locals dare to embark on.

In general, probably the only relatively safe and reliable way of getting any weed in Minsk is using your local friend who has contacts. Though marijuana is not popular at all, unlike alcohol, many young people at least know someone who might know someone. All you have to do is get into the right company. Don’t discuss drug-related issues with people you don’t quite know. Try not to get involved into the process of obtaining weed as much as you can. The safest way is to have it delivered to you, but the price will be higher.

Marijuana prices: Asking Minsk locals about weed brands in most cases sounds like bitter irony. As marijuana distribution is heavily oppressed, you don’t have much to choose from. You can get clipped leaves for about $10-$15 per matchbox. The quality varies between very low and average, though the high will be lighter and less lasting.

If you are very lucky, you can get locally produced buds of comparatively high quality. In most cases you will get either leaves or rough, heavy skunk. The price for buds and skunk is normally $15-$20 per gram. Don’t be surprised by the size of this ‘gram,’ it will be probably something more like 0.6-0.7 real grams. It is perfectly normal for Minsk, and customer care in this business is poor.

Hash is uncommon, but if there is some, the prices will be the same as skunk. If your local guide knows someone serious, discounts on major purchases can be offered. The skunk usually delivers a hard, powerful high which is a lot less coarse and physical than Amsterdam brands.

More information: Watch out. It is advised not to carry drug-related paraphernalia and marijuana when you take a walk through the street. If you have to have these things on you, try to stay out of trouble. Though there are lots of policemen in the streets, they don’t search and arrest people for no reason at all. Though, if you do something seriously illegal, it may be dangerous, as even a pipe can be counted as crime evidence.

Try to smoke indoors or in a company of people who own a car which can take you out of dangerous areas right away.

When you are high, you can take a walk without any fear. If you don’t do anything obviously illegal, hardly anybody will understand you have been smoking. Most cops have little or no experience with detecting a person on any drugs. Pretend to be drunk if the situation gets too serious.

Buying pipes and other stuff in Minsk is problematic. Don’t bring devices into the country, don’t buy any in Minsk, and don’t take any with you. Let your local friends assist you. They will be in most cases generous enough to help you out with any of the Belarusian ways to smoke weed. If you are looking for proper contacts, try to make friends with young people who look European enough, don’t seem to have any criminal connections, and are party-goers. Don’t mess with red-faced thugs from industrial suburbs. Pick a nice broad-minded company and you will enjoy your stay in Belarus.